As set out by the principles which
govern Moore’s law, computer technology moves forward at an incredible speed
and will continue to do so for the near future. This is great for science and
for consumers too, as there’s always sure to be another amazing device just
around the corner. However, if wishing to take the plunge and walk into an
Apple Store to purchase a brand-new Mac or iOS device, it would be preferable
to know that there will not be an updated model released the following week -
especially if one considers that this model may well be capable of features
which are unavailable on your newly purchased but previous generation machine.
Of course, even if your Mac or iOS
model is quickly superseded by a successor, it will still be more than capable
of giving you several years of excellent service, but in order to gain the
maximum possible value and joy of ownership, it’s well worth getting to know
Apple’s product release cycle a little better so as to make an informed
decision when purchasing. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the
release cycles of iOS and Mac products in order to ascertain the best possible
moment to make a purchase.
Though the most revolutionary aspect
of the iPhone would usually be considered its svelte industrial design or
intuitive software, Apple’s first foray into the cellphone world also gave rise
to another innovation which was quite radical in itself - an easily understood
and hotly anticipated release cycle for both software and hardware. This release
cycle was to be mirrored in all iOS devices.
While it’s possible that Apple may
choose to surprise us at some point in the future, the current iPhone release
schedule has been predictable since the device was unveiled in 2007. Excepting
the first release of the original iPhone, each major redesign has been followed
by a minor ‘facelift’ modc with increased battery capacity and faster
- June, 2007
3G - July, 2008
3Gs - June, 2009
45 - October, 2011
Assuming Apple decides to continue in
this pattern, the next iPhone will be released sometime this year, in Summer or
Fall. Further to this, we can expect that the next iPhone model will probably
be named the iPhone 5 and will feature a significant redesign.
Therefore, if one is considering
purchasing an iPhone, now is still a good time to buy the iPhone 4S. But by
later this year the iPhone 4 will be two generations behind the latest model
and so will be of significantly less resale value, in addition to potentially
missing out on some of the latest software updates.
Touch 1st Gen - September, 2007
Touch 2nd Gen - September, 2008
Touch 3rd Gen - September, 2009
Touch 4th Gen - September, 2010
The release cycle of the iPod Touch
has typically followed that of its ‘big brother’ device, the iPhone. However,
Apple deigned to forgo releasing a new model of iPod Touch in 2011, strongly
indicating that the company will release the 5th generation of iPod Touch later
This means that the current iPod Touch
model will already be two years old by September of this year, perhaps
indicating that it’s worth waiting to buy an iPod Touch.
1st Gen - April, 2010
- March, 2011
3rd Gen - March, 2012
As the device itself is still
relatively young, with the original WiFi-only iPad having been introduced in
April 2010, there are still significant changes between each generation of iPad
when compared with the iPhone or iPod Touch. Indeed, in its evolution from the
original iPad to the iPad 2, a very significant performance increase was seen,
as was the addition of two cameras. The latest version of iPad trumps its
predecessors yet further, with a Retina Display bringing a screen of
outstanding visual clarity, in addition to an improved iSight rear camera and
increased graphics power.
Following the announcement of the new
iPad, Apple has lowered the iPad 2 to the price of just $399, while refurbished
models with a one year guarantee can be purchased from the refurbished section
of Apple’s online store for even less. For this reason, though the newest iPad
may be a must-buy for Apple aficionados, bargain hunters may wish to consider
purchasing the iPad 2 instead. Due to its age, the original model iPad should not
be considered a good monetary investment at this time.
An Apple Mac computer represents the
cutting edge of computer design and can be relied upon to be excellent machines
for several years, far longer than the average low-cost PC. That said, the MacBook
Pro line is rumored to be undergoing a big change in the next few months, while
the Mac Pro has been long overdue for an upgrade.
The basic design of the current iMac
was first introduced in 2004 and subsequent models have seen significant
processor; screen and RAM upgrades through the years in order to remain a
compelling choice for those Mac owners who wish to make use of a beautiful
When compared to some of the other Mac
models currently in production, the iMac is probably the safest bet to undergo
the smallest change and therefore can be purchased without too much thought as
to what the next model will bring - though of course, as always, Apple may
decide to surprise us with something unexpected.
The Mac Pro is Apple’s niche product
for those power users who demand the best possible performance from an Apple
made computer. Boasting multiple processors and provisions for extensive
expansion, the Mac Pro is nevertheless looking a little long in the tooth and
is the only current Mac without Thunderbolt support. Therefore, potential Mac
Pro owners would be well served to wait until the next iteration is released,
probably later this year.
The MacBook Pro has long been
considered Apple’s premier notebook computer but in recent years its pride of
place has been largely supplanted by the more popular MacBook Air, with many
users finding that they have no need for an optical drive. Though rumors can
always prove to be false, there are strong indications that Apple will soon be
releasing an update to the MacBook Pro line, with a ‘Retina-like’ high quality
display and the loss of SuperDrive in favor of a new slimline form both cited
as possible changes.
For these two reasons, it would be
prudent to wait a couple more months until purchasing a brand-new Mac Book Pro,
if the need is not pressing.
The MacBook Air is arguably the best
value Mac on offer today and also offers the most ‘magical’ user experience for
new users. In addition, the inherent challenges of keeping processor power to a
minimum in favor of reaching maximum battery capacity means that the MacBook
Air is, on balance, less likely to see the reported high quality display which
is cited for the MacBook Pro and can thus be bought without too much regard for
what the next iteration will bring in the coming few months.
Taking The Plunge
While the above information is geared
toward helping make an informed decision when purchasing a new Mac or iOS
device, it should nevertheless not discourage you from buying an Apple product
right now, if that’s what you desire. Whether you’re a first time Mac switcher
or longtime fan of OS X, rest assured that when you do buy a new Mac, you won’t
be disappointed, whatever the model.