The Apple Range

Now that WWDC has been and gone, I thought it would be a good time to review the entire Apple range. In this post, I'll go through all the hardware and share my thoughts on everything available. 

This handy guide should come in handy if you're thinking about buying an Apple device.

I always used to like reading MacUser magazine, as they would review the range each month and update it when new devices appeared. This was really useful if you were thinking of upgrading, as it gave you a good indication of what was about to be released.

I thought it would be useful to give you my own guide now and I'll do my best to update it every 6 months or so. Please be advised though that while I do my best to keep up-to-date, any speculations about future updates really can't be guaranteed. 

Make sure you bookmark this page as well for easy access when you need it.


The iPhone Range

Apple's mobile phones have pretty conquered the world and delivered innovative design and features to the masses. They represent a design philosophy spearheaded by Steve Jobs and Jony Ive and have come a long way in the ten years since they were introduced. You'll probably see a few of these when you're out and about as well.

https://www.apple.com/uk/iphone/


iPhone 7

The first thing you need to know if you're interested in this device is that a new one will almost certainly be available in September. I personally would never think about investing in an iPhone after March, as it all just moves so fast.

Regardless of what's on the way, the iPhone 7 is still an amazing device and many will agree that it's probably the best phone available.

The iPhone is clearly Apple's most important product and it's safe to say that it generates significant revenue for them. The launches really are events and it's almost impossible to escape news of the new features. Hopefully, the iPhone 7 should be the last evolution of the iPhone 6 design and we'll get something amazing this year to mark the tenth anniversary of this device.

Given what I've said above, I would also disregard the cheaper 6S model.

Released: Sept 2016


iPhone SE

Modelled around the older iPhone 5 design, this phone is aimed at users who want something small and simple. It's deceptively powerful though, so it's not just there for people who don't want to pay for a 'proper' one. 

It's often overlooked, but it's still a great phone.

There are two things you need to consider though. Firstly, it's been available for over a year now and while this may suggest that it's a good investment, it has to be nearing the end of its lifespan. The most significant issue for me though is that it's modelled on a phone that's almost 5 years old, and that's half the iPhone's lifespan.

A new model has to be around the corner so despite the price, it may be worth waiting. 

Released: March 2016


The iPad Range

Since the big launch back in 2010, Apple's tablets have changed the way we use digital devices. They allow people to really connect with their content and are intuitive and easy to use. We've also reached a point where a lot of people could also get by with only an iPad.

https://www.apple.com/uk/ipad/


iPad

Over the last seven years, the iPad range has gradually got more advanced and a lot lighter and compact, until this year. Unusually for an Apple device, the new iPad is actually a step backwards.

It replaces the advanced iPad Air range with a larger and cheaper alternative. 

I honestly feel that this device is aimed at the people who loved the trusty iPad 2 and really don't want to pay out on high-end features.That said, I think it's probably the device most people need and the price point makes it accessible to everyone. 

The decision to remove the higher end of the range also makes sense when you look at the iPad Pro. This new iPad was also just unveiled in March, so it should be around for a while.

Released: March 2017


iPad Pro

This is the device that Apple would like to replace a lot of PC's with. The iPad Pro has all the power and innovative accessories you need to get things done while enjoying the flexibility of a tablet.

It's designed to give you the best of both worlds.

The most exciting feature about this device for me is the optional Apple Pencil. This is an advanced stylus that lets you draw, write and move things around the screen. It gives you so many options and it really makes this device something special.

The problem is that despite the fact that this device is marketed as being as powerful as the average PC, it runs iOS so there are things you simply can't do. While the new iOS 11 looks like it will change this, it isn't officially released until the Autumn.

As the hardware was just unveiled at WWDC, it should be safe to assume that it won't be replaced for a while.

Released: June 2017


iPad mini 4

I'm a huge fan of the iPad mini, as it's just the right size for reading. I'm also the proud owner of an iPad mini 2 and still love using it. 

I can't recommend this one though, because it's almost two years old and I don't think this model will feature in any of Apple's future plans.

I think it's just there to pick up stragglers at the moment and it's probably too close to the 'Plus' iPhone for them going forawards. It's also far too expensive given the features of the rest of the range.

Released: Sept 2015


The Mac Range

These are Apple's personal computers and it's where it all started for them. You'll find an unrivalled blend of sleek hardware and effective software that should deliver everything you expect from your portable and desktop computers. It's a safe bet you'll see a MacBook when you walk into a Starbucks.

https://www.apple.com/uk/mac/


MacBook Air

I think it's safe to say that the remaining MacBook Air is only there to give you a cheap alternative if you need one. It's really getting on a bit and more importantly, the screen isn't Retina.

You should probably look closely at Windows machines or an iPad Pro if your budget won't stretch beyond this.

That said, It's still a great machine if you don't mind an old style keyboard and graphics don't bother you. It could soon feel quite out of date though despite the recent update.

Refreshed: June 2017


MacBook

This is the machine I use and I love it. It's designed to be as light and compact as possible, so it feels great when you use one of these. The innovative keyboard design also makes a difference.

Contrary to what people may tell you, it doesn't feel like it's underpowered.

To set the record straight, if you're producing video or audio or really need professional, processor driven power this won't be the machine for you. For standard computing and productivity tasks though, it's perfect. It's just a great shame that they decided to raise the price in the UK.

It was also updated along with the MacBook Pro's at WWDC, so it should be around for a while.

Refreshed: June 2017


MacBook Pro

These devices have attracted quite a lot of controversy since they were unveiled in October. We not only had a significant price rise but the move to USB-C left a lot of people very unhappy with the lack of connectibility. There were also some reported issues with battery life.

The new MacBook Pro models deliver a stunning design and the higher end models also feature the TouchBar, a great new way to connect with your device.

Apple have also just refreshed the entire range with updated processors and a cheaper, entry-level model. Overall, I think users still face a difficult choice of settling for what's available now or waiting to see what's around the corner.

Personally, I still think that these devises are too expensive, but I like the hardware. I'm not that sure about the TouchBar though, as many users are likely to use them on a desk with an external monitor and mouse and keyboard.

That said, it's still a great device that will give you all the power you need to bring whatever you're working on to life.

Refreshed: June 2017


iMac

Image: Apple

Image: Apple

The iMac range has also received a refresh recently, making them a great choice if you need a desktop machine. I've owned one before and I can seriously recommend it. It's flexible, easy to use and more importantly, it looks stunning when you're sat in front of it.

The 27 inch 5K models are absolutely incredible. 

You can choose from a 21.5 inch or 27 inch model. I would personally disregard the entry level 21.5 inch model and go for the 4K option if you can. The 27 inch models are absolute monsters though and will really reward you if you can stretch your budget that far.

Refreshed: June 2017


iMac Pro

Apple have just announced an amazing iMac Pro that is due to be launched at the end of the year. It's incredibly expensive, but I thought it would help if I mentioned it here as it may be a better option for you than the current models if you can wait that long.

Expected: Late 2017


Mac Pro

This is a revolutionary computer that was designed to give professionals exceptional power and performance. This is the sort of thing that would feature in your dream setup and it looks amazing as well.

The big problem here is that Apple have pretty much announced that they've given up on it.

In addition to the forthcoming iMac Pro, Apple have made it clear that they have something special in development for pro users and will learn lessons from the Mac Pro. This leaves this device as a very expensive fallback if you need something right now and just can't find an alternative from Windows.

It's also getting on a bit, despite the recent refresh.

Refreshed: April 2017 (Minor)


Mac mini

The original Mac mini was designed to entice iPod users and allow them to simply plug in their existing keyboard and monitor. They have evolved over the years, but I think it's safe to say they have become a lot less attractive in recent years.

I'd think very carefully before you consider one of these.

The entry level machine may be an option if you have everything already, but even buying a keyboard and mouse starts to significantly raise the price. Despite some great memories, I personally consider this a machine for specialists or businesses.

There haven't really been any significant updates for a while either. Although this may suggest we may see a new model soon, it wouldn't surprise me if the Mac mini quietly disappeared over the next year.

Released: July 2014


The Apple TV Range

After their success with digital music, I think it's safe to say that Apple have found it a lot harder to conquer the TV industry. The Apple TV is designed to let you steam TV and iTunes content as well as giving the ability to play app games on your big screen. It also lets you stream content from your Apple devices as well.

https://www.apple.com/uk/tv/


Apple TV

My biggest problem with this device is that it's just too expensive and complicated. I still use the previous, cheaper model and I honestly don't think I need anything this new one offers. That said, it is a nice device.

Amazon have just started to support it, so you don't need other devices now.

I think it's safe to say that this type of gaming just hasn't taken off either and it's certainly not the Wii replacement they seemed to expect. The loss of an optical or audio output will also be a problem for some users. 

When it comes to the Apple TV, my advice is to 'watch this space'. I'm pretty confident that we'll see new hardware later this year and there will be more software announcements that will make it more appealing.

Release: Sept 2015


The Apple Watch Range

At the launch of the iPhone 6, Tim Cook casually mentioned that he had 'one more thing' and unveiled the long-awaited Apple Watch. This is their vision of what a smartwatch should be and it offers some very impressive features. The best thing is, it never fails to impress people when you use it to pay for things.

https://www.apple.com/uk/watch/


Apple Watch Series 2

This device builds on the orginal Apple Watch and adds built-in GPS and an enhanced display. It's also more powerful and water resistant.

The Series 2 is clearly aimed at fitness enthusiasts and runners.

This Apple Watch is designed to help you work out and it lets you see everything you need to improve your performance and help you move forwards. The extra power and brightness will also come in handy for 'ordinary' users as well.

Like the original Apple Watch, there are plenty of configurations available to suit your style and my advice is to remember that it's the same hardware in your watch regardless of what material is used to build it. It's really a matter of whether you're using it for sports or show and how long you intend to keep it.

The main problem with this device though it that it's almost a year old, so I'm pretty sure it will be replaced very soon. My advice is to wait until September if you can.

Release: Sept 2016


Apple Watch Series 1

This is essentially the original Apple Watch with a better processor. It's roughly £100 cheaper than the Series 2, so it may be a better option if you really don't need GPS.

If you just want notifications and Apple Pay, it will be ideal.

I have the original Apple Watch and while I can't describe it as essential, it does have its uses. I barely use any of the apps if I'm honest but I do use Apple Pay a lot.

Just being able to pay for things by pressing a button on your wrist really makes a difference. I also like getting notifications on-the-go. 

Like the Series 2, this was also refreshed in September so I'm not confident it's going to be around much longer. My advice is to wait and see what happens if you can.

Refreshed: Sept 2016


I hope this has all been helpful and that you know where you are now. There will be at least two big launches before the end of the year, so it will be interesting to see how this list changes next time. Keep an eye out for my 'first thoughts' on all the significant tech launches over the next few months as well.