Recommended Nerd Purchases

Notebook Computer
MacBook Air, late 2018 model
If you can afford a little more storage, bump it up to 256GB. Do your best to avoid eating crumbly food around the keyboard. And know the ports have changed. It’ll be better in the long run, but today is a bit of a pain.

Desktop Computer
iMac 4K
But for all that is good, pay the extra money for the SSD. I know it’s extra money, but you have to! I don’t want to go into why. Just do it. If you already have a good monitor, the 2018 Mac Mini is a hell of a little computer. Buy as much SSD as you can afford (the RAM can be upgraded later)

iPhone
iPhone XR
Really, it’s great. You don’t need to spend any more than that. And you only need to get the 64GB model. See below for why.

iPad
iPad Air
The iPad Air 10.5 is a solid machine and the iPad most people should buy. The iPad Mini is also a great iPad if you want something small to chuck in your bag. In fact, ounce for ounce, there is no more powerful tablet made by anyone. For any price.

Apple Watch
Series 4
There’s no getting around it: The Series 4 is a spendy watch. If you can’t afford the Series 4, then just wait. While Apple sells the Series 3 still, it’s the Series 4 you want. It makes all the others feel crappy (and don’t get me started on other smart watches made by other companies).

AirPods
AirPods
If you can only get one item this year, get the AirPods. They have changed everything. They are nearly perfect and you will love them. Absolutely love them. You don’t need to buy the wireless charging case. These things charge so quickly via lightning that I can’t imagine anyone needing the Qi charging model. If you have the money, sure. Else, no.

iCloud Storage
200GB
You should get over yourself and throw a couple of bucks at Apple for the iCloud storage. The prices are competitive and, if you make sure to set it up correctly, your iPhone will back itself up each night. Then turn on iCloud Photo Library and have all your photos available to you even if you fill up your iPhone. Seriously, we’re talking about three bucks a month.

Certified Refurbished
If you don’t shy from refurbs, getting one of these machines from Apple’s Certified Refurbished store is a great deal. iPhone and iPads come with new outer shells, new batteries, and have the regular one-year warranty. The products are even eligible for the extra-cost extended warranty. I bought a 2015 MacBook Pro in 2018 and it now has a full warranty until 2021. And I’m looking to get a 2018 Mac Mini refurb… for no good reason.

Page updated: April 2019

Bob Schulties @bobschulties