Apple is still selling you computers with 2013 specs for 2017 price tags.
While these computers will work fine, they have outdated specs that don’t warrant their high price tags. You should steer your wallet well clear of them.
I’ve listed the Apple computers you shouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole, and added suggestions of computers you should consider instead.
Some of these computers are part of Apple’s recent back-to-school promotion, where you can get a free pair of $300 Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones. Yet, even with the free pair of headphones, some computers aren’t worth your time or money.
Check them out:
Apple recently refreshed the MacBook Air in June 2017, but the refresh was minimal and it’s still not a great deal.
For $1,000, the MacBook Air display is old and dreary compared to the $1,200 MacBook Pro with Apple’s gorgeous Retina display. More specifically, the MacBook Air’s display has a 900p resolution, which is positively blurry by today’s standards. The MacBook Pro’s Retina display, on the other hand, has a 1600p resolution display that’s far sharper, and it has vastly superior color output.
The MacBook Air’s refresh included an updated processor, but that processor is from Intel’s 5th generation chip line from 2015. The problem here is that Intel is on its 7th generation of processors right now, which you’ll find in the latest MacBook Pro. Intel’s 5th generation of processor is very good, but it’s still relatively old by tech standards, and thus not very future-proof.
Overall, you’re much better off spending the extra $200 on the base model of the MacBook Pro than you are buying a MacBook Air. The new MacBook Pros are almost as light as the MacBook Air, and they’re actually thinner at both computers’ thickest points.
If you want something even lighter and slimmer than than the MacBook Pro, you could go for the MacBook. They’re a little more expensive-per-performance than the MacBook Pros, but they are beautiful and incredibly light and slim.
The Mac Mini costs between $500 and $1,000, depending on the specs, and it was last refreshed way back in 2014.
All Mac Mini models run on Intel’s 4th generation processors, which you won’t find on any new computers for the same price.
For example, let’s take the $500 base Mac Mini with a 4th-generation Core i5 processor, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, and 500GB of storage, and compare it to a $500 Dell Inspiron. The Dell has a faster 7th-generation Core i5 processor, 8GB of the latest and faster DDR4 RAM, and one terabyte (1,000GB) of storage. The Mac Mini is a poor deal in comparison.
If you really want a desktop computer that stays on a desk, go for the iMac. They start at $1,100, and they’re a much, much better deal than any Mac Mini. They also come with a gorgeous 4K display.
Otherwise, if you already have a monitor you like to use, you could go for a MacBook Pro and hook it up to your monitor.
Alternatively, you could stray away from the Apple ecosystem and go for a cheaper Windows PC, like the Dell Inspiron I mentioned above.
Getty Images/Justin Sullivan
Apple’s Mac Pro computers are designed with professional video and photo editors in mind, so they shouldn’t really be considered for most people who want a machine for general work, web browsing, and Netflix streaming.
Still, professionals should take note that the current Mac Pro is an old computer that was last refreshed in 2013, and it comes with a 2017 price tag.
Since 2013, Intel has released its second generation of Xeon processors; the Mac Pro runs on the first generation. The Mac Pro also has the older DDR3 standard of RAM, whereas newer professional workstations come with the latest and faster DDR4 standard. The Mac Pro’s graphics cards are also ancient.
For the price, Apple’s Mac Pro computers are simply not worth it for professional customers.
If you’re looking to stay in the Apple ecosystem, you’d do well to wait for the new iMac Prothat’s coming out in December. It’ll be more expensive, but that’s because it comes with a 5K display and the latest and greatest specs. It will even be able to power virtual- and augmented- reality experiences, if that’s your thing.
The idea that Mac computers are more secure than Windows machines might be a myth.
Security researchers have found two types of malicious software which apparently target Macs for the first time.
Ransomware — malicious software that encrypts your data and then demands payment for decryption — is more commonly a problem for Windows users, but it’s also recently been a growing problem for Macs.
What’s still less common on Macs is ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) schemes.
These are essentially affiliate models, where attackers use someone else’s ransomware package to launch an attack. They then hand over a cut to the ransomware author. The advantage is that you don’t need to be particularly tech-savvy to launch an attack by using someone else’s code. Attackers haven’t bothered targeting Macs, because most people use Windows.
It looks like that’s changing.
Research firm Fortinet found a RaaS programme called MacRansom advertised on the dark net, and while the programme doesn’t sound all that sophisticated, could still do “real damage.” We first saw the news on the BBC.
Fortinet’s researchers contacted MacRansom’s creators directly and received a message back. The creators claimed to be engineers for Yahoo and Facebook and that they were making their malware available “for free” because more people were buying Macs.
“Unlike most hackers on the darknet, we are professional developers with extensive experience in software development and vast interest in surveillance,” the anonymous authors wrote.
These are probably tall claims. Fortinet analysed MacRansom and described it as “far inferior” to equivalent programmes that target Windows machines, but said it could still cause mayhem.
“It doesn’t fail to encrypt victim’s files or prevent access to important files, thereby causing real damage,” the company wrote.
Fortinet advised Mac users to regularly backup their machines and be suspicious when opening unusual files.
Another set of researchers at AlienVault discovered more malware created by the MacRansom authors — this time malicious software that reads your files.
MacSpy was advertised similarly to MacRansom, and claimed to hoover up victims’ files, offer access to social media accounts, and disguise itself as a legitimate file.
AlienVault’s researchers said as more people buy Macs, there’ll be more instances of targeted malware.
They wrote: “While this piece of Mac malware may not be the most stealthy program, it is feature rich and it goes to show that as OS X continues to grow in market share and we can expect malware authors to invest greater amounts of time in producing malware for this platform.” According to Netmarketshare figures, more than 90% of the world’s computers run Windows. The second most popular operating system is Mac OS at 6%.
Apple is reportedly planning on upgrading all three of its MacBook products at WWDC this year, according to a report from Mark Gurman at Bloomberg.
The company is said to be working on three updated models: a MacBook Pro with Intel’s latest Kaby Lake processor, a more powerful version of the 12-inch MacBook, and an updated 13-inch MacBook Air, which could get a faster processor as well. But sadly, there’s no word on a better screen. Apple really wants you to think of the 13-inch MacBook Pro as the Air’s successor.
While none of the updates sound like particularly major changes from a hardware perspective, it’s encouraging to see that Apple is taking at least some of the criticism of its latest MacBook Pros to heart and updating the laptop line with Intel’s newest processors. It’s unclear whether other concerns like RAM flexibility and uneven USB-C performance in some models will be addressed. You’ll definitely still need dongles.
The MacBook and MacBook Air are certainly due for an update, having been last refreshed in 2016 and 2015, respectively. WWDC 2017 is scheduled to take place from June 5th to June 9th.