APPLE AIRPODS $159
More battery life, but no customized design
Over the past 2½ years, AirPods have grown from the butt of jokes to the favorite product of commuters and people who spend all day on the phone. But the 2019 update (priced $159 to $199) doesn’t move the needle much.
What’s good: The battery in the second-generation AirPods promises an hour more of talking time, thanks to a more-efficient processor. And Apple superfans will like that the new AirPods listen out for the command “Hey Siri” to take your voice commands.
What’s missing: Apple is sticking with its one-size-fits-all design. Also missing are noise-canceling capabilities and color options other than white. And if Apple wanted to prove its commitment to the environment, it could have included a replaceable battery. Finally, Apple two years ago promised a wireless charger called AirPower that could charge the iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods at the same time. This product, however, is still MIA.
Apple iPad Air $499
Air is good alternative to pricier iPad Pro
Apple’s iPad lineup has never been larger or more confusing.
What’s good: The new $399 Mini, last updated about two years ago, is now much faster, featuring the A12 processor also found in the iPhone XS and XR. Apple’s also bringing back the $499 iPad Air as a faster, 10.5-inch version of its basic $329 iPad. The new Air is a good alternative to the $799 11-inch iPad Pro, given that the two devices are close in size and have the same processor.
What’s missing: None of the new iPads adopted Face ID or the smaller-bezel design of last year’s iPad Pro.
Apple iMac $1,099
Desktops speedier, but not really evolving
Apple’s classic desktop computer is getting faster, but not really evolving.
What’s good: The iMac, priced $1,099 and up, is getting Intel’s ninth-generation processors and new graphics options.
What’s missing: Macs have been behind the curve in getting upgrades that come to other Apple products. These new iMacs still don’t have TouchID for entering passwords and making payments. Plus Apple lags far behind Microsoft in reimagining the form of a desktop computer.