By David Becker
Even though schools across the United States have released students for the traditional summer vacation, it is also that time of year where students and parents are already preparing for the following school year. It’s a strange feeling but the process can also be fun at the same time! Here are my recommendations for the 2016-2017 school year for college and high school students. This will cover the Mac, iPad, and iPhone (two devices each).
13-inch MacBook Pro: This high-quality laptop will get you where you want to go and then some. The one I will recommend is the second version with a 256GB SSD. It currently runs for $1,399 at the Apple Store, but also note that this is going to be a heavy duty laptop. For those who want to make sure they have their bases covered regarding specifications, look no further. It is expensive, but with Apple’s 18-month financing plan, one could easily afford this laptop.
11-inch MacBook Air: Although it is not the biggest laptop out there, this is the best MacBook for the basic college student. In this Mac, you’ll still get some of the great features that come with OS X. Once again, I do recommend college students to get the 256GB SSD version because the chances are pretty high that the student will have this laptop for four years of high school or college, and you’ll want to make sure that it has plenty of memory. Apple Stores currently sell this laptop for only $849, which is definitely not bad for a brand new MacBook.
9.7-inch iPad Pro: For students that don’t want to be carrying a giant tablet with them to all of their classes, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is a great fit for people who just want something that is small, but powerful at the same time. This iPad can also record 4K video! I recommend getting the 32GB version if the student already has a MacBook or another laptop. If that is not the case, I recommend purchasing the 128GB version if he/she does not plan on buying or want to buy a laptop for college. The 32GB version runs for $579, while the 128GB version is $729. Also, be sure to pickup the Smart Keyboard, which is currently $149. It will make typing papers a lot easier.
iPad Mini 4: If you’re the kind of person that just uses a tablet for simple web browsing and Netflix in bed, then the iPad Mini 4 is the perfect tablet for you! With its slim form factor and retina display, it will be the most efficient way to relax at the end of the day. Best of all, the 16GB version only costs $379 through Apple!
iPhone 6S: With its newest and cool features like 3D Touch and the addition of the Rose Gold shade, it truly shows how it is one of the best smartphones on the market today. For this device, I will recommend the 64GB version, which currently runs for $749 through Apple. With the changes that are being made everyday through the music industry (buying and streaming music through iTunes and Apple Music) and Apple’s stock apps, the extra memory will be nice. As a user of a 64GB iPhone 6, all I can say is that it is worth the extra $100 in price.
iPhone SE: Now this is intended for people who do not want a huge phone in their pocket. The iPhone SE is a phone that was released in March 2016 and has the specs of the iPhone 6S embedded inside a small 4-inch smartphone. Like I said with the iPhone 6S, you’re going to want the 64GB version. One thing that separates this from the iPhone 6S is that the iPhone SE has a 12 megapixel camera, whereas the iPhone 6S only has an 8 megapixel camera. The iPhone SE in 64GB is currently priced at $499.
I would recommend that if you’re looking for better prices, to keep your eyes open for stores like Best Buy (Macs and all other Apple products) and other cell phone retailers if you want the best price out there. Best Buy does offer better discounts for college students, specifically in the Mac department of their products.
However, if you do choose to buy a Mac, iPad, and/or iPhone, with Apple’s Back to School promotion (going from now until September 5th) at the Apple Store, you will be eligible for a free pair of Beats Solo 2 wireless headphones ($299 value). Customers must be enrolled in an institution of higher learning or college to receive these student deals.
Personally, I would wait until after June 13th (WWDC event and keynote) because that will show what Apple has planned for the next few months. It will include the new versions of OS X and iOS 10, and possibly some new updates to other existing product lines.