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November 22, 2012

Slate: What not to buy on Black Friday

(Continued)

PALO ALTO, Calif —

Avoiding the connector is not as hard as it sounds: Many phone and tablet accessories now feature wireless connectivity, so you can hook up your iPhone (or most other phones!) without having to physically plug one thing into another. (See, for instance, Jawbone's $130 Jambox or Logitech's $100 Mini Boombox.) It's true that these wireless accessories are more expensive than devices with physical docks, but remember that you're investing in long-term compatibility.

In the same vein, whatever you do, do not buy an accessory that still uses Apple's old connector (of which you'll find many on sale this week). That's just asking for trouble.

Don't buy a non-retina MacBook. Also probably the iPad 2. Oh, and the iPod Nano.

Apple put out a lot of new stuff this year: In addition to the iPhone 5, there were three iPads (first the third-generation iPad, which was later replaced by the fourth-generation iPad, and now we've also got the iPad Mini); a new iPod Touch; a wondrous new line of iMacs; a few nice upgrades to its MacBook Air line; and finally, it created two groundbreaking, if very expensive, laptops with ultra-high definition displays, the 13- and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros.

What's strange is that Apple didn't bother to remove some of its older models from its lineup in order to make room for the new stuff. This has created a weird overlap in its catalog-some of Apple's models now offer what seem to be the worst features of its best products.

Take, for instance, the 13-inch non-Retina MacBook Pro, which normally sells for $1,199 but can be found for up to $60 less on Black Friday. Don't fall for that discount-with its old-school technology (a magnetic hard drive and even a slot for DVDs!), the non-retina MacBook weighs a ton more than the comparably priced 13-inch MacBook Air, which Amazon is selling for $1,152. (OK, the Pro is only a pound and a half more than the Air, but it'll feel like a ton.)

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