"We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?" - Steve Jobs

Ultimate Apple Setups

I’ve been tweeting and posting quite a bit recently about my Apple based setups, so when an online friend of mine1 shared his [recent post](http://ipadguild.com/the-best-apple-setups-for-500-1000-2500-and-5000) about a setup challenge I was very intrigued.

The premise of his challenge is simple, you have to come up with your ultimate Apple product based setups at four different price points, namely $500, $1,000, $2,500 and, finally, $5,000. The rules, as defined by Chris are:

  • You cannot use any other items, if you have a Mac Pro lying around your home, I don’t care.
  • The prices are based off Apple’s website.

Sounds simple enough, right? For my purposes, just because I want to, I’m going to be using the U.K. site prices, because they’re inclusive of tax, which isn’t true for the U.S. one, as far as I know. The great British Pound doesn’t stretch quite as far as the dollar, so this could be interesting.

I should just mention that, so as not to tait my views, I’ve not read Chris’ post as yet, further than the ’rules’ section at least.

So, without further ado, here goes!

The Ultimate Apple Setup for £500

This one was actually a very tough one. I had originally decided upon the standard iPad, at £349. For this price, however, you get a 32GB model, which really is too small this day and age. Next I thought maybe the new iPhone SE, but the base model will set you back £419, which doesn’t leave much money for anything else. The iPhone has started to get less and less important in terms of a setup for me in recent years as well, so this idea was also canned.

Finally I settled on the current iPad Mini. At £399, it costs a bit more than the entry level iPad, but you get a much more acceptable 64GB of storage and it’s a gorgeous little device. I have one currently that I use every day, for reading especially. It’s a really great companion to my large iPad Pro as well. Coupled with my choice for the remainder of the budget, the original Apple Pencil, I think you’d have a really solid setup for most media consumption tasks.

The Ultimate Apple Setup for £1,000

This is where things start getting a little spicy. I know £1,000 is nothing to be sniffed at, but you can start getting some really interesting setups at this price point. Here’s what I’d go with:

iPhone SE: £419

Apple Watch Series 3 42mm: £229

AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: £199

Apple TV HD: £149

Total: £996

I’ve decided to miss out my favourite product, the iPad, at this price point, in favour of a setup that really highlights some of the ecosystem you can buy into.

The new iPhone SE is an incredible phone for a relatively low price point, which in turn opens up access to the Apple Watch, my next pick, which I think is a really exciting product category, which will continue to grow in leaps and bounds over the coming years.

This, in turn, leads itself nicely to my next suggestion, the excellent AirPods with wireless charging. I’m using the Pro model currently, but if I’m honest I found the comfort of this second generation normal headphones far better and they’re the perfect compliment to your shiny new iPhone SE, in Product RED colouring of course.

Lastly, I’ve filled out my virtual basket with the Apple TV HD. To be completely honest, this was a filler item, just to use up my budget. At this point in time, when another is due any day, I wouldn’t recommend buying any Apple TV, especially one that’s already an older model. That being said, the iPhone purchase will provide you with a year of Apple TV+ which you can enjoy via the Apple TV HD, so it’s really a bit of a win. I think Apple TV+ has gone from strength to strength and it has an intriguing pipeline of upcoming shows, so I think this would round out my suggestions well.

The Ultimate Apple Setup for £2,500

Right, time to really push the boat out I guess …

iPad Pro 12.9” 512GB WiFi & Cellular: £1,419

Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro: £349

AppleCare+ for iPad Pro: £129

iPhone SE 256GB: £569

Total: £2,466

I’ve gone all out on this one, and finally have the budget to splash out on my favourite Apple device, the 12.9” iPad Pro. While I think the 11” is the right size for most people, I’m really in love with the 12.9”. It’s my primary computer, so I’m assuming the same would be the case in this fantasy scenario. As such, I’ve bumped the storage up to 512GB, and thrown in cellular for good measure. This is an device that will last you for some time to come.

To this beast of a device I’m adding another recent favourite, the Magic Keyboard for iPad. I wrote about my first impressions recently, and my love for the device has grown exponentially from there. This, coupled with a 12.9” iPad Pro, really is the ultimate computer for me and my use cases. I can’t recommend it enough.

I’ve decided not to recommend the Apple Pencil, because in my case it’s been stuck to my iPad since day 1, and has been touched only a handful of times. Instead, I’ve spent some of the funds on AppleCare+. While this isn’t the most exciting item, the price covers repairs and replacements for not only the iPad Pro, but the Magic Keyboard also, so it’s a pretty good buy, especially if you’re thinking of keeping the device for some time.

Last, but by no means least, I’m rounding out my £2,500 setup with the iPhone SE. Not only am I cost constrained at this point, having focused on the important crux of a setup, but the iPhone SE is, again, such a good buy at this price point ,and this far into the current flagships lifecycle.

The Ultimate Apple Setup for £2,500

At this point, you can basically go hog wild in my eyes. I’m very unlikely to consider a MacBook, iMac, or Mac Pro in any future setup of mine, be it a fantasy one or real, so I wouldn’t really be constrained if offered £5,000 to buy myself a setup. To this end, I won’t break down each item. I would essentially take the £2,500 setup and make the following changes:

  • Swap out the iPhone SE with an iPhone 11 Pro Max, because why not?
  • I’d add an LG 4K UltraFine monitor to the setup, for use with the iPad Pro, if needed. While external monitor support is less than ideal with the iPad, I have high hopes that iPadOS updates to come will enhance this functionality, so why not get yourself ready?
  • If I still have funds left, I’d slip in an always excellent Apple Watch and a HomePod, for good measure.

I’m really pleased Chris shared this challenge with me, it’s been an interesting journey looking at what Apple products I put real value in. While this is possibly not the most exciting overview, given my, likely expected, bias and focus on iPads it was a fascinating little diversion. As Chris said in his original post, I’d also love to hear some counter arguments on Twitter, or in your own posts, so please do share.


  1. Do we still have to distinguish between an online friend and an actual friend, especially during a time when all of our friends are internet friends? That’s a topic for another time, however, and I digress. ↩︎