Walk into a college classroom nowadays, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by a sea of Macs. Heck, walk down the street and it’s almost impossible to not see an iPhone. Simply put, Apple products are incredibly popular, and I’m sure many of you readers will be lusting after those tech toys with the signature Apple on the back. While it’s important to look around and try to get a good deal, you should also take heed of Apple’s business strategy to get you to buy more stuff: planned obsolescence.

That’s right – planned obsolescence. After all, do people really need to get an iPhone 4S when their iPhone 4 that they’ve had for less than a year still functions perfectly fine? Of course not! But everyone likes shiny new stuff, and wouldn’t you always have the newest model if possible? That’s where MacRumors’ Buyer’s Guide comes in handy.

This handy little webpage keeps track of the current product cycle for each and every Apple product, along with the length of past release cycles and the average number of days between each release. Knowing this information, MacRumors estimates if you should buy that shiny new device now or wait a few weeks for a brand-new refresh. The green, yellow, and red jewel icons (for just released, mid-cycle, and end of cycle respectively) make it even easier to understand where each product is in its cycle at a glance.

The only real drawback to the Buyer’s Guide is that it’s ultimately based on historical data and rumors and speculation. Sometimes, Apple can break from precedent and release an update far sooner or later than expected. However, nine times out of ten that’s not the case. In summary, the Buyer’s Guide is a fairly accurate tool for making sure you’re getting your full money’s worth when purchasing new Apple products. Whenever you’re thinking about buying new Apple hardware, always take a peek at the Buyer’s Guide to ensure you won’t get hosed weeks later with Apple selling newer and faster hardware for less.

Has the Buyer’s Guide saved you from buying hardware that was refreshed weeks later? What do you think about its accuracy? Let us know in the comments!