Buying Guide to the Apple Macintosh Computer

The Apple Macintosh computer has a reputation for being many wonderful things. Easy-to-use? Certainly. Hip? To a fault. Revolutionary? On occasion. But cheap? Never. Sadly, until Macintosh fever conquers the mass market with the same force of Windows, tasting Apple’s forbidden fruit is not a task for the penny-pincher. So make every dollar count! Here’s a way to get the most bang for your buck with Macintosh.

(1) Smaller machine and smaller price don’t always go hand in hand. Sure, the MacBook is the hot new thing, but evaluate if you actually need portability or if you’re just going in for the sexy new technology. A desktop computer will provide you more power per penny.

(2) Academic discounts get an A+! Apple has always been education-friendly, so if your Mac is for a student, teacher or other educational professional, check with your school if you can get a deep discount for bringing an Apple for the teacher.

(3) Read the fine print on AppleCare and decide if you really want to shell out a coupla hundred bucks for it. If you’re the type who enjoys getting your hands dirty, AppleCare’s somewhat limited support may not be worth enrolling in. Tech support today just isn’t what it used to be. You could end up having the bulk of your phone support be a sad sigh and instructions to take your computer in for repair.

(4) Don’t pay for the logo! Apple loves to offer peripherals like extra RAM or nifty monitors; indeed, their displays have traditionally come under a lot of fire as a particular offender, and while the big screens are pretty to look at, there’s no law against shopping around for what you need at a lower price. As much as Apple may hate to admit it, you’ve got options; they may show up at the Apple Store’s Web site, but your Macintosh isn’t going to explode if you buy, say, an internal hard drive from a lower-cost source than the mysterious fortress in Cupertino. Chances are, they’re buying their tools from the same place you are.

(4a) And even when you’re buying a non-Apple product through Apple, you might still get a taste of their overpricing, and that’s neither golden nor delicious. Shop around before buying third-party products from the same place your Macintosh is born.

(4b) One shudders to think, but on some setups you might even be able to use the same external bits and pieces you used to use on-the horror-your Windows machine.

(5) Learn when things are moving in the marketplace. Sources such as the MacRumors Buyer’s Guide – http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/ – are all too happy to share the scoop on when something’s going on that’ll change the Mac world around. Computer developments move in cycles, and you don’t want to buy an outdated product at the end of a cycle if the hot new thing is right around the corner. (“Days since update: 268. Average = 262. Don’t buy – updates soon” drones one portentous tip.) Your correspondent was lucky enough to buy his newest Mac just as things were on the move, and as a reward for being caught in the shuffle was given 800 extra megahertz of RAM for free. Not bad.

(6) Plan ahead. If you’re one of the Macintosh fans who’s getting into digital video, for example, don’t just get what you need to get through one starter short film when everything’s available for purchase to help you cut your first feature. Buy a Mac that will last you for years. Your computer will be your tool and friend for years to come.

(7) Brag.

Well, why not? Buying a Macintosh is a great investment purchase and a greater joy. You’re about to receive the top of the line in computer technology, and because you shopped smart and specific (but not too specific) you’re getting the best both Apple and the world at large have to offer. You won’t regret buying a Macintosh. You’ll only regret not falling in love sooner.

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