People love Macs, but sometimes don’t love the price tags that come with them. We can debate the price of the Mac compared with a PC, compare total cost of ownership, the value of the software Apple bundles with the computer and more to judge whether that price is fair, but the bottom line is that a lot of people are looking for a deal. The good news is that there are deals to be had – straight from Apple.
Apple sells refurbished Macs (and other Apple gear) directly from their online store, and the savings can be dramatic. Most of the gear they sell is either current-model or previous-model systems, and the availability is catch as catch can. You don’t have the same configure-to-order flexibility that you do buying a new machine. Savings typically run 15 to 30 percent, but you can find some spectacular deals if you look.
I see other companies like Other World Computing selling used Mac gear online for less – so why bother buying from Apple at all when you can get a cheaper system used? There’s a difference between refurbished and used – Apple’s refurbed gear has been returned in a fairly short period of time from when it was purchased, and it’s thoroughly gone over to make sure it’s in good shape. You’ll get the hardware delivered in a plain cardboard box instead of Apple’s usual packaging, but it’s indistinguishable from new. I’ve bought two computers and a few accessories from Apple as refurbished, and years later they still work great.
Another big advantage buying refurbed from Apple is that the gear is eligible for coverage under AppleCare, Apple’s extended service plan. Especially if you’re planning on getting a Mac laptop or other mobile device, I think AppleCare is money well spent: it triples the duration of the warranty from one to three years from the date of purchase, and if you do need to use it, you’ll likely make your money back (plus more) after the first repair – parts aren’t cheap, and Apple-certified labor isn’t, either.