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There’s no doubt about it – Macs are great computers, but they re not cheap, and it’s hard to find them on special! What you may not know is that you can buy iMacs, Macbooks, Macbook Pros, Mac Minis – almost the entire Apple range, refurbished from Apple, often at reduced prices. I always buy my Macintoshs from the Apple refurbished store rather than new from a retail store. In my opinion the computers at the refurbished outlet are BETTER than a new one – as well as being cheaper! Here’s why, and here’s some tips on how to go about getting one.
These are computers that have been returned with a problem. This problem has been fixed, tested, and now they are being resold. Sometimes they are current models. Sometimes they are older models. I have even bought a refurbished product which appeared to be totally new and un-opened – I assume it was excess stock after a new model was released.
If you look at the graphs of when macs fail here you will see that most Macs, if they are going to fail, have a problem in the first year. My hunch is that a number of these break in transit or develop a fault in the first few days. If you buy a new computer from the Apple Centre, you don’t know whether you’re going to get a Machines with a fault, whereas if you buy a refurbished computer, it’s already failed, and been repaired, and fully tested. I know people who have bought a new Macintosh from Apple and had problems with it and had to send it back for warranty repair in the first few months. Buying a refurbished computer may give you less chance of that happening – the computer is already ‘ broken in’ yet it still has a one-year warranty from the day you buy it!
The price of a refurbished mac can vary, sometimes it can be 21, 30 or even 50% off the retail price! At other times it can be MORE EXPENSIVE! ( This happens when the price of a model is reduced – and the Apple refurbished store still has the price from before the price reduction.)
For example this 27 inch imac currently for sale is an absolute steal – AU $1700. They begin at $2199 in the Apple Store:
On the other hand, this 24 inch is way overpriced at AU$2429 – that’s $239 MORE than the NEW 27 inch i3 model! This is because the large iMacs are cheaper than they were a year ago. The ‘save $570’ is a saving off what the price used to be, not today’s new price.
A refurbished Macintosh comes with a standard one-year warranty and is also eligible to receive the extended three year warranty, so long as you upgrade it in the first year.
You can even save on the purchase of purchase an applecare warranty if you look around. For example a 3 year Applecare for an imac in Australia costs $AU268 but I found one on ebay for US$84 – under half the price. Applecare is international so you can buy it in any country and use it in any country. You just need to register it online with Apple when you get it. As always, be careful what you buy from eBay, but if the seller is PayPal guaranteed, it’s hard to go wrong. The same can be said for software, I just purchased iWork off eBay for $24 instead of $129, and 3 yr applecare for my iphone for US$29 instead of AU$99.
Finally, it can be cheaper to buy memory for your Macintosh after you purchase it, and I have previously written an article about this here. If you live in Australia there’s often some good pointers to mac bargains here.