Get a great deal
There’s a surprising amount of choice when it comes to who you buy your Mac from – make sure you spend at the right place
Once you’ve settled on the Mac you want, the obvious thing to do is take yourself to your local Apple store or visit its product page at apple. com/uk to make your purchase. But just hold off for a second. There are some pitfalls to avoid – and, more importantly, some opportunities to get a better deal if you think outside the box and consider the unthinkable: purchasing your Mac from someone other than Apple!
Buy now, or wait? Before you hit the buy button, ask yourself this: how long has the Mac model you’re planning to purchase been available? When did Apple last refresh the product line? If it’s less than six months, then it’s unlikely to be superseded in the very near future – move on to the next stage of your purchase. However, if the Mac has been around for longer than six months, then stop and consider the possibility that a newer, faster model is on the horizon.
It’s difficult to know when Apple is about to launch new models, but you can gain some useful insights before you begin. Turn to our Upgrade pages at the back of the magazine, where you’ll get a handy ‘days since refresh’ guide to every single Mac currently available, coupled with our recommendations about buying or waiting now.
It’s also worth noting that even if you’re happy with the current model, there’s a financial bonus if you wait for its successor to launch. You may find limited stocks of the Mac you desire are made available at a discount as local stores strive to clear them from their shelves ahead of the new model’s arrival.
Shop around The margins on Macs are so tight that you might be forgiven for thinking you won’t get a better deal than Apple’s prices, but discounts can be found. Currys occasionally offers 10% off most Mac models, for example. It’s also worth popping into your local Apple Premium Reseller store or browsing a few online to see whether they offer discounts – most don’t, but there are exceptions, such as KRCS (krcs.co.uk). Even so, discounts will be slim. Just make sure the model on offer is the right model by matching the specs with those available on Apple’s website.
Nevertheless, there are other compelling reasons to consider purchasing your new Mac from a Premium Reseller. There’s the convenience of being supported locally, obviously, but also look out for stores offering discounts on previous-generation models, such as Jigsaw24 (jigsaw24. com), or extended guarantees as opposed to the standard 12 months. John Lewis is one example, offering two-year guarantees on all Mac products, but it’s trumped by Premium Reseller Stormfront (stormfront. co.uk), which offers three-year guarantees as standard when you buy from one of its 23 stores across the UK.
Refurbished bargains Another way to save money is to investigate the second-hand market, particularly if you’re happy with an older model that doesn’t have the latest components, or is easier to upgrade than the current one. The obvious place to look is eBay (see its closed auctions for the kind of prices you’ll pay), but remember you’re usually buying privately, so there’s no protection, and no guarantee.
It makes more sense to pay a bit more from a reputable dealer that offers some protection. The obvious place to look is Apple’s own Certified Refurbished store (go to http://apple.co/1N2QV3o
and use the sidebar on the left to filter down your choices). Here you’ll find ex-display models and returned Macs that have subsequently been refurbished and repaired to Apple’s exacting standards for 10-20% less than the normal price, complete with 12-month guarantee. Make sure the model you’re buying is the one you think it is, and bear in mind that stocks are limited, so be prepared to wait until the model you want is available.
You can also pick up refurbished models from some Apple Premium Resellers – typically in-store rather than online. Also take a look at second-hand seller CEX (uk. webuy.com), which often offers the best prices of any store, while including a 12-month guarantee on all its Apple products.
If you can’t afford to purchase your new Mac outright, many stores, including Apple, offer some form of credit, with the cost spread over a number of years. If you can afford to pay over 10 months, then Stormfront offers interest-free credit on all purchases over £400, while the benchmark APR on offer from Apple and others is around 14.9% if you need to spread the cost over a longer period.
Finally, if you plan to buy your Mac in-store, don’t be hassled. Apple and Premium Resellers are not supposed to be pushy.
Premium Resellers like Stormfront offer the same excellent service as Apple’s own stores, and sometimes even exceed it.
One advantage of buying from Apple or a Premium Reseller is the relaxed environment – you shouldn’t be pressured into buying what you don’t want.