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  #1  
Old 09-08-2010, 12:51 PM
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Need advice from Apple Computer users

I am seriously considering a jump to an Apple computer, probably a laptop of some kind.

I'd like to try a used one first, before sinking serious money, but really have not followed the Apple models, series, etc.

My intent is to use it for web-browsing, word processing, e-mail and occasional downloading.

Any models to get or avoid? Price range to look at? Features I must have? I assume the laptops come with batteries and AC adaptor, right?

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Old 09-08-2010, 01:00 PM
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In the used market, you would want to steer clear of the older PowerPC based models, more specifically the Powerbooks and iBooks and go with the Intel Core2Duo models. The advantage is that you'll have access to the most current OS (Snow Leopard) and the ability to run a variety of operating systems, including those from Redmond, WA.

Common failure issues on the Apple laptops are screen hinges cracking, keyboard failures and case crack, particularly the white plastic 'books.

Compared to the Windows market, I find that Apple owners, like owners of other luxury products, do tend to take better care of their "precious." You may be able to find a used one that is still under AppleCare extended warranty if the owner opted to buy it, which many do.

Unless you need it to be ultra thin, the Macbook Air, seems to be retaining it's higher price point in the used market, despite being somewhat reliant on external devices (doesn't have built in optical drive) which can get messy.

Last edited by MTI; 09-08-2010 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:04 PM
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x2 on the above advice if you're just starting out, although I have to admit I'm typing this on a 2003 17" aluminum G4 Powerbook, which is my daily driver. We also have 2 newer intel MacBooks in the house as well as a couple of desktop Macs. If you want to buy used, watch Craigslist, especially around university towns. Look for one with the AppleCare extended warranty. It's worth it's weight in gold. If you happen to find one that's less than a year old that doesn't have AppleCare, you can still buy the coverage as a second owner as long as you buy it within one year of original purchase. It includes unlimited tech support and in the event you have an issue, the turn around is amazing. We called about an issue on one of the MacBooks that couldn't be resolved over the phone. The next day a prepaid shipping box arrived FedEx. We sent the machine in and had a new motherboard installed and it was returned within a week. Several years ago my son had a 12" iBook that got sent back three times for three separate issues. On the fourth issue, I called Apple and said look up the repair issues on this machine will you, I'm tired of sending it back and it's not up to your usual standards. The CSR put me on hold, came back in a minute and said "we're replacing your machine, your shipping box will arrive tomorrow." Sure enough, we got the CURRENT model as a replacement. I should mention also that all my dealings with AppleCare involved agents who did not need to be spoken to slowly due to their English deficiencies.
A good source for used Macs can be SmallDog electronics. www.smalldog.com. They sell new and refurb and sometimes open box machines and are great people to work with. Also, check the Apple store website and look in their refurb section. The selection changes every day. You can get 10-25% off on refurbs with the same warranty. I've purchased several of them without issue. They're identical to new in my experience.
The current entry model MacBook is 999.00 and well equipped with a good sized HD, 250gig I think and a 2.4ghz intel chip, DVD burner, webcam etc. Used, you'll pay around 650-750 if you're fortunate or might get lucky with some college kid who's desperate and find one cheaper. Don't look for deals on new. Apple keeps tight control of their prices, and the third party sellers can only throw in freebies to entice you, like extra ram or a printer or something. You'll pay Apple prices on the machine itself everywhere. You can save tax by buying from smalldog or another online retailer. Apple has retail presence in all 50 states and has to charge sales tax if you buy from their website. Avoid MacMall like the plague. Good luck, say so long to viruses, spyware and intrusive updates.
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTI View Post
Compared to the Windows market, I find that Apple owners, like owners of other luxury products, do tend to take better care of their "precious." You may be able to find a used one that is still under AppleCare extended warranty if the owner opted to buy it, which many do.
.

Unless they're in college. You should see some of the things that I've come across on Macbooks
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  #5  
Old 09-08-2010, 02:30 PM
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Frankly, if you're buying anything from a college student, whether it's a computer, car, futon . . . you get what you deserve!
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  #6  
Old 09-08-2010, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTI View Post
In the used market, you would want to steer clear of the older PowerPC based models, more specifically the Powerbooks and iBooks and go with the Intel Core2Duo models.
Unless you need it to be ultra thin, the Macbook Air, seems to be retaining it's higher price point in the used market, despite being somewhat reliant on external devices (doesn't have built in optical drive) which can get messy.
Thanks very much, since I am VERY unfamiliar can you give me models to avoid and to look for? I have no reference.

It's as if you were buying a Citroen and I told you to look for a DX3.

Thanks
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1950 170SD
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1953 Citroen 11BNF limo
1953 220a project
1959 180D
1960 190D
1960 Borgward Isabella TS 2dr
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by elchivito View Post
x2 on the above advice if you're just starting out, although I have to admit I'm typing this on a 2003 17" aluminum G4 Powerbook, which is my daily driver. We also have 2 newer intel MacBooks in the house as well as a couple of desktop Macs.

If you want to buy used, watch Craigslist, especially around university towns. Avoid MacMall like the plague. Good luck, say so long to viruses, spyware and intrusive updates.
Your choice on models, please/

What is MacMall? The Apple location in the mall?
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Invest in America: Buy a Congressman!

1950 170SD
1951 Citroen 11BN
1953 Citroen 11BNF limo
1953 220a project
1959 180D
1960 190D
1960 Borgward Isabella TS 2dr
1983 240D daily driver
1983 380SL
1990 350SDL daily driver alt
3 x Citroen DS21M, down from 5
3 x Citroen 2CV, down from 6
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  #8  
Old 09-08-2010, 02:40 PM
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The better guide is for you to tell us what your budget is. Most of the Apple laptop line is defined by processor speed and screen size. If you can work with a 13" screen, then you're at the entry level Macbooks. The Macbook Pro line gets you bigger screens and faster processors.

Here's a buyer's gude from a popular Apple forum What Macbook Should I Buy?
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  #9  
Old 09-08-2010, 02:42 PM
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Frankly, if you're buying anything from a college student, whether it's a computer, car, futon . . . you get what you deserve!
Hey hey come on now, I might have a few parts for sale here in the near future. Problem is that a lot of kids get their stuff from their parents so they don't actually know the true value of it. If it breaks, its just an excuse for a brand new one
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  #10  
Old 09-08-2010, 02:57 PM
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The best time to buy Apple gear is just after or before Steve Jobs takes the stage and announces the next "greatest, magical thing ever." We just had that last week for iPods, and I've noticed there's quite an uptick in older versions of Nanos and Touch hitting the market. Since Apple isn't officially participating in MacWorld next year, it's going to be a guess when the next announcement will be made.
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Old 09-08-2010, 04:04 PM
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Aw, just go ahead and jump in feet first. You won't believe how great it is. I intended to buy and Apple in 1989, when I bought my first computer. I got an NEC with Windows 3.0 instead and regretted it for twenty years. This year I bought a Mac ProBook and love it.
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Old 09-08-2010, 05:48 PM
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MacMall is an online retailer. You may know them in their Pee-See iteration as PCMall. Terrible shipping, Bull$h!t rebates they never mail, horrible customer service. Bad JuJu all 'round.
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Old 09-08-2010, 06:09 PM
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If you consider yourself a person incapable of using technology, by all means obtain a MAC.

IMHO why would you waste money on an old used MAC when for the same $$ or less you could get a brand new nice Windows7 netbook or even a whole laptop WITH warranty. Plus, you'd have an operating system that is useful rather than annoying and designed for simpletons.
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  #14  
Old 09-08-2010, 06:13 PM
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and so it goes.
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Old 09-08-2010, 06:16 PM
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Plus, you'd have an operating system that is useful rather than annoying and designed for simpletons.
I prefer to use a Mac for my everyday tasks, which includes administrating a rather large linux cluster at work. It's really a matter of preference. I find it easier to have lots of things going on the mac and switch quickly between them. Plus I have unix under the hood, so I can use scripts and such to do my tasks for me. FWIW my company just phased out Windows in favor of Linux and Mac for everyone's workstations due to security concerns. Some people resisted the switch but overall things have gone well.

My only misgiving is that the mac doesn't use the home and end keys properly.

When I worked for a school district I set up a Windows domain. It worked well for them, but it required a lot of locking down and frequent reloads on the lab machines to keep everything from grinding to a halt. I will say that ISA Server is one of Microsoft's best products and I really enjoyed using it.

If you're thinking about making the switch go to the apple store and spend some time with a mac. See if you like the way it works. Play around with it. If you find yourself pulling your hair out you don't have to buy one

-J

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