Is this the wrong time to buy a laptop?

Like me, you may have been seeing some excellent sale prices on Mac laptops recently. They’re tempting and may get even more so in the near future, but there’s a reason for those low prices–clearing out inventory. Intel is about to release new processor chips that coupled with other hardware changes, could dramatically extend a laptop’s battery life into double-digit hours, along with improved built-in graphics. One story on that is here: … quad.core/

That said, if you don’t work much away from AC power or if you don’t game and need powerful graphics, then the current generation of Mac laptops might serve you well. Scrivener doesn’t strain a laptop’s resources. It runs fine on my six-year-old MacBook. But I was certainly tempted when I recently saw a new MacBook Pro for just under $1000.

Just keep in mind that, after these new laptops come out, the prices for current models is likely to drop even more, particularly at Apple’s refurb store. That’s why it might be better to until after Apple’s WWDC keynote on June 10 to decide.

Any comments?

–Michael W. Perry, Seattle

I bought a new Macbook Pro with Retina display a week ago. This was to replace a 5 ½ year old MBP that is going to my son and his family.

For me, I couldn’t have timed it better. In two weeks I begin extensive travel this summer, and I was a little concerned about the MBP. And my son and family have my 2003 eMac that has been their computer (for seven people), so they will get an upgrade on their system too. So we both benefit from it.

With the SSD hard drive (I got the 13” with 8 GB RAM and 512 GB storage), the start up takes 15 seconds as opposed to the near minute of the MBP, and battery life is 7 hours. Last night I was writing a book review using Scrivener (taking 2+ hours), and the battery hardly ran down at all. I recharged it in 20 minutes. Retina Display is fantastic.

For me I didn’t care about new technology available, but what meets my needs. This one was absolutely perfect for me and my current situation.

I would say that right now the Retina models are a safer purchase than the standard display models, especially the 15" MacBook Pro. That model is around a year old now, and it is very likely that at least a refresh will be announced in a few weeks at WWDC, or potentially a merger between the Retina display and the greater input/output and optical drive support of the 15" MBP. On the other hand they might completely abandon the more powerful MBP making the current models the last truly professional laptop, and if that happens prices on the current MPB might soar or sour, depending on whether mobile pros decide to stick with Apple. :slight_smile:

Always a good time to get a MBP Retina. I got my 13" when it came out last year and I still think it’s the best machine Apple ever made. However, given that WWDC (or whatever it’s called) happens next week, I’d wait out a few days to see what they announce.

Yeah, I’m a bit on pins and needles with this. I’ve been saving up for the Retina MPB (not so much for the retina and definitely not for the lack of optical drive, but the greater processing power and RAM–I dream of being able to run one, yea even two, VMs without my entire machine grinding to a halt), so I’m waiting to see what wonders will be announced next week and then see about prices. I have that itch to always get biggest and best but I’m trying to curtail it; the bank account is helping with the last bit. :wink: I rarely make time to game, but I need to run a bunch of stuff simultaneously, so…eh.

Still sour about the lack of optical drive, though. Perhaps that makes me a dinosaur, but so what. Dinosaurs are cool. Maybe, maybe they will introduce an MPB with awesome specs and an optical drive and I will happily throw my money at it…and maybe I’ll get a pony, too…

The trouble is that if it’s not just been released then it’s already a year out of date. And a year is 1/3 of the capital value in depreciation. I’m told. Accounting wise, of course. Reality sometimes differs.

If money was no object (sadly it is an object) I’d probably be looking to get a 13" MBA with all the upgrades at the end of the month. I’d be installing Windows 7 on it as well, of course. It’s just you can’t seem to get high spec’d, lightweight laptops outside of Apple any more.

Sad state of affairs. Not least of all the money bit.

Plus I agree with MM. I need an optical drive. Happy for the drive to be a plug in job, but i need to have one. I like to buy CDs, you see. I might listen to them on my ipod, but I’m strumbled if I’m going to pay silly money to download them from iTunes.

Dinosaurs would also kick the crap out all these modern models running around these days; warm blooded fools obsoleting all of their hard-earned equipment and media libraries every two years. Mr. Triceratops has something to say about making his DVD collection a pain in the butt to watch.

Drumheller 2012_06_24 (017).JPG

I know I’m not the most savvy tech source, but who “really” needs these super computer models? The IT industry is generally 2-3 years behind UNLESS you are in a cutting edge development environment. Google’s search engines are not running on the latest and greatest chipset. The majority of E-Commerce isn’t either. Nor are massive data platforms. Most of the industry is using stuff we would all see as obsolete.

So why do we think we (average user)
• need to be presented with models that are over powered?
• not pushed to power saving technology (by obsoleting power hungry predecessors)
• require anything less the 100% reliability

For those in the development spaces or multi-platform support (running VM) then Ok, it makes sense. You are in the minority though. And companies aren’t in this to be nice. They are here to make money which means catering to the majority of the money. Right?

The right time to buy a new laptop is when you have money to buy what is offered on the market. Until you have the money don’t buy anything because you will not like it in a few weeks when the new models are out and you would have been able to afford them (because you saved more).

But I’m a pessimist…

You seem to be missing the point. I want a new laptop because IT IS SHINY!

Actually I want one because I don’t have one at all. This is Mrs Pigfender’s laptop and she get’s very upset if I start installing random pieces of software on it. Or try to use it somewhere other than the office desk. Or use it when she is in the building. Or…

You might be right.

If you ask my family they will tell you about the “Rules”

It’s never the wrong time to buy a laptop; it’s never the right time to buy a laptop! If it’s the time to buy a laptop for whatever reason, buy the laptop … OK, there’ll be a new one out before long and you’ll wish you waited, but feeling miffed because what you’ve bought is now old technology is a waste of (emotional) energy. If the one you’ve bought does what you need it for, it was the right one, the right time.

A friend of mine went to Hong Kong recently and bought me an iPhone 5 to replace my somewhat aged iPhone 4. Friends seeing it asked me why I hadn’t waited till the autumn as the rumours say there’ll be an iPhone 6 coming out then. No point … iPhone 5 does everything I want and gives me more future proofing in terms of iOS and apps than the pensioned-off iPhone 4 (I’m thinking of giving that/selling it for a pittance to a friend who had hers stolen … which is another grim tale of the way things work in China).

Mr X

I am waiting to see what happens on June 10th ever hopeful on two accounts a mac air with retina display and a ipad mini with retina display, I think quietly so my bank balance cannot hear my thoughts and aspirations the consequences are too great. Pigfender you said windows 7 I totally agree with that I would never be so silly as to install windows 8 again, I was biting at the bit to get it on as soon as it was released and regretted it almost immediately.

The “good” news - for your bank balance at least, is that “Apple experts” currently think that there won’t be any new iOS devices unveiled. They expect that there will be a refreshed iPad in 3Q 2013, and an updated iPad mini a little while after that. If they are right you will have time to spread the burden of payment for your devices.

That’s a great emotional argument. Trouble is that you can say, backed with empirical evidence and with the benefit of hindsight that there is a ‘best’ time to buy in terms of technical specification and price.

Same thing with houses. You can say all you want that the best time to buy or sell a house is when you want to move, but you’d be silly not to factor house prices into your decision on when you want to move.

That is a great emotional argument. Trouble is that you can only say that when looking at times already past to see the reality of market fluctuations and currency adjustments.

Now my head hurts…

There are a lot of very wealthy people in the financial services industry who would disagree with you.

I would suggest there are a lot of poor people (that became that way by following the advice of the very wealthy people) who would agree with me. As a matter of fact, I think you may have supported my argument more than harmed it.

Money is a finite resource. As such never take advice from someone with money on how to get money. Do as they do, not as they advise.

Other people you should be wary of following the advice of (due to their inherent conflict of interest):

  • opticians
  • dentists
  • people who make skincare products

I would add

  • anyone who will “help” you for money.
    Once money changes hands it isn’t “help” it is service and it is in their best interest to only get you halfway there before they send you another bill.