Time to get a new Mac?

If you’ve been thinking about replacing that aging Mac, Apple and third-party retailers are engaging in some quite hefty (for Apple) discounting right now. Apple Insider has the story at:

appleinsider.com/articles/13/02/ … na-display

The least expensive MacBook Air, for instance, is $900 at B&H.

If you’re interested in a refurb Mac (no fancy packaging), there are also some good deals to be had:


I managed to replace my six-year-old iMac with a new-model, mid-range, refurb Mac min that was $120 off retail. Those go quickly when they appear, so if you have the same requirement, you’ll need to act quickly.

Media hysterics seem to think this sales glitch signifies The End of Apple As We Know It. More likely, it has two causes:

  1. Belt-tighening in a dismal economy. Why get a new Mac when the old one works fine?

  2. People preferring a tablet like an iPad to a laptop.

The second isn’t particularly bad for Apple, since quite a few people will be replacing a Windows computer with an iPad. I’m an example of both. I remain happy with my six-year-old MacBook while waiting for Scrivener for the iPad to come out and let me write on my iPad.

–Michael W. Perry, Tolkien Warriors—The House of the Wolfings: A Book that Influenced The Lord of the Rings (coming out next week)

I have a friend who is a Mac hardware specialist, and he says the new iMacs are a bad buy.
No optical drive, costly Fusion drive option, and general flimsiness are his reasons.
A better buy would be a Mac mini coupled with a Dell monitor.
Or look for a refurbished earlier model iMac, if you can find one.

Bizarre …
“flimsiness” I can understand if it’s true, but since I guess the vast majority of iMacs just sit on the desk once they’re installed and hardly move again, I think it shouldn’t be that much of a problem;
“no optical drive” … I have used an optical drive once in the last two to three years, I think, and an external drive is good enough for that;
“costly fusion drive” … you don’t have to have one of those, they’re optional.

Seems to me he’s putting his pitch out to get people to buy the refurbished ones he’s selling, rather than going down the road to the Apple store to buy new. It makes sense to buy refurbished as finance tends to be short these days. His worry should be down the line, when those new iMacs are becoming the ones he’s trying to sell on. I have to say, my problem with the iMac is that the ports are all round the back … PITA when you have to connect a thumb-drive or other external on a temporary basis.


Not to be picky, Mark, but you didn’t read my comment very closely.
The friend works in hardware repair for a corporation; he does not sell machines.
And while you may not use an optical drive, others do. I make CD and DVD copies frequently.
And I did say that the Fusion drive is an option.

The flimsiness, and missing drive, come from making iMacs super thin.
So that appearance drives Apple design more than function.
Your comment on the position of USB ports is a case in point.
The Apple Pro keyboard has a numeric keypad and USB ports. Missing from later models.

I’ve been a Mac user and promoter since the '80s, but I don’t think the company is infallible.
And many of its latest offerings seem to me not very innovative and way too costly.
I keep hoping that Tim Cook will build sales by cutting margins and integrating design.
That certainly has occurred to Google with its Nexus, Android, and Chrome convergence.

I have to say I do like the Mac Mini, as a small and reasonably priced desktop. I have a 2011 model, with memory hefted up to 16 Gb (in a very, very easy procedure and at a cost of less than £100). It sits on its side on a shelf, a tenth of the size of my wife’s PC, it runs quietly, and so far it seems to be able to handle all I ask it to (but I don’t edit videos).

For someone like me who still has screens, keyboards and mice lying around from PC days, it seems a suitable way to get into Mac-ery.

To enable easy plugging-in and removal of peripherals, I have a few stub cables with appropriate interfaces running out of its ports to places where I can easily reach them.

Guess everyone has their own feelings on these things - the Fusion drive is, as your friend says, an option, so that’s not really an argument against the iMac.

See that your friend refers to the lack of the optical drive on the iMac and suggests the Mac mini would be better. Though that also doesn’t have an optical drive.

So the only //substantive// objection to the iMac is his subjective view that the new models are flimsy. Not exactly a cogent argument, but always good to read different opinions.

I love the all in one simplicity of the iMac: can pick it up and move it to another room if necessary and you don’t get the cabling of a Mac mini and screen combo.

But, for me, the perfect blend is a MacBook (Air or Pro) and a Thunderbolt display or 30" ACD: easy to use on the go, but a great big screen when you’re at your main desk.

Personally, in my experience, Apple computers have been the cheapest computers I have ever owned. A higher purchase price, but they pay for themselves in speed, reliability and up-time.

Every Windows machine I have bought (even the expensive ones) has been costly to maintain and use. Countless hours of my life lost to buggy MS software.

I don’t know if they still make good monitors, but I would also suggest an HP one. My LP2475w (a wide-gamut screen based on an LG panel) is fabulous, and I prefer it to the Dells at the office. (Well, mine is wide-gamut and calibrated, while the ones at the office are sRGB and non-calibrated, so it is an uneven match…)


Aren’t the new iMacs made of a single slab of aluminium? So, I doubt flimsiness can be allowed by the laws of physics.


I’m really not the only person responding this way to the new iMacs
Major complaints are: no optical drive, and fixed RAM in the 21", so no expansion of it.
Others say the 21" is too light and can skate around on a desktop.
Especially if ur pooch (or Fluff) tries to hump it. :laughing:

Aluminium is a ridiculously light and flimsy material. That’s why they make drink cans and tin foil out of it.

Lack of an optical drive and the inclusion of the fusion drive I think are compelling reasons to buy an iMac. First time I’ve ever heard an iMac called flimsy. I’ll check with some of my friends and colleagues in the know, but it doesn’t match any of the descriptions or reviews I’ve read (see here for an example summary). My only concerns would be the lack of upgradable memory on the 21" model (because Apple charge way too much for memory) and the average audio.

My previous iMac is now 11 years old and still going - albeit only with occasional use. I still love it. :slight_smile:

What is this alchemy!

It’s a British thing. :smiley:
We get most other things right.