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So my niece wants a Mac for Christmas...

She's starting college in the fall but her parents want to give her a Mac now and plan on it lasting through her graduation in 2017.

So, DL friends...

1) Should they wait until autumn before buying? Do you think prices will drop?

2) If not, what should they buy now and why?

I was thinking that she should wait until they know what school she'll be attending and if they have any requirements/deals...

I'd appreciate your thoughts.

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 2111/29/2012

Wait until Autumn? It IS Autumn!

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 111/29/2012

My niece got a really good deal on a Mac through her university when she started last fall.

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 211/29/2012

Schools give education discounts. About 5%. Is she already enrolled? If not, wait.

Mac prices don't typically drop.

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 311/29/2012

I'd wait. Who the hell keeps a computer 5 years?

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 411/29/2012

If it were my money, I'd wait too.

Find out what her school requires and then get the school discount.

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 511/29/2012

If they feel generous, have them get her an iPad. I love mine, and it does much of the computer work until you have to start writing papers and the like.

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 611/29/2012

really r4? What's the average lifespan of your computers?

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 711/29/2012

There's no point in buying technology almost 10 months out from the time you plan to utilise it.

If they really want it to last throughout her university years they should wait until nearer the time she starts, mostly because Apple will likely release newer more powerful models by then that will still be relevant, in terms of specs, at least 3 years later.

I think 3 years is the average life span of a portable computer, longer depending on the user.

Doesn't make sense that they would give her something for university as a Christmas present in high school, any more than it makes any sense as to why they're asking you - something of a know-nothing on this subject - for advice, I guess.

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 811/29/2012

R7, I doubt I've ever kept a computer more than 3 years. By that time, they are far slower and with fewer features than whatever is out there.

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 911/29/2012

First Mac, a PowerMac 6100, 7.5 years.

Second Mac, an iMac G4, 8 years.

I've had good luck with long-lasting Macs.

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 1011/29/2012

College student and Mac fan here. OP, Mac prices are similar to iPads and iPhones in that they don't often change much, if at all; older models are merely replaced with newer ones at the same price points. The least-expensive MacBook has been $999 for quite some time now, though for the past two years it's been the 11" MacBook Air instead of a regular MacBook. New Mac models are typically introduced in the summer, although Apple made an exception this fall with the introduction of the 13" MacBook Pro Retina. That's what I use now, though I'd say most of my classmates have a 13" MacBook Air that is perfectly suitable and several hundred dollars cheaper. The only downside to an Air is its lack of a large hard drive, but that shouldn't be a problem for a teenage girl unless she has a large cache of porn. Teenage boys are another story, however. :-)

I would, however, recommend upgrading from the standard 4GB of RAM on the base-model 13" Air to 8GB; that'll help most when it comes to continuing its usability throughout her college years. And yes, it should easily last that long; I still have a 2008 iMac at home (with the parents) and it runs fine, though obviously not as smoothly and quickly as my new MacBook.

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 1111/29/2012

R10, those are not portable devices.

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 1211/29/2012

Just adding to the conversation, R12.

Carry on.

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 1311/29/2012

Well, the point is, you're not adding anything to this conversation but...good luck to you.

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 1411/29/2012

Dry up and buh-low away, R14.

Holiday greetings, hon!

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 1511/29/2012

Excuse me, r14? I asked the question about lifespan of computers. Note that I did not specifically ask about portable devices. You offered that. The OP did not ask about portable devices. You are the only one yammering on about portable devices. So kindly shut the fuck up.

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 1611/29/2012

R7, seriously: NO ONE under 30 buys a desktop computer for themselves these days. Obviously the OP is referring to MacBooks.

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 1711/29/2012

Slightly OT, but r11 it's been more than a decade since I've been in college and I don't know any college students so I have a question - do students still use paper notebooks in their classes or do they all have laptops/ipads to take notes with now? Conversely, do students still buy books or is every textbook downloaded now? Just curious.

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 1811/29/2012

Thanks, r11.

Just the answer I need.

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 1911/29/2012

Buy her what she wants, Macs have good resale value compared to other computers and she can always upgrade to another model and sell her old one.

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 2011/29/2012

R18, it depends on the class (computers don't help if you need to scribble down calculus equations, for instance), but you'd be surprised how many people still stick with pen-and-paper. Also, an increasingly large number of professors ban laptops from lecture halls altogether, at their discretion, because so many kids use them mainly for Facebook-use purposes instead of paying attention in class. And it really is a problem: I sat in the last row of one large class last semester, and at any given time at LEAST 50% of the kids with laptops had Facebook or Gchat up.

As for textbooks, I have yet to have ANY class with an electronic textbook. There's too much invested with print books, literally and figuratively, to go there just yet. (This semester not one of my primary textbooks for a class could be had for under $100, new *or* used, and I remain convinced that professors somehow get "kickbacks" for selecting a particular textbook; in many cases they're listed as one of the authors!) Furthermore, you can't just go to Amazon and buy them all; Amazon doesn't carry a lot of them, for starters, and you can also often find books elsewhere for much less, particularly if you're just renting them for the semester. OTOH Amazon lets students use its Prime program for half-price, which is nice. :-)

Oh, also: OP, Apple offers educational discounts, but not huge ones. Bought either online or off, you can get any MacBook for $100 off the list price. This will be a hindrance for you if you're buying a computer now, before you know where you niece will be attending college; Apple doesn't check student IDs but they do ask, online and off, where you go to school. Finally, you should not buy ANY software for her, since she will be able to get it all at her university bookstore for pennies on the dollar. I paid $15, no joke, for the current Microsoft Office for Mac (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook). You can also get discounts on nearly every other software out there as well, albeit not at a 90% discount like Office.

by Windows guy lost in the Mac worldreply 2111/29/2012
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