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Buying an iMac

written by: Nicholas•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 1/17/2010

Considering buying an Apple iMac? For the most part, they are great computers. However, there are some things that you should consider before buying. Check out these tips and pointers on buying an iMac.

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    Looking for some advice on buying a new iMac? There are a couple of things that you can do to make sure that you are getting the best deal possible. Here are some tips to help you get the iMac that you want, and save money on your purchase.

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    When to Buy

    updated imac 

    Apple updates their computers with new specs quite often. A typical Apple update will give you a slightly faster processor, more hard drive capacity, and sometimes more RAM. The worst thing to do, when buying a computer, is purchase a computer right before an update is released. You don't want to get a new iMac and find out a week later that a better one has just come out. Once in a while, Apple will even lower prices on computers during the updates.

    There is no specific "right time" to buy. Apple updates their computers randomly, and they update different models at different times. For example, Apple may have a keynote where they give all MacBooks and MacBook Pros updates... but no other computers. The next update that they have may be for the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro. And the one after that, they will update the iMacs.

    Although there is no specific time, you can estimate good times to buy and bad times to buy. Check to see when Apple last updated their iMacs. If it was within 4 months of the current date, it is a good time to buy. Chances are, Apple will not release another iMac update for a while. If you find out that the last iMac updates were 10 months ago, it is probably a bad time to buy. More than likely, Apple will be giving their iMac lineup an update soon.

    You can also estimate good times to buy by keeping up-to-date the tech industry. If a new standard is released, Apple will pick up on it and update their computers to keep up with competitors.

    Working example: USB 3.0 is officially released. Dell and HP immediately revamp all of their computers with USB 3.0 ports and get rid of the older USB 2.0 ports. Apple will update their computers as well, in order to keep up with the industry. If you hear that USB 3.0 is going to be released next week, don't go out and buy an iMac.

    You can find some great examples of Apple updates here and here.

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    Where to Buy

    bad authorized retailer 

    The second piece of advice on buying a new iMac is where to buy. Apple Stores are always your best bet. If you do not live in a city with an Apple Store, Apple's online store should be the second choice for buying. Buying directly from Apple can prevent many future problems that you may or may not have with your iMac. Why?

    Just because a store sells Apple computers, does not mean that they will honor the same warranty as Apple. Many local stores and even some online stores, make the claim "Apple authorized retailer." That slogan means squat. An Apple authorized retailer is just a distributor who buys computers directly from Apple. However, Apple authorized retailers make their own set of rules when it comes to honoring warranties, accepting returns, doing repairs, etc...

    I'm not saying that Apple authorized retailers are bad. Just make sure that you are buying from a trustworthy store and make sure that you ask them about their policies before buying from them.

    Keep the following into consideration: on occasion, Apple support will not help you if you did not purchase a computer directly from an official Apple store, or their online store.

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    imac price 

    If you are a student, or employee of any type of company that uses computers, you can get a discount. Take advantage of it. For students, visit the official Apple education store here. Enter the information for your school and see how much you can save. For employees, you will probably need to check with your company first... but, many times you can get some kind of a discount.

    Hopefully, this advice on buying a new iMac will help you to make an informed decision on purchasing your next computer.