New Low End MacBook now or wait for Leopard/Hardware Rev?

  • Posted: 17 August 2007 08:54 PM

    Ok, this is not a computer for me, and I’ll also add that if it were up to me I would have this person get the computer they want right now and just upgrade when 10.5 comes out, they might even fall into a free/cheap upgrade window anyway.

    So its for my little sister, her 4 year old iBook G4’s display crapped out and she insists she must have a laptop. Money is a bit tight and her needs are light, so I recommended a new low end MacBook, maybe add some ram and up the HD as neccessary over time, loan her my “extra” external DVD-R, as an alternative to the 2 and 3 year old refurb laptops my mom kept suggesting. Now my mom is insisting she wait until October. I would agree that it might save a couple bucks on the upgrade, but it seems unlikely to me that there will actually be a hardware revision between now and then on this model, so the end result is my sister at college for 2 months without the laptop she says she needs to do work.

    Just wondering opinions on that here, is there credible news of an upgrade to lower-end MacBooks in the very near future? I’m of the opinion that an incremental upgrade in hardware might be worth waiting for but software maybe not, just want to see what others think.

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    Posted: 17 August 2007 10:12 PM #1

    IMHO, no new MacBooks are anywhere in sight.  My guess, they’ll carry on as is at least until the Penryn mobile processors come out, at which point MacBooks’ll probably belatedly adopt Santa Rosa with processor speeds similar to the current iMac line.  It’d be a pleasant surprise if this change also meant upgrading to Intel’s latest integrated graphics…but who knows.  The MacBook is only 3 months “old,” and Apple never seems to rev products any sooner than every 6 months.  Given the situation I’d have to recommend getting the MacBook now.  Oddly, Mike Wendland of the Detroit Free Press mentioned a Tiger-to-Leopard upgrade price when reviewing the newest iMac, but I have no idea where he got that from…the Up-to-Date program’s been dead ever since OS X launched.  My rusty 2 cents says it’s wishful thinking on his part. 

    At least your sister will have the benefit of Apple’s education pricing…double bonus if there’s any older MacBooks still in stock to which an education discount might apply.  As for upgrading, I believe OS X education pricing can be significantly cheaper than retail.

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  • Posted: 17 August 2007 10:39 PM #2

    What Mav said. The MacBooks are selling very well. Why would Apple upgrade them just yet?

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  • Posted: 17 August 2007 10:43 PM #3

    [quote author=“coaten”]What Mav said. The MacBooks are selling very well. Why would Apple upgrade them just yet?

    Fully agree with both of you, I’m using this thread to help me generate arguments on my sister’s behalf to convince my mom waiting is just a waste of time wink

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    Posted: 17 August 2007 11:33 PM #4

    [quote author=“Mav”]the situation I’d have to recommend getting the MacBook now.  Oddly, Mike Wendland of the Detroit Free Press mentioned a Tiger-to-Leopard upgrade price when reviewing the newest iMac, but I have no idea where he got that from…the Up-to-Date program’s been dead ever since OS X launched.  My rusty 2 cents says it’s wishful thinking on his part.

    I was thinking about buying an iMac a few weeks before the Tiger release, right after the iMac line had gotten a refresh (faster processor and better graphics I think). The store (Fnac) was desperately trying to get rid of the remaining previous generation stock. I was told that if I purchased any new Mac, I could Download Tiger from Apple’s website for 17? once it was released. There may be something similar with Leopard.

         
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    Posted: 17 August 2007 11:49 PM #5

    macinnerd:  Really?  Did you spring for the old stock and upgrade from the website?  Must’ve been some kind of extra-special deal…I’ve never heard of any kind of upgrade pricing for OS X. 

    DaiMac:  Well, waiting isn’t a waste of time when you can afford to, but if you gotta have a new computer, well, you just gotta.  For me, it’s easier to recommend getting “fresh” hardware and upgrading the OS later if needed since Leopard is a “known quantity” with a fixed price (I made just such a recommendation to a potential Switcher who was looking at a MBP).  The value equation’s different when imminent hardware upgrades are involved.  For example, IMHO, there’s been considerably more value added to even the new $1499 midrange 20” iMacs, which greatly outweighs any decreases in value from the LCD/glossy panel changes.

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  • Posted: 18 August 2007 12:09 AM #6

    [quote author=“Mav”]macinnerd:  Really?  Did you spring for the old stock and upgrade from the website?  Must’ve been some kind of extra-special deal…I’ve never heard of any kind of upgrade pricing for OS X. 

    Although Apple has never sold an upgrade version per se, they have on a couple occasions initiated a program to allow people to get a copy for just the price of shipping and handling, if they bought a new Mac a couple months before the new system came out.

         
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    Posted: 18 August 2007 03:02 AM #7

    [quote author=“Mav”]macinnerd:  Really?  Did you spring for the old stock and upgrade from the website?  Must’ve been some kind of extra-special deal…I’ve never heard of any kind of upgrade pricing for OS X.

    No… I waited around seven months and got myself one of the last PowerBooks, with the hi-res displays.

    The offer could’ve been limited to France or Europe or something like that.

         
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    Posted: 18 August 2007 05:38 AM #8

    [quote author=“Mav”]At least your sister will have the benefit of Apple’s education pricing…double bonus if there’s any older MacBooks still in stock to which an education discount might apply.  As for upgrading, I believe OS X education pricing can be significantly cheaper than retail.

    Yes, last time I bought a boxed copy of OS X, it was while I was at college (it was 10.3) and the price was about half-off the retail price.  I also used the edu discount to my advantage for two of the Macs I purchased, the G4 Cube and the 12in PowerBook.  If your sister goes to a college like mine, there might even be a campus computer store that can place the order for her and have the computer shipped to the campus store.  This eliminates having to prove to Apple that you qualify for the edu discount (though I’m not sure how closely Apple checks), since the campus store will do the check for them.

    But I concur, I doubt there is any chance of new MacBooks in the next few months.

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  • Posted: 18 August 2007 07:44 AM #9

    Apple doesn’t really have a history of upgrading hardware to coincide with new OS releases. I see no reason to think they will this time.

    With Tiger (and I think Panther as well), they offered coupons for a free upgrade with new hardware up to a month before the new version came out. I assume they’ll do something similar this time, so as far as avoiding the upgrade cost, you might not need to wait all the way until October. Of course, avoiding the hassle of upgrading is another matter.

    Personally, I don’t think it makes sense to wait. If it were just a matter of her current machine feeling a bit sluggish but still getting the job done, then I’d say wait. But with a broken computer, waiting seems silly. She’ll just be disappointed when new hardware is not released in October, then annoyed when new hardware is released 2-3 months later.

    My final advice: don’t consider new hardware. Just consider the cost of the OS update. If that’s not enough for you to justify waiting, don’t.