Mac Computers For Sale! (Or, Are They…?)
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Mac Computers for Sale! (Or, Are They…?)

There are some secrets to finding Mac computers for sale.

I've learned a few of these secrets while working at a retail computer chain over the last few months. While it is possible to get pretty deep discounts on Apple computers, it's not as easy as you think, and comes at a small sacrifice.

Here's the Good News and the Bad News.

Bad News First

If you've been having trouble finding really deep discounts on new Apple computers, there's a reason for that.

One reason is reputation.

In order for Apple to maintain its exclusive image, it needs to regulate price. Establishing and securing a higher-than-average pricing is one way to accomplish that.

Another reason is profit.

As expensive as its computers are, most of Apple's profits don't come from selling Mac computers, but from the things you buy that go along with it: apps & software, cables, music, accessories, etc.

Computer sales is not where Apple (or other retailers) makes its bread and butter.

For these and other reasons, Apple won't let retailers sell new computers for much more than about $100 off the retail price.

The Good News

The keyword in that last paragraph is "NEW computers". It's the brand-spanking NEW computers that you won't be able to get at really big discounts.

And this is the secret to the small sacrifice that will allow you to save BIG bucks on buying a Mac computer.

This doesn't necessarily mean you have to buy an old, used, or busted up computer. There are a few types of "non-new" Macs. Here they are in increasing order of non-newness:

A Previous Model

Just because a computer was last-year's model doesn't mean it won't do everything you need it to do.

When Apple announces a new iMac or MacBook line, people suddenly forget about the model just before it.

Retail stores and the Apple Store will still have the previous model in stock, and will now have to get rid of them to make space for the new Mac line that will be in high demand.

These older models will often be in stock for several months, and are all brand new and still in their boxes. Ask your retailer if they have any of the older models left, and you might just get a brand new computer at a few hundred dollars off the price it originally sold at.


What the heck does "refurbished" mean, anyway?

Refurbished really just means the computer has been fixed in one way or another. It's not fresh off the factory production line, so it can't be sold as "new".

For example, maybe when it came off the line it had a bad CPU or a faulty hard drive, so that was replaced so it could be sold again without waste.

Regardless, a refurbished computer has usually been tested and comes with a warranty. And it's a great way to get a fully functional "new" computer at a huge discount.


Sometimes people will return a computer they just bought to the store. Computer retailers often have a 15-day return policy to allow customers to do this.

It may never have been used. Maybe the customer didn't like the color and never even turned it on.

What happens when the computer is returned?

The retailer wants to sell it again. But, they can't call it "new" because somebody else already had their hands on it.

So you get it at a discount.

Ask the computer store if they have anything "open boxed" and see what kind of discount you can get.


Ok, so maybe the customer actually DID use it. Maybe even beyond the return policy. In this case, the computer probably had to be restored or refurbished in some way before the retailer could sell it.

Or, maybe it's not a retailer. Maybe someone is getting a new computer and is selling their old one. Buy from a friend or from a place like Ebay or some classifieds online. This is probably the cheapest way to get a mac.

Careful, though. A Mac that has been in use for a few years will eventually run itself down.

More Information

There's plenty more information about how to find Mac computers for sale online. Some of these cheaper options are even available from apple itself.

If you know of any options not mentioned here, or have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.

Street Talk

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