December 04, 2012, 3:26 PM — Its the holidays and the special Apple fans in your life have their fingers crossed for some new gadgets to unwrap. But youve got a problem: The bank account isnt quite robust enough to pay full price for an iPhone 5 or the latest Mac. What to do?
Luckily, Macworld has you covered with a variety of suggestions for getting Apple gear in a cost-effective fashion, along with the pros and cons of each approach. Most of these ideas probably wont satisfy the early adopter in your family, but to get the very newest gear under your tree, you usually have to pay full price. So, for everybody else, here are a few options:
You can actually buy used Macs and iOS devices directly from Appleand in a condition thats almost as good as new. The refurb category includes both preowned devices and those returned for defects, although Apple says that only some units have been returned for technical issues. Before resale, Apple cleans the machine, replaces any defective or substandard parts, reinstalls software that originally shipped with the unit, tests the Mac for quality-control issues, then repackages it with fresh cables and a users manual. The company even stamps the machine with a new serial number.
Pros: You get Apple-certified quality machines at a reduced price. (Prices are usually at least ten percent off what youd pay for a brand-new device.) You even get the free year of AppleCare that youd get from purchasing a new device.
Cons: Youre not going to get the most recent generation of products. For example, there are currently no iPad minis or fourth-generation iPads listed for sale. And the stock waxes and wanesthe 11-inch MacBook Air on sale today might not be available tomorrow.
Buy from an Apple Specialist
If youre going to buy from used or independent shops, your best bet is to seek out a certified Apple Specialist. These are dealers and service providers certified by Apple for their expertise and quality. (You can find your nearest Apple Specialist at this site.)