’Tis the season for shopping. I would like to offer a shopping option that you may not have considered. It will save you lots of money yet provide you with an excellent product.
I am a huge fan of Apple’s refurbished products. I have bought them for years and they are always my top recommended Apple products. Why, you ask? I will tell you in this blog.
Often the question is “what are these refurbished products - where do they come from?” There are many sources, these are some of them:
- Dealer inventory return (did not sell or was replaced by a newer model by Apple).
- Apple inventory overstock - when Apple releases a new model, they cannot sell the older models as new.
- Warranty exchange - if a Mac breaks in the warranty period, often Apple will just give the customer a new one and then repair the defective one using the refurb process
- Customer return - A customer can return a product within 14 days, no questions asked. These units cannot be sold as new.
- Customer financing issue - if a customer finances their new product with Apple and fails to pay, Apple can repossess that product and these products cannot be sold as new.
I am sure there are other sources, but you get the idea.
So, what are the upsides? Here are the major ones:
- 15 - 22% discount off of the retail price!
- Full factory warranty, same as a new unit
- Optional AppleCare extended warranty, same as a new unit
- Apple has tested the unit twice (once new and once during refurbishment). The latter process is done by hand by and Apple technician.
My experience is that refurbished Macs have fewer problems than new ones. In fact, the only Apple warranty claims I have had over the years are with new units. I have never had a refurbished unit fail. Others have similar experiences.
The refurbish process is a rigorous one and one that Apple is happy to detail for us. From their web page describing the process (click here for the page):
"Each Apple Certified Refurbished Product:
- is fully tested (including full burn-in testing).
- is refurbished with replacement parts for any defective modules identified in testing.
- is put through a thorough cleaning process and inspection.
- is repackaged (including appropriate manuals, cables, new boxes, etc.).
- includes either the Mac OS originally shipped with the unit or, in some cases, a more recent version*.
- is given a new refurbished part number and serial number.
- is placed into a Final QA inspection prior to being added to sellable refurbished stock."
There is one downside to Apple’s refurbished products - they sell like hotcakes! If you go to the refurbished sales site often you will see that the inventory there comes and goes frequently. Apple suggests that if you see a product you like, buy it then because it may be gone in an hour. That is good advice.
You can check their refurb inventory often (click here for the link)
Or, you can use on a free service to check for you and show you a list of products that have been offered on the refurb store recently. You can even set up alerts - this website will email or text you when the unit you are wanting comes back in stock. They notify you within 10 minutes of when the inventory shows up on Apple’s refurb site. Click here to access the refurb.me website.
Also, note that some refurbished products are a year or two old and some are current models. For Macs, I recommend late 2013 models or newer only as Apple applied some major internal upgrades then.
Finally, just to be clear, Apple offers more than just Macs from the refurb store, including:
- Airport systems (Apple’s excellent home wifi systems)
- Apple TVs
So, if you have some Apple shopping to do, check out the refurb store here: http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac