Help a new switcher!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by OldCorpse, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. OldCorpse macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2005
    compost heap
    Hello everybody,

    I looked around and it seems the forums here are the most active, fun, helpful and generally awesome compared to any other machead sites... so I registered. Hmmm, did I butter up everyone but good?! K, then

    So, I'm about to buy my very first mac, and I'm both excited and nervous. Funds are tight, so I don't want to make a huge mistake. I'm trying to prepare as best I can.

    I intend to buy it through Amazon, as it is a tax favorable solution for me, plus they offer a $100 rebate. The thing about Amazon though, you can only buy a stock ibook (so you can't BTO - buy to order - so no upgrades to HDD or memory etc.). That's not awful, as I think that for my needs the stock 12" iBook is just fine (my needs: lot of word-processing with several programs, light music and photo editing, copying CDs, surfing, email). Plus, if you have a stock ibook, you can return it for a full refund for any reason within I think 14 (?) days... might come in handy if I find a stuck pixel (Apple will not accept them back if they have less than something like 5-6 bad pixels!), or some other defect right out of the box (don't want to hassle with warranty). However, I have many questions.

    1)Experiences with buying ibooks from Amazon, good/bad? How are they about honoring their rebates?

    2)I read somewhere that if you as much open the box, even if you send it right back, you are still liable for a 10% stocking fee. They'll only give a 100% refund if you return the ibook in an unopened box... that defeats my purpose of just checking out the unit for bad pixels etc, and I wouldn't want to pay a restocking fee.

    3)THE BIG ONE - what should I check for in the new ibook? I intend to check for:
    a) bad pixels (there's software for that)
    b) uneven screen illumination, and bleeding in corner
    c) uneven keys on keyboard (especially the spacebar sticking up on one side)
    d) wobbly case (i.e. not perfectly flat), bulging, distortion of case anywhere near battery etc.
    e) loud fan
    f) bad battery (won't calibrate)

    I realize that many things can go wrong down the line which there is no way of checking right out of the box (f.ex. letters wearing off the keyboard), but I'd like to check for stuff that I can definitely do immediately, so that I can send it back unless it is a trivial issue. What else are the latest July 26 2005 revision 12" iBooks known for as problem areas?

    I intend to buy and put in myself a stick of 1GB RAM memory, get a totebag, sleeve, maybe iCurve, external firewire hard drive for backups, maybe down the road an external dvd burner.

    I already bought the latest David Pogue "Switching to the Mac" book.

    Sorry for the length, and thanks in advance!

    quietly rotting
  2. yoak macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
    Welcome to the forum, you´re right it´s a very helpfull crowd here.
    They helped me through my first Mac purchase in over 6 years last year.

    It seems to me that you have it well covered with whats on your list.
    I bought the 12" a year ago and it was in perfect condition and has been since. I´m very happy with the machine.

    The only thing I would take into consideration is if you need the ibook now or can wait until the 10th (I think) of January when Apple MIGHT release a new ibook with Intel chip.

    When I bought mine last year I had no clue about update sycles before I came here.
    After beeing adviced to hold on for 2 weeks (that turned into 4, but hey, it´s a rumor site) a upgraded ibook came out with Airport and bluethooth as standard + a price drop. This was something I intended to add so by waiting I got a faster ibook and saved $250 on top of that.

    Good luck with your purchase
  3. GorillaPaws macrumors 6502a


    Oct 26, 2003
    Richmond, VA
    Welcome to Macrumors! Judging by your needs I think the ibook sounds like the perfect candidate for your budget/needs, but I must reiterate what Yoak said. I'm not sure if you're aware of the likely updates to the ibook line, but rumors have been circulating for about a month now. I'm not trying to disuade your purchase or anything, just making sure you have all the available info (and speculation).

    January plays host to Macworld San Francisco, an event where Steve Jobs (Apple's CEO) unveils the latest and greatest upcoming Apple stuff. Anyways, back in June (or maybe it was July), Jobs announced that Macs will be switching their chip architecture from a Power PC based chip (the ones in the current iBooks) to an Intel based x86 one (used in current Windows computers). As it seems you've already been perusing several of the Mac-based online forums, you probably already know this, but I'm just letting you know just in case :) .

    There are rumors that we will see new iBooks with intel chips announced in January (of course that doesn't mean they'll be available immediatly). So you may want to hold off your purchase until after the event. Here's a few things you may want to consider if the rumors are true:

    - For your needs a current iBook would be fine, however, depending on how long you are planning on using your laptop, updates to PPC software may begin to taper off over the next few years, so having an Intel-based Mac may be better if you're the type of person that always wants to have the latest available software several years from now.

    -The Intel-based Macs may have the ability at some point to run Windows applications, and the ability to dual-boot seems very likely.

    -The Intel chips use less power so an Intel-based iBook would likely have a longer battery life.

    -But also, the first versions of hardware (we refer to these as Rev. A) tend to have more problems than later ones.

    -Most of the current available software is only for the PPC, although it will run on the Rosetta emulation software, so many programs may be slower at first until software is updated for Intel chips.

    -And finally, even if iBooks are announced at Macworld in January, they most likely won't start shipping right away so it's conceivable that they won't even be available until March.

    Personally, I think the current iBooks are great, they've been tweaked many times over the past several years, and are terrific machines for the price. You may have already considered all of this stuff before, so sorry if that's the case, but seeing as you're a switcher and are new to the world of Apple, I just wanted to give you a heads up.

    As far as your questions about Amazon, I unfortunatly cannot help you there (I've always gone through Apple directly). I will mention that I don't think you should have any problems with dead pixels, but especially with warped frames, problems w/ the keyboard and other cosmetic issues. That said, you should probably budget for/invest in an Applecare extended Warranty, as laptops are far more likely to have issues due to their portable nature. Anyways, sorry for the long post, and good luck with your decision.
  4. GWS macrumors member

    Sep 7, 2004
    Atlanta area

    I bought an iMac from Amazon back in August. They had a $150 rebate on it at the time. I don't remember exactly, but I believe I received the rebate check within 4 to 6 weeks. I'm considering an iBook or Powerbook purchase, and will most likely buy from Amazon unless I want to upgrade the hard drive, in which case I'll have to order from Apple.

    There are some definite price advantages to buying from Amazon. For my iMac purchase:

    • $150 rebate
    • No sales tax (saved about $100)
    • Saved $30 with new Amazon credit card promo
    • Free shipping (watch for it, not always available on computers)
    • Earned ~$50 Amazon reward certificate with Amazon credit card

    Don't know if you need/want a new credit card, but we buy a lot on Amazon, so it works out well for us. Every purchase earns points towards Amazon reward certificates. Sure, you have to use them on Amazon, but as I said, we buy a lot there! I also got 0% financing for 6 months... just make sure to pay it off within 6 months or you'll get hit with a finance charge.

    Also, sign up for Amazon's search engine and use it for a few days. You'll earn something like 1.9% off on purchases by doing so. I hadn't done it yet before my iMac purchase, but I've since signed up and have received the additional discount on my purchases.

    All in all, unless you want to custom configure your system, Amazon is a great way to go.

    Oh, and I agree, probably best to wait until January just to see what's announced. I've been shopping for a laptop, and have pretty much made up my mind to just wait. I *want* one, I don't *need* one, so might as well wait.

    Hope this helps.
  5. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2005
    compost heap

    Thank you for the warm welcome and advice.

    I was aware of the intel switch and possible Jan new iBook release, but decided to go ahead with the current-soon-to-be-obsolete iBook. The reasons were pretty much covered in another thread about who'll buy the rev A. of the new Mactels. Most importantly, the current iBook is fine for my needs (ok, superdrive option would've been a great bonus). Other than that, I'm nervous about buying a rev A machine with such a major architecture change, seems to me bound to have a few glitches. Meanwhile the current iBook has been, as you say, "tweaked" and most bugs were worked out, plus we also know what bugs remain, and what to look for... and we have no such experience with the coming Mactels. I'm not worried about the software - I figure developers will support PPC software for at least 3-4 years, first because many new PPC machines will be sold through until at least 2007 and Apple needs to keep addressing their needs, but second, the installed base of PPC macs will be much, much, much larger than the new Mactel base for many, many years yet... heck, there are still people who haven't even gone to OSX! So any developer who wants to make money or be relevant, will have to keep working on PPC versions of their stuff as that's where 90% of the macs will be for many years yet. So, since I plan on getting Apple Care, that'll cover me until almost 2009, at which point I figure my iBook will be all worn out, and the Mactels will have all their bugs ironed out, and I can buy a new one. Of course, it can happen that January will see new iBooks with blu ray superdrive, 8 hour battery life, 3 x faster, backlit keyboard etc., and all for $800. In which case I'll cry and curse my stupidity and kill myself... except, wait, I'm already dead.

    Anyhow, I find all your answers very helpful, keep 'em coming, especially about what defects I should look for in a new iBook, so I don't get stuck with a bum one right out of the box! Thanx!
  6. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    Another thing to consider; if iBooks get updated at MWSF in Jan. then the current iBooks could go on clearence at other retailers (CompUSA, etc.).
  7. pagartimun macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2005
    Congrats on the switching decision, a new switch myself---

    Lighter and happier...:cool:
  8. themacmaestro macrumors member

    Dec 8, 2005
    skip the ibook, go to Apple and get a refurb 12" Powerbook for a couple hundred more and smile the whole time you use it!

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