How long will an iMac last / receive update?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by WiiDSmoker, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. WiiDSmoker macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2009
    Hermitage, TN
    I still cannot decide what to do, either build a new PC or buy an iMac. I love the look and feel of the iMac, but that thing that makes me uneasy is that if anything goes wrong with my PC I can diagnosis it myself and swap out a part; be it graphic card, HDD, RAM, or even the motherboard of PSU.

    With an iMac, pretty much I can only do the RAM...the HDD [sort of].

    So here's my question, how long does Apple support their computers? I'm worried that it will only be supported a very small time frame. I know that iMacs are different than iPhones, iPads...which have limited time frame suport [2-3 years], so spending $2000 on a computer concerns me.
  2. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    You need not worry...Apple supports it's machines for a very long time, and there is plenty of help on getting REALLY old ones to run the latest software...Just browse the forums here.

    Macs are built with longevity in mind.
  3. 50voltphantom macrumors regular


    Jun 23, 2011
    Just depends, I believe iMac's as far back as 2007 will still be supported by Mountain Lion. 5+ years of OS updates isn't too shabby IMO.
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    You can always find support if you're prepared to pay enough.
  5. Seamaster macrumors 65816


    Feb 24, 2003
    My 2006 iMac was only cut loose by Lion last year. Five years is pretty typical.
  6. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    I used to build my own PC's and it was nice being able to diagnose and repair them myself, and I found I was doing that more often than I wanted.

    Macs were a different story, in my 7+ years of being exclusively on Macs I have needed service only one time and it was covered by Apple. Even my over 4 year old iMac is still supported by Apple.

    I have found from experience that $2,000 spent on an iMac and another $159 for Apple Care makes for one heck of a value.

    Even if you are one of those people who has to upgrade every couple of years.

    Spend $2000 for the iMac, $159 for the Apple Care and two years later you can sell it to someone else with a FULL YEAR of Apple Warranty left.

    I know someone who does that every 20 months or so. When he sells the old one it still has 15 - 16 months of Apple Care left and he tells the buyer.
    Try selling a 2 year old PC for more that half of what it cost new.

    Bottom Line: I have found that, even though the initial purchase price of an Apple may be higher, the actual TCO ( Total Cost Of Ownership ) is less.
  7. interrobang macrumors 6502

    May 25, 2011
    Hardware parts availability from Apple is always 5 years, except in California, where by law it is 7 years. That only applies to repairs done by Apple or its authorized shops; Apple does not sell parts directly to customers.

    RAM is standard and user upgradable; you should be able to upgrade that essentially forever. Hard disks are also standard; they are not user upgradable, but you can always do that at your own risk.

    Proprietary parts like logic boards are often available used from iFixIt or similar outfits; they may be expensive and again you replace them at your own risk.

    More importantly, software support has no defined time period. Historically, if you look at the time between when a Mac was discontinued and when it can no longer run a still-updated os, the time period has been about 6 years (varying from as little as 4 to as much as 8.) It seems that this time period has been getting shorter lately, but it's too soon to tell.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "So here's my question, how long does Apple support their computers? I'm worried that it will only be supported a very small time frame. I know that iMacs are different than iPhones, iPads...which have limited time frame suport [2-3 years], so spending $2000 on a computer concerns me."

    You're going to get some "fanboy" replies to your question, and some more realistic ones. My reply (as a Mac user since 1987) tends toward the "realistic" side of things.

    I've only had one iMac so far. It's a 2007 "white" Intel model, the last of the "white iMacs". I've used it modestly over the last 5 years, my "workhorse" is a 2004 g4 PowerMac tower that is still running (typing on that now).

    No problems to speak of with the iMac in the years I've owned it, but to give you an example insofar as "support" goes, it will not run the upcoming "Mountain Lion" software release (OS X 10.8). I'm guessing there will be hacks to get it to run, but haven't seen one that's easily workable, yet (I expect that to improve as more is learned about ML).

    Based on my experience and reports of others, about 5 years is "what you can expect" from an iMac, give or take. It's quite possible you might get a few more years out of it, and then again, you may experience a hardware failure in less time. One point of contention (particularly with the 27" iMacs) has been discoloration of the display, particularly in the corners, which seems to be "heat-related" due to the screen's proximity to heat-producing components directly behind it. This is a design constraint/limitation, not sure how Apple will address this in the future.

    I've you're unsure about the longevity of the iMac, you might consider the Mac Mini line, particularly the midrange Mini or even the "server" model. The Minis (at least what I've heard) seem to have a pretty good service record. I will _guess_ that the next release of the Mini (which may come in summer/late summer/fall) will be a nice "jump upwards", with the Ivy Bridge CPU, better graphics, and USB3 (which will debut on all Macs this year). When it comes time to replace this old g4 (soon), I'm going to get a Mini to operate in its place; right now, the only question is which Mini that will be.

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