Which Mac for my mid-60's mom?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by motulist, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. motulist macrumors 601

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #1
    My Mom has always hated the computers my dad bought for her, and as a result she never uses them. I've told her for years that she should get a Mac, and she finally decided to consider it. I brought over my powerbook to give her a preview of what the Mac is about, and she really liked it and she wants a Mac.

    So the question is, which Mac should I get her? This is the first time I've ever seen her excited about a computer, so I want to strike perfectly while the iron is hot. Meaning I want her experience to be great from day 1. I was thinking about buying her a used Mac, since cost is somewhat of an issue, but I don't want to run the increased risk of it having a problem and ruining her experience.

    I can imagine her eventually getting as advanced as listening to podcasts and doing some visual art/photo stuff.

    Is there any reason why I shouldn't get her the current low end Mac Mini?
     
  2. Luis macrumors 65816

    Luis

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    #2
    There isn't, but if you want to give her the "full" experience it would be better if you got her an iMac.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  3. TimJim macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    #3
    just get something referbished or last generation.
     
  4. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #4
    lol.


    On topic:

    Just go for a refurb last gen (or even 2 generations old) 17'' iMac. She's not going to need the latest and greatest graphics cards or anything. The iMac's all in one design is nice because it doesn't take up a lot of room and theres no cables besides the power cord, and the usb for keyboard and mouse.

    She's probably got some old keyboard + mouse + monitor to use with the mini, but thats not going to be as nice or as simple. the iMac looks much nicer.
     
  5. motulist thread starter macrumors 601

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #5
    What I'm hearing from some of you is that the iMac is a better choice. Are there any reasons besides aesthetics that make you say that?
     
  6. CRAZYBUBBA macrumors 65816

    CRAZYBUBBA

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    #6
    I agree with the concensus a G5 17" would be great.
     
  7. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #7
    No G5. PowerPC is a pretty much deadend technology for Apple now. Intel is a must. Core Duo would be fine though, don't need Core 2.
     
  8. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

    Joined:
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    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    #8
    Simplicity. Screen, computer, speakers, mic, iSight, all rolled into one. If you can't afford one and have an old monitor lying around, than a refurb mini is your best bet.

    Yeah, and stay away from anything G4/G5.
     
  9. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Location:
    Catskill Mountains
    #9
    My sister was a PC user until about five or six years ago. Then I talked her into the idea of switching. I suggested an ibook or powerbook. She had only used desktop machines and thought she still wanted a desktop. She finally picked some behemoth, an eMac i think, which as luck would have it required two trips to Apple-auth'd repair and somewhat dimmed her enthusiasm.

    Finally she said she saw my preference for having my data follow me around instead of having to go sit down in front of it (never mind lug it somewhere if it needed fixing). Now she uses a 15" powerbook and is totally sold on being untethered to a wall outlet or to some particular location in the house.

    If your mom is not likely to be fond of a MacBook or MBP for ergonomic reasons (not everyone likes where their necks end up while typing on a laptop parked on a desk), then maybe a mini is perfect. if it needs fixing, it weighs practically nothing compared to a desktop machine. And YOU will benefit from this fact!
     
  10. jonnylink macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    #10
    My mom (early 50's) only really uses laptops. I'm think I'm gonna get her a MacBook. I don't know about your folk's set up, but my dad takes over just about any area that is flat so it is a big bonus that she can just sit in a comfy spot and surf the web or whatever. I don't think she'll ever use a desktop regularly. Since your mom reacted to a laptop I'd consider whether or not that had something to do with her enjoying a mac.

    I'd hunt for refrubs or clearance macs. Not new but not too old.
     
  11. supremedesigner macrumors 6502a

    supremedesigner

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    Location:
    Gainesville, Fl
    #11
    Go for macbook.

    That is my grandma's first mac computer, macbook. All her life is PC and she is fedup. She uses macbook a lot for email, internet, iphoto, imovie as well as webcam (for her grandson, granddaugher - highly recommended!)

    Since macbook pro is reasonable - and your mom can get it including senior discount from apple store so she gets free printer too :)

    Just my 2 cent

    EDIT: Oops! Not macbook pro, just macbook!
     
  12. Mac One macrumors member

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    Jul 18, 2007
    Location:
    NZ
    #12
    I would recommend a refurbed Intel iMac, as others have. A Macbook would be good, but the screen is rather small. I think your mom would appreciate the extra couple of inches of screen space from an iMac to enlarge things a bit more, I know my parents (who are slightly younger than your mom) do! If she wanted to do arty things on it as you metioned the extra size and resolution would be useful.

    Just my 2c
     
  13. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    New England
    #13
    A refurb 17" Intel iMac will be much faster (better video and HDD) and simpler than a mini, and won't cost that much more. They only have the $1099 20s in stock now though, so you might have to wait a while...

    B
     
  14. jonnylink macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    #14
    Never seen that?! Where do I find that option, I'll be ordering a MacBook for a senior.
     
  15. motulist thread starter macrumors 601

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #15
    Even a refurb iMac starts at $1100. So the iMac is out unless someone can explain to me what makes it $500 better than an Mac Mini - aesthetics isn't nearly enough.

    I thought about a MacBook, but even a refurb MacBook starts at $850. The portability is an obvious advantage, and totally worth he upgrade of $150, but at least initially I think she's always gonna use it in the same room anyway. And it's important that it's always setup and ready to go so that everything always works and she doesn't have to worry about constantly connecting and disconnecting wires (which at the very least would consist of the power cable, the dsl ethernet cord, and the printer cord). Plus, if I buy the Mac Mini new I get a printer for her, which would be an extra expense if I bought a used MacBook, so the price difference goes up to $250.

    So a laptop is out too.
     
  16. motulist thread starter macrumors 601

    motulist

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    #16
    How cheap do the refurbs get? And which model is that for?
     
  17. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    New England
    #17
    You get a larger 3.5" HDD, iSight, keyboard, mouse, dedicated graphics card, SuperDrive and of course the LCD in the $1100 20" iMac and usually 512 MB more of base RAM in the stock unit. You can also hook up the iMac to an external display for two screen goodness, or just to play media on a nearby TV.

    The formerly $1299 17" (if available) should be <$1000, and the $999combo drive version should be ~$850.

    EDIT: The $1099 refurb now in the store is the old $1499 20" iMac.

    B
     
  18. motulist thread starter macrumors 601

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #18
    I think it'd take my mom a really long time to burn through the 80 gigs in the Mac Mini, so disk capacity is not in the equation. Are the drives in the old iMacs higher performance than the drives in the current Mac Mini?

    that's certainly a fun plus


    the Apple keyboard is definitely a plus, but I've heard mixed reviews about the mighty mouse and I'm not sure it's appropriate for a computer amateur. (the mighty mouse is the one that would come with the last gen refurb, right?).


    what sort of real-world difference would this make in the activities she'd do?


    not important to her


    not important, my parents have a nice LCD screen lying around extra.


    The new iMac comes with 1 gig base ram, how much comes in the last gen iMac?


    definitely not important, there's no tv near where she's gonna use it.
     
  19. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    New England
    #19
    Sounds like you've already sold yourself on the mini. :p

    Two additional comments.

    The mighty mouse is a great mouse for the inexperienced, 'cause you can turn off the right button and have it act like an old school one button Mac mouse.

    It really all depends on how long you expect her to keep the computer and grow into it. I suspect that Leopard will run better on the iMac than any mini thanks to the dedicated graphics, but if you are willing to stick with Tiger you're probably right that for most things it's a no-care.

    B
     
  20. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #20
    I agree with other posters here- go Intel for sure. Even though I love my PM G5, there's no point in buying a PPC for for someone not really "into" computers. They'll just get frustrated in a year or two.
     
  21. Adokimus macrumors 6502a

    Adokimus

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    Jun 2, 2007
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #21
    I would highly recommend a refurbished iMac (last generation Core 2 Duo). It will be cheaper than a new one, it will be certified by Apple in case she has any problems with it (unlike ebay items), it has a pretty powerful (for her needs) intel processor that could also run bootcamp if she needed to return to the window's world for familiarity, it's not glossy which might be easier on her eyes, it looks nice, it's all-in-one so it eliminates confusing cables and setup, it's very easy to use, it comes with a remote which makes it easy to control media functions, the list goes on.....


    -Ado
     
  22. reflex macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #22
    I'd go for the baseline mini with either a 19" or 20" wide screen. It'll be cheaper than an iMac and have a bigger screen (than the 17" version at least).

    I've just gotten a G4 mini yesterday and hooked it up to my 20" screen, and it's so much better than the 17" iMac I once had. Except that it could be faster and needs more memory, but that won't really be an issue with the current mini models.
     
  23. big_scot_nanny macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #23
    burning DVDs

    I should probably start this with a question rather than an opinion, however please do not discount the usefullness of superdrive. I got a superdrive equipped iBook for Mum last year (I was sick of being tech support for her virus ridden PC - you just can't stop some people clicking on popups: 'yes mum, I know it looked the computer was telling you to click, but did you see how the cursor changed to little hand....).

    So, usefullness of DVD drive:
    1) Mum now churns out slideshows and stuff from iPhoto onto iDVD, and she is not a whiz at all with all things IT. She loves it!
    2) Amazingly, as it so easy, she also does some movies form the clips on her wee fuji digicam. I am amazed.
    3) backups: the iBook was a refurb and the screen went kaput (I hear you regarding not wanting anything to cloud her experiences. I now have to put up with mum taking pleasure in telling me that the all wonderful apple has broken. swine!), so we had to a backup of her system before we sent it in just in case. Used apple backup software (I bought a family .mac account for wife, me and mum) to backup all system settings and contents of user account onto 2 DVDs.

    I would go with the iMac as well, although I would check how much she might like to snuggle in her favourite spot in the house and surf the net for her next holiday, email her pals, shop online and web chat with her Grandkids. Bear in mind that this may mean you now become tech support for wireless networking which is a whole other world of pain!:eek:

    Kev
     
  24. Coprolite macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    #24
    I think you should consider the personal dynamics involved. My parents have a G5 RevA iMac (w/external iSight) that I convinced them to buy before I got around to getting my RevB. The iSight really is a great addition and the easy use of the Superdrive adds somewhat to the experience.

    That all being said, they also love laptops. Even if they just bounce room to room or if they travel around the US to visit the kids, portability is the trump card.

    I believe that you should come up with different scenarios and see if your mom would use the computer under the different circumstances. I bet that this thread will provide you with most of the ideas/questions that you should bounce off of her before you buy.

    I love my iMac, but since I started my own business I find that I need a laptop more and more. The iMac was a great thing to come home to when I had to have a Windows laptop and I hope to make a great thing to come home to once I get a MBPro (next revision+Leopard) next year :)
     
  25. joeybagadonutz macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2007
    #25
    We ordered a refurbished 17" iMac combo drive last week for a family member in her 70s. Computer was $699 plus all-in-one printer for $29 (after $100 rebate).

    Is your Mother near a retail store? If so, consider the one to one training for $99. http://www.apple.com/retail/onetoone/
     

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