Which MBA to choose in terms of resale value

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Sveno, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. Sveno macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2010

    I actually want to buy a MBP 15", but I want to wait until the next revision. I don't really need it yet, but im currently participating on a lab in iPhone programming at my university and I don't possess a Mac atm. I can use the Macs in my university, but it is really annoying that I cannot work on the lab on the weekend and in the upcoming christmas holidays. So I am thinking about buying a MBA and resaling it when the next generation of MBPs comes out. So what do you generally think of this idea?
    I'm studying on a university that participates on the "Apple on Campus" program so I get educational discount.
    I definitely would use the upgrade option to 4GB memory, so here are the current prices for me (inclusively educational discount):
    MBA 11" 64GB 4GB Ram: 960,51€ (without educational discount: 1089€ (+128,49€))
    MBA 11" 128GB 4GB Ram 1,4GHz: 1092,60€ (without educational discount: 1239€ (+146,40€))
    MBA 11" 128GB 4GB Ram 1,6GHz: 1171,14€ (without educational discount: 1329€ (+157,86€))
    MBA 13" 128GB 4GB Ram: 1224,69€ (without educational discount: 1389€ (+164,31€))
    MBA 13" 256GB 4GB Ram 1,86GHz: 1488,87€ (without educational discount: 1689€ (+200,13€))
    MBA 13" 256GB 4GB Ram 2,13GHz: 1567,41€ (without educational discount: 1779€ (+211,59€))

    What do you think is the one with the smallest loss when I resale it when the new MBPs (February-April '11) are coming out? Can you give an estimation for the resale value? What is the best way to resale it (Ebay?)?

    Thank you very much in advance. Sorry for my possibly not perfect english. It is not my mother language.

    Best regards,
  2. stridemat Moderator


    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    I would go with the MBA with the highest spec, especially if you sell it on for full retail value. It could even be the same as you brought it for from the education store.
  3. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I'd take the opposite approach of Stridemat if I were you. If resale value is a key consideration then it seems to me what you are really saying is that cost is a consideration. Buy the least expensive computer that you need. A computer is an expense, not an investment.

    Apple's margins are lowest for the cheaper models and highest for the most expensive. For example, the difference in price between the 2.13GHz and 1.86GHz options is $100 in the US. The actual difference in component price is probably about $30. 1 year down the road, the actual selling price difference (in the used PC market) may be about $50.

    The only consideration might be the RAM. Since it's soldered on, consider going for 4GB, both for longevity and potential resale. There will be replacement blade SSDs, so if you run out of storage you will be able to look to the third party market (as would a buyer). However, whatever RAM you put on it you are stuck with.

    My Rev B MacBook Air with SSD cost $2,400 2 years ago. I sold it for $800. A "base" Rev B with the 1.6GHz processor and hard drive was about $1,500, which is less (before any consideration of forgone interest income on the higher purchase price) than the decline in value of my top-of-the-line Rev B. Granted, I had other reasons for wanting the high end (I wanted the performance of the SSD), but if cost were the primary concern, I'd have been better off with the base model.
  4. silverblack, Nov 22, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010

    silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    OP - no one can predict the future, but let you help you reason it out...

    Q: What kind of people will want to buy a used computer?
    A: Those that want to spend the absolute minimum.

    Q: How likely do these people want to run Professional apps on their used computer?
    A: Not likely. Some might. But most of them will probably use it for web-based needs, and word processing.

    Q: Would 4GB make a HUGE difference in their needs?
    A: No, in most case. Maybe, for some.

    Now the ultimate question:
    In these people's mind, when they are shopping for a USED Macbook Air, are they likely to:
    a) spend an additional $100 to get the 4GB model, because it's worth $100 when new; or
    b) forget the spec, find the absolutely cheapest deal they can get, because it's all about spending the absolute minimum?
  5. drjsway macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2009
    I'm sorry but this is terrible advice. The cheapest model in any Apple line up always has the highest resale value.
  6. Sveno thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2010
    Thank you very much, your answers really helped me. Up to now I lean towards the low end 11" model.

    Sounds very logical, so the 11" low-end 2GB memory model would be the best for my needs?

    Of course, I know that nobody can predict future. But if I buy this 11" low-end 2GB memory model for 880,78€, what do you guess would be the resale value if I resale it in February-April? The price of this model without the education discount would be 999€, so is there ar realistic chance, that I resale it for the 880€ I would spent? I don't want to make a big loss only for working on the lab on the weekend and in the holidays. So when I resale it, I want at least 750€ for it what would be a loss of 130€. Is this realistic?
  7. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Potentially. If Apple, out of the blue, updates the MacBook Air and has refurbished 11" for less, then that will obviously be the ceiling. To get a general sense of what you might get, check out what Apple is selling refurbished old models relative to their original selling prices. For instance, see what they are selling the old 1.86GHz MacBook Air (prior to the revision) vs. what they were going for before the update.
  8. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    I don't know about your needs (i.e., what apps to want to run? and how well they run?), but this is good if you want to minimize your loss at resell.

    Who know? It will depend significantly on what is coming in the next refresh on the 13" MB-Pro, and how many people are trying to sell at the same time (supply-demand).

    However, have you considered buying a used Mac, like a Macbook or MB-Pro?
    Buying used and selling used will further minimize your loss. If there's no reason you need a MBA, it may be wiser to get a used MB/MBP.
  9. stridemat Moderator


    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    With the education discount you generally get a bigger saving on those items that cost more. In the near future being able to sell something for more that you brought it for is profit. The OP is more than likely going to sell it for close to the RRP. Anyhow, it looks like the OP has made their decision.
  10. molala macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2008
    Cambridge, UK
    I think €750 is doable, unless Apple's price drops before April. 25% below the new price for a 5 month old computer with warranty is a good deal. Maybe you could even get €800-850 then.

    Btw, here in the UK, you can use your edu discount for only 1 laptop per academic year (Apple rules). So keep in mind you might not be able to use your edu discount when the MBP's are updated next year.
  11. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    The education discount goes from $50 (for cheapest 11") to $70 (for the most expensive 13"). Your profit (let's pretend it exists), is a whopping $20 difference.

    To sum up, I want some of whatever you are smoking there :)
  12. tmoerel macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2008
    If resale value is all you want don't buy one

    If you need a macbook air, get one. If all you are interested in is resale value, you probably don't need it so don't get one!
  13. Sveno thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2010
    Sorry, but that is a stupid answer. I didn't asked if I should get one, I asked which to get. I already said that I don't really need it, but it would be nice to have a Mac until the next revision of MBPs, so I can also work on the weekends and in the christmas holidays. I also stated, that I am prepared to accept a certain loss.
  14. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    Agreed. I had written that part of my initial post before I realized the OP's selling timeframe. I was thinking 4GB primarily for longevity purposes, but even there the Core 2 Duo is likely to be the biggest limiting factor. Strictly from a resale perspective, the lowest cost upfront on a depreciating asset like a computer is the best way to go.
  15. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR

    I would recommend that you consider one other thing besides resale value; you might discover that you love the MBA and do not want to get the MBP.

    There are a great number of people who have moved from a MBP to a MBA and as a result... completely re-set their expectations of the most important attributes of laptop. Using myself as an example... my apple laptop migration as been 15" MBP -> 13.3" Rev C MBA -> 11.6" MBA. For each of those steps, I felt that I was getting "more laptop'. Personally, I never plan to go back the other way.

    Considering this possibility... you should evaluate which MBA you would want to keep longer term in the event that you decide do not move to a 15" MBP.

  16. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Personally, I'd choose a model that best fits my needs and what ever I can get selling it down the road, all the better.

    Let me put it another way, we have no idea what the value will be in the future and instead of worrying about that, pick a model that you need.
  17. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Nov 20, 2010
    ladner cdn
    -your going to replace in 3-4 months for a mbp
    -you need a mac for iphone program at school

    =local craigslist and buy a macbook,search around for good prices and then just fish until you get a bite.........3-4 months from now, resell for same price or perhaps more and go get your mbp
  18. Sveno thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2010
    This is a very good point. The last days since I posted this thread I spent a lot of time reading through the MBA forum and watching youtube videos of it. I didn't ever saw one in real, but I already fell in love with it.:D So I decided that I will now buy the ultimate MBA 11" and keep it. Can't wait to unbox it. And if I realize, that its performance is not sufficient for my needs I think I will get a new MBP 15" in February or April or whenever in addition.
  19. teski macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2010
    This is the best statement here for purchasing. Now I will say that people do the same thing with cars but cars are a depreciating expense as well. If you are someone who upgrades with any frequency, you do want to consider the fact that the RAM is not user upgradeable so you do want to go with 4GB for sure in this case. Personally, the maxed out one will probably resell the best, but that's just my opinion.

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