Desktop or Laptop?
Buying a desktop (iMac) provides better “bang for your buck” compared with a laptop. You get a bigger screen and more storage for less money.
Your storage options are more limited – and more expensive – with a laptop.
If you really need something portable…
If a laptop can provide enough storage space for all your data (including photos, music and movies), then this might work as your primary computer.
Buying a laptop doesn’t limit you to using a small screen – you can easily plug in to an external display, keyboard and mouse on your desk, to work more efficiently and enjoy a larger screen (or two).
If you need to take your computer on the road, but also have lots of photos, music and movies, it’s worth considering buying an iMac and a laptop. The iMac makes a great home media centre for all those photos, songs, movies, etc., and we can help you set up sync services so all your work synchronises beautifully between it and your laptop.
Buying an iMac – what are your choices?
Screen size – you have the choice between 21.5” and 27” displays. (The 27” iMac comes with an ultra-high resolution “retina” screen, and the 21.5” can be purchased with either the Retina display or a ‘regular’ Full HD display.) Don’t buy one without visiting a store and seeing the two sizes in person!
Storage – you can get 1 TB or 2 TB of storage, in either standard HDD or “fusion drive” options. The fusion drive is much faster, and a highly recommended upgrade if you can afford it. Also be aware that the 21.5” iMac uses a slower hard drive, so performace won’t be as good as with the larger 27” iMac.
RAM – if you’re buying the 27” iMac, you can add more RAM at any time, and more cheaply than buying it at the time of purchase. If you’re buying the smaller iMac, be aware you can’t upgrade your RAM later. That said, the standard 8 GB of RAM is sufficient for most people.
Buying a laptop – what are your choices?
Apple make 3 different laptops: the 12” Macbook, the MacBook Air (11” and 13” sizes), and the MacBook Pro (13” and 15” sizes.)
The 12” MacBook is beautiful – super thin and light, but compromises power, battery life and cost to get there. A great machine to own if you travel regularly, and just need something for email, web browsing and document work. It comes with the fancy screen, trackpad and 8 GB RAM found on the 13” MacBook Pro (see below). Beware – it only has one port, which is mostly fine in today’s wireless world, but you will need adapters to plug into anything wired.Page Break
The MacBook Air (either 11” or 13”) is ideal for most people’s purposes. It’s still very thin and light, and has the best battery life of all the laptops. It comes standard with 4 GB of RAM, but can be custom ordered with 8 GB (if you’re the sort of user who likes having several dozen things open at once!)
The 13” MacBook Pro adds more RAM, a faster processor (and hence poorer battery life), plus a Retina (higher resolution) display, fancier trackpad, and a couple of extra ports. It’s a bit more expensive – and 50% heavier – than the 13” Air, but is still a good choice for most people.
The 15” MacBook Pro is a significant step up again, and – apart from being much heavier and more expensive than the 13” version – is also overkill for most people’s needs, unless you’re using it primarily for photo and video editing. (Hint: if you don’t have a Creative Cloud subscription, you probably don’t need this much grunt!)
Each of the above laptops comes in a range of storage capacities: typically 128 GB, 256 GB, or 512 GB. Make sure you buy enough storage, for now and the foreseeable future, as it’s quite expensive to upgrade later on.
OK, I’ve decided. Now where should I buy it?
You can brave the crowds at the Apple store, or support one of the independently owned Apple retailers around town.
Personally, I like buying my Macs from Myer. Kevin at Myer Chadstone gives my clients a hefty discount on new Macs, plus you get Myer points on top of that, which convert into gift cards. Their customer service is top notch, and they’ll even take an order over the phone and ship it out to you.
JB Hi Fi also discount their Macs, but I don’t like their customer service as much as Myer.
You can buy online direct from Apple, and they will courier your new Mac direct to your door at no additional cost. Quick and easy.
Bear in mind that, if you want any kind of custom upgrade (such as extra RAM), your Mac will have to be custom built in China then couriered to Australia, so you’re looking at 2-3 weeks until delivery.
If you or your kids are at school / university, you likely qualify for Apple’s education discount, too - Google it. This can be applied to any of the sales channels above.
What accessories do I need?
Your sales person will be keen to sell you a bunch of (high-margin) software and accessories, but in most cases you won’t need anything besides what already comes with the box. Do consider swapping out the short iMac keyboard for the extended one, though – they should be able to do this for you at no additional cost.
What comes next?
If you’d like some help setting up your new Mac, transferring anything (or everything) from your old Mac or PC, and syncing your data with all your devices, please give Amity a call. There are many different ways to do this sort of thing, each with pros and cons depending on your needs, and many potential pitfalls along the way. You can trust us to get it right – it’s what we do!