Who sells the White MacBook
Apple’s Online Store – If you like paying the MSRP, this is the obvious place to shop.
Amazon – Usually has a rebate for $75 or $100 off; good return policy; free shipping; great price but not the cheapest.
MacMall – Tends to compete with Amazon on price, usually has a $100 rebate as well.
MacConnection – Usually has a rebate ranging from $50 to $100.
eBay – Has the lowest price, but a hassle to get your money back if the MacBook is defective.
There’s a few more stores but these are the largest and the most reliable.
Shopping at the Apple Store
Apple stores are a pleasure to be in. Unfortunately they’re not the cheapest. Unless you’re running out of time and desperately need a laptop, buying online should save you a few hundred dollars. This is due to two reasons. First and foremost, online retailers offer rebates that you won’t see at the Apple stores. The second reason is not having to pay taxes.
Rebates, rebates, rebates..
If you’re like me, you probably had one or two rebates mysteriously disappear on the way to the rebate center. Rebates are a pain to deal with, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth the hassle.
Most of the online stores offer a rebate ranging from $50 to $100. The rebates need to be postmarked just a few weeks after ordering the MacBook so don’t wait too long to file them.
There’s a couple of things you can do to ensure that your rebate won’t get lost:
- Use registered mail to send the rebate. This way, if something happens to the rebate, the rebate company can’t claim that it never arrived.
- Photocopy everything before you send it out. No, that doesn’t mean you should photocopy your MacBook. It means you should photocopy your UPC barcode, the form with all your information, and your invoice or sales receipt.
Most rebate companies allow you to resubmit the rebate if the original gets lost.
- Provide an accurate email address so you can check the status online, nowadays almost all rebate companies have an online system.
If 8 or 10 weeks pass and you still haven’t received your rebate, give them a call and find out what the problem is. Be aggressive, it’s your money.
Shopping at the place that sells everything
When it comes to price, Amazon sells the two MacBooks with a $75 and sometimes a $100 rebate. Shipping is free, so your total after the rebate will be around $1,025 and $1,225 for the two separate models. I say “around” because the price tends to change every now and then.
One advantage in buying the item from Amazon is Amazon’s Price Drop policy. If the laptop drops in price within 30 days of your purchase, Amazon will credit you the difference. You can read more about it here.
In case you receive a defective laptop, you shouldn’t have a problem obtaining an exchange. Like most online stores, they’ll wait to receive the defective unit before they ship you the replacement. On the bright side, the entire process is automated and shipping will be free both ways.
The advantages and disadvantages of buying the MacBook on eBay
A scan through eBay will show you that some White MacBooks sell for less than $1000, which is significantly cheaper than the asking price on Apple.com
Ebay has its drawbacks though. Shipping can take indefinitely long depending on the seller. Other than leaving a bad feedback, there’s isn’t much you can do if your laptop arrives opened or damaged. You may contact the seller for an exchange, but that doesn’t mean they’re obligated to help you. Shopping on eBay might save you a few bucks, but in my humble opinion the price difference is not worth the risk.
Upgrade Now or Later?
There’s several retailers who sell the MacBook with additional RAM or a preinstalled copy Windows. But is it worth it? No way.
Apple Store charges $500 to upgrade your RAM from 512Mb to 2Gb. Separately that RAM will cost you around $250. You’re paying double the price to have Apple install the RAM for you.
MacMall and MacConnection are no different. In reality, upgrading the MacBooks is relatively simple and quick. Even if you have no technical confidence this guide should help you install the RAM in less than 10 minutes.
The less you spend on the laptop the more you can spend on upgrades and accessories. Whether you take my advice or not, shop around before you make any decisions.
Once you order your MacBook make sure to come back and submit your review!