How to Make Buying Apple Laptops a More Affordable Purchase

How to Make Buying Apple Laptops a More Affordable Purchase

An Apple laptop is an iconic piece of technology. Subtle yet distinctive, it says much about its owner, but in a quiet and almost understated way. It says its owner does not follow the herd, yet cares passionately about his or her computing experience.

The only problem is that Apple laptops seem to be so expensive, and they remain out of the reach of all but the most diehard of Apple fans. Even second-user, Apple laptops can be sold for many times the price of comparable, 'everyday' laptops, putting them well out of reach of most home and small business users.

This need not be the case. With a little knowledge of just which Apple laptop to look for, and more importantly, what not to look for, an Apple laptop can be within the reach of most customers. Learning about the different types of Apple laptops, and what is available can only help the buyer make the right choice for the right Apple laptop, and help him or her buy the right laptop for the right price.

Finding the Right Apple Laptop

Apples are everywhere, from coffee shops to top design studios. They are the choice of hundreds of thousands of discerning customers the world over. But knowing just which kind of Apple is suitable for the user can be difficult. With a little thought and consideration, choosing and buying the right Apple laptop can be made much easier.

Apple Laptops Since January 2001

Below is a table showing different models of Apple laptops released since 2001. They are shown with their release dates, screen sizes, and minimum memory and minimum processor performances.


First Release Date

Screen Size (in inches)

Memory Size (in MB or GB)

Processor Speed (in MHz or GHz)

PowerBook G4

January 2001


128 MB

400 MHz

iBook G4

October 2003

12.1, 14.1

256 MB

800 MHz

MacBook Pro

January 2006

15.4, 17.0

1024 MB

1.83 GHz


May 2006


512 MB

1.83 GHz

MacBook Air

January 2008

11.6, 13.3

2 GB

1.6 GHz

Aluminium Unibody

October 2008


2 GB

2.0 GHz

The above table gives the first release date of the various models. It also gives the minimum specifications for processor speeds and memory sizes. Apple support various upgrades to these specifications, so the buyer would do well to ask the vendor of any upgrades or modifications to these basic ones.

Buying an Apple Laptop Second-User

Because the distribution of new Apples is strictly controlled by Apple itself, the user who wishes to purchase an Apple more cheaply has no choice but to buy the laptop as second-user. This need not be seen as 'buying second-hand', though. There are many Apples around that are in almost factory condition. But for those who do not want to pay the almost-new price, there are other ways to buy this most prestigious of laptops.

Buying the Last Generation of Apple

Every time Apple brings out a new addition to its range, there are of course users who simply must have the latest. These are the Apple diehards for whom money is no object. They see a new Apple advertised, they religiously read the reviews, then go out and purchase one; often with all the optional extras and usually at full price.

Then, the new Apple owners must get rid of their old laptops, so they may sell them cheaply. They are not usually 'professional' Apple sellers, so their main concern is to at least get something back for last year's model. The savvy second-user Apple buyer will realise this, and buy appropriately.

These Apples are almost always in 'as new' condition. Their previous owners are usually fastidious about keeping their Apple laptops in top condition, with the latest updates and even upgrades to operating systems if need be. The buyer should also check to see any extras these Apples may have, because quite often, they are the top of the range models with every possible upgrade and add-on imaginable.

Checking Out the Year of Manufacture

Taking this approach one step further, there are many Apple laptops around that are certainly older than last year's model, and these can be picked up surprisingly cheaply. Many Apple advertisers put the year of manufacture of their Apple laptops in their adverts, or using the table above, the savvy buyer can work out which year the chosen machine was likely to have been manufactured, and adjust his or her buying price expectations accordingly.

While these older Apples may not have the latest specifications, such as the largest hard drive, or the most RAM, they are often more than adequate for the user keen to own this iconic brand. The most important factor is that when the user lifts the lid, all those around can see that he or she has an Apple.

Lower Specification Apples

Sometimes, one comes up for sale that, while still being the iconic Apple, is of a low specification. These low specification Apples can be picked up surprisingly cheaply, and if the user needs more memory, or a larger hard drive, then these too can be picked up fairly cheaply from many sources, so the user can fit them, or get their local Apple store to do it for not a huge amount of money.

Damaged Apples

Occasionally, there are Apples advertised as "water damaged", or have other faults, but are still in working order or somewhat working order. These are usually owned by those who are just looking to get a small return. These are often sold without hard drives for security reasons, but these can be picked up fairly reasonably.

Faulty Apples

Some Apples, like any other computers or pieces of electronic hardware, tend to have 'stock faults'. These are usually well-known issues that affect particular models, or batches of models. These are usually advertised as having this 'stock fault', so a potential buyer is aware of them. If the buyer is aware of the various faults that are likely to occur within a model, or range of models, and has suitable experience, he or she can buy one of these machines; usually for a fraction of the retail cost.

A repair should only be undertaken by the buyer who knows what he or she is doing, and is completely confident that he or she can get the laptop back together again with no 'spare screws' left over at the end. Alternatively, if the buyer knows of a local Apple shop where the staff are friendly, he or she may be able to get them to repair the fault.

Power Supplies and Batteries

Many Apples are sold without power supplies, or when advertised, the seller should mention that the battery has died due to it being left in with the laptop powered from the mains. Power supplies and replacement batteries are freely available from many sources, but the buyer would do well to check them out to make sure that one is available for the model he or she is after before making the purchase. There are many suppliers who sell unbranded power supplies and batteries, and they often offer the best deal for the price-aware buyer.

How to Buy an Apple Laptop at an Affordable Price on eBay

The most important thing to remember when looking for an affordable Apple laptop on eBay is to know exactly what you are looking for. Whether it is a 12-inch PowerBook or a 17-inch MacBook Pro, a little time spent learning the different models and their specifications will certainly be time well spent.

If you have chosen the Apple of your dreams, then it is wise to check out the seller's ratings and what other buyers have said about that seller. You can easily tell how many sales the seller has made on eBay, but also what the previous customers and suppliers have said. This will give you an idea of the kind of person you will be dealing with.

Also, it is worth checking where abouts in the country your seller is. If he or she is nearby, then it may be worth contacting that person to arrange for you to pick up your Apple in person. Many eBay customers choose to do this, as it gives them a chance to put a face to their seller, but it also cuts down on delivery or postage charges. Some buyers prefer to pick up in person for fear of their precious items being damaged or lost in the postal system.


Apple, especially its laptops, is an iconic brand. They have a different look than other machines, but that look can cost the buyer dearly if he or she is wanting the latest model with all the whistles and bells attached.

However, a smart buyer, with a little thought, care, and attention, can save a small fortune by not insisting on the latest model with all the optional extras. Instead, the buyer can be content with last year's, or even the year before's model, but with an upgraded operating system, extra RAM, or a bigger hard drive. The buyer can be content in the knowledge that he or she saved a lot of money, but can still sport the world-famous Apple logo and ethos.

New Apples can cost a lot of money. The smart buyer, however, armed with knowledge of just what to look for can be confident that he or she too can 'wear the brand', but for a fraction of what most buyers pay.

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