A few weeks ago, Apple announced it’s back-to-school offer for current and prospective college students. The annual promotion includes an App Store gift card for up to $100 with the purchase a new Mac, iPad or iPhone. It’s a pretty solid deal, but having graduated from college years ago, I really don’t pay attention to it anymore. Especially since now all you get is an App Store gift card. That’s no fun. When I was in school, we got an iPod with our new Mac – which we immediately flipped for beer money.
However, despite graduating from college and ceasing to care about anything that has to do with school, I found myself once again staring down this deal.
My girlfriend’s younger brother is going to Illinois State University in the fall, and he really wants a new MacBook to take along with him. He also wanted my advice on which model and upgrades to go for since I work for OWC and that makes me the “expert”. (Side note: check out some of OWC’s own great deals on pre-owned MacBooks that are perfect for college starting at $529.99.)
After dozens of texts, we decided that since he’ll be taking his computer to class everyday and will be living in the tiniest of tiny dorm rooms, the 13” MacBook Pro was a good fit for him. It’s portable but still a pretty powerful machine at a good price with Apple’s education discount.
One of the biggest factors in his decision though – and this is where my advice came in – was that the MacBook Pro would be easy to upgrade. When we were looking at the different models, he wanted to max out the RAM and add an SSD through Apple. Even with the education discount, these upgrades were inflating the price quite a bit.
Luckily, I was able to convince him that the base 4GB of RAM was fine to begin with, and the stock 500GB of storage was more than enough for now. I told him that if he wanted to upgrade in the future, he could easily do so himself through OWC (it didn’t feel so shamelessly promotional when I told him this).
Not only would he be saving a lot of money now by avoiding Apple’s pricy upgrades, but when he does want to upgrade he’ll be able to keep the drive and memory modules that he is upgrading from. He’ll then be able to re-task his hard drive into an external and even trade in his old memory to OWC to offset the cost of an upgrade.
It turned out to be a win-win: He’s getting a computer that’s powerful enough for his needs, and he’ll still have future flexibility when he does decide to upgrade. Plus he’s saving hundreds of dollars … well his dad is.
Now all that’s left is convincing him not to flip his App Store card. That might be a tougher sell.