AAM: When Should I Buy?

by Aaron Wright May 07, 2007

When I purchased my iMac G5 back in 2005, I was sitting around for a time (a good couple of months) wondering whether or not I should wait before buying my iMac. I hadn’t heard of any major updates to the Mac line-up for a while, but truth be told up until that point I hadn’t been following the Apple scene all that much, so I eventually ended up buying one, with insurance, for around £1,200 (roughly $2000). I still can’t describe the excitement that ran through my body the day it arrived, and when I turned it on, I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning all over again.

But less than a month or two later, Apple re-released the iMac G5 with slightly faster specifications (at least, worth taking note of) and a built-in iSight camera, something I had really wanted to purchase with my iMac two months previous. The real kick in the face was when Steve Jobs announced the machine to be about £150 cheaper. Ouch!

This sort of thing happens all the time in the technology world and it’s something we’ve all gotten used to by now, but that doesn’t take away the disappointment that arrives once such a thing happens. I suppose it would be silly for Apple to announce a new computer system coming out in three months’ time, knowing full well very few people would go out and purchase their current lineup of computers.

This week on AAM we have one ex-Windows user who is currently running Linux as his operating system of choice, but he loves how everything on the Mac behaves and his patience with Linux is quickly wearing thin. Dohertywa wants some advice on whether he should wait around a bit before upgrading his computer desk, having been given some info that Apple may well be updating their Mac line-up pretty soon, or should just go ahead and get a Mac right now.

For me personally, I’d have to give this one a wait. With Leopard coming out in October it’s pretty safe to assume that a new iMac could hit the scene, whether this is a completely revamped Mac or just an update of the current iMac range. If nothing is mentioned by the time of the Leopard launch, then go ahead and get one. However, the answer of the week comes from Apple Matters chief, Hadley Stern, who believes Dohertywa should go with his instincts and purchase a 24” iMac now based on the fact that even if Apple did release a new machine later this year, it’d be a good couple of years and revisions later before it hits its best.

Question of the Week

Linux User Wants To Switch To Mac

By: Dohertywa

Hi everyone:

What a great site.  I hoping to get some advice on the issue of buying a Mac.

Currently I am a Linux user and have been on and off for about 12 years or so. I used my first Apple product, the IIe, 21 years ago in kindergarten. I’ve had a secret love affair with Apple since then. Anywho, I use my computer for all of the standard things: web, email, chat, im, etc., but I also do server side development and programming in various languages including Java. On a near weekly basis I find myself spending at least 30 minutes giving the demo 24” iMac at my local Future Shop (Canadian electronics chain) some love because no one goes near it. I really want to buy a fully loaded 24” iMac but I’ve been told I should wait. I have disdain for Windows and my love of Linux is wearing thin. I love how stuff on a Mac just works. I love how beautiful it looks, especially the Cosmos screensaver…drool.

What I am wondering is, do I wait? I’ve been told that new iMacs are coming and are apparently being re-designed. I love the 24” that is on the market now, but Apple always has the coolest stuff.

Right now my only computer is a university issued Toshiba Tecra A8 and I hate the thing. I have Ubuntu installed running Beryl, but it’s just not the same and it’s actually slower than the 13” Macbook. Sad.

I’m a movie and music loving, coding geek who loves programming and I just want a system that doesn’t suck and does everything I can throw at it.

Advice is very welcome and appreciated.

Thanks very kindly in advance.

Answer of the Week

By: Hadley Stern

Welcome to Apple Matters! The questions in your post could have been asked at any time throughout Apple’s history at one time or another. We have all struggled with whether now was the best time to buy a new Mac or if we should wait a month, a few months, six months, etc. to wait for the latest and greatest. The problem is that this can go on forever and ever! Plus, let’s say in six months Apple comes up with a newer iMac, with, say, a revamped design. Buying the first rev of any product (Apple or not) has its own issues, so some would wait until rev 2. Which could be another year.

My advice? The 24” iMac is a fabulous machine now. Go and enjoy it.

Have a technical question? Drop by our dedicated forums and leave a message. You’re sure to get a reply from one of our regular readers or even a member of our staff.


  • There are two possibilities when it comes to buying a new Mac. Either you need it NOW so you buy it NOW. Or you wait for the next revision. According to
    all the consumer desktops are three months overdue for an update.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on May 07, 2007 Posts: 371
  • Plus, let’s say in six months Apple comes up with a newer iMac, with, say, a revamped design. Buying the first rev of any product (Apple or not) has its own issues, so some would wait until rev 2. Which could be another year.

    I disagree. Even if this did happen, you could buy a refurb one of our current generation.

    Given the date, and that you’re not in pressing need, I’d wait for the next revision.

    Benji had this to say on May 07, 2007 Posts: 927
  • I’d absolutely wait for the next version….When I bought my first Mac, a PowerBook G4 I was so happy because I thought I had top notch top of the line state of the art harware, then….a week later Steve Jobs announced the switch to intel and all of a sudden my PowerBook was on sale at the apple store online.

    Nemin had this to say on May 07, 2007 Posts: 35
  • I would not buy a new Mac within a month or so of a keynote.  But I wouldn’t wait until October for Leopard.  I agree with Hadley.  Now is as good a time as any.  There is always an announcement scheduled for six months down the line, so it’s not a very practical window for waiting that long to purchase.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on May 07, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • It is within a month or so of a keynote…
    But no, I don’t think waiting for leopard is sensible. If you can afford a tricked out 24 inch imac you can afford a leopard upgrade. But, even if money’s no object, buying two versions of the imac would be a daft waste.

    Benji had this to say on May 07, 2007 Posts: 927
  • Thanks for the catch, Ben.  So yes, I would wait until after the keynote (since Mac upgrades are long overdue) but would not wait until Leopard, which in any case is a software upgrade that would simply mean purchasing Leopard at some point down the road no matter what system you have.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on May 07, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • As a former G5 iMac owner and current satisfied customer of an Intel Core 2 Duo Macbook, I can say that the speed of the current crop of laptops, even at the “low” end, is so good that my Macbook easily outpaces my older iMac and even the first-gen Intel iMacs, IMHO.

    It’s a lot of computer for the money. You can take it with you and buy a good mouse and 24” monitor to dock to with the money you save.

    I can’t speak for the current 24” iMac, but I’d think twice before buying such a large computer (if something so self-contained can already actually be called “large”). If I needed more raw processing power than a Macbook, I’d hold out for a Mac Pro.

    mtreder had this to say on May 07, 2007 Posts: 1
  • I waited 19 years and they *still* went and superceded my Mac a short time later.

    WWDC is going to be big enough with Leopard and the iPhone. So I suspect we won’t see new iMacs launched until August.

    Chris Howard had this to say on May 08, 2007 Posts: 1209
  • A little over 12 months ago I took the plunge, used my wife’s student ID and slapped down a small fortune to buy the last G5.

    I am now the proud owner of a Quad core G5, a 20” Cinema Display and a stupidly expensive (£350+) GeForce graphics card. I slapped an extra 4Gb RAM in there (from Crucial—much cheaper).

    I use my machine to edit video, make Director CD’s, web design, program for the web in PHP and RoR. I run 3 web servers on it—two Apache2’s and a Mongrel. It’s a file server to the PC laptop downstairs. I re-encode DVDs, download music, write Word docs, build pages in InDesign, edit photos in Photoshop. I play games, emulate other systems…...... the list goes on.

    The moral of this story is—save the maximum amount of mon ey you would ever spend on a Mac, and buy the best you can with the cash. Macs don’t age like PCs, so the only reason to get the latest is the pride in own the newest kit.

    I took a chance going PPC after they announced the Intel switch, but 15 months on I have a machine that _still_ doesn’t struggle with anything I throw at it, and I can always upgrade the monitor, add another hard disk, add CD/DVD drives and there’s space for a further 12 Gb of RAM (<£100 for 2Gb at the moment) should it start to feel slow.

    Never had a PC felt spry after 12 months!

    In fact my only regret is I didn’t get one of the superior Dell monitors over the Apple display smile

    So make a good decision, buy the best you can afford, that does everything you want, and then ignore the new machines till the time comes to buy a new one!

    evilcat had this to say on May 08, 2007 Posts: 66
  • I’d also add that the ‘thin’ iMacs haven’t tended to have revision A problems, so even with a new intel marchitecture on the cards you’d be very unfortunate to have issues there.

    Benji had this to say on May 08, 2007 Posts: 927
  • Well, I don’t think that for typical programming usage you would necessarily need the power of the next generation of the iMac (which most likely would include a quad core processor IMO) so perhaps it wouldn’t matter, but it would most definitely be a step up and would be a nice computer for all those people sitting on a G4/G5. 

    Still, a 24” iMac would be pretty sweet regardless.

    Chicken2nite had this to say on May 09, 2007 Posts: 79
  • I’d wait until after the WWDC.  WWDC is usually where they roll out their upgrades and the iMac, Mini and laptops are all long overdue.

    June is going to be the month to watch. Hold out until after the 15th and you will likely be rewarded with shiny, new updates to the existing product line.

    vb_baysider had this to say on May 09, 2007 Posts: 243
  • Hey vb_baysider - I am going to wait until 15th. I am using a powerbook G4 fully loaded. If they dont come out with a macbook pro that is 12/13 inch or improve the graphic specs on the Macbook, I am going to buy a Sony VAIO… I will deal with the MS$ Devil - 999VISTA

    hodari had this to say on May 10, 2007 Posts: 4
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