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5 Reasons to Buy a MacBook Air, Mac Mini, or OS X 10.7 Lion Now

Apple's OS X 10.7 Lion is available in the App Store

Apple kept their promise on releasing OS X 10.7 Lion in July

If you’re a Mac fan, yesterday was a big day. Not only did Apple release the eagerly awaited OS X 10.7 Lion operating system, but they also refreshed the MacBook Air and Mac mini product lines.

Upgrading to Lion

Lion is only available for download through the Mac App Store, and in keeping with Apple's trend of affordable pricing on their operating system upgrades, it is only $29.99. Of course, it's also included free on new Macs.  If Apple holds with their tradition (and they usually do), that price will never change, so there is no reason to hold off on upgrading.

Installing the new OS will generally make your computer run with a little more zip. Also, there are a ton of new features, many designed to bring some of the best iOS features from the iPhone and iPad to Mac users. The Launchpad application launcher lets you view and open all your apps without having to open any folders.  Lion offers new multi-touch gestures to Macs with trackpads. Full-screen apps gives you the option of using your whole screen for your current app. And Mission Control combines the window management features of full-screen apps, Dashboard, Exposé, and Spaces so you can use your computer more efficiently. In addition to a number of other big features like system-wide auto-save and versions, Lion also has updates to all the iWork apps.

Timing Your Mac Purchase

When you are buying a Mac, timing is everything. So, what does yesterday’s release mean in terms of buying? Well, if you want the newest and the greatest, now is the time to order a MacBook Air or a Mac mini. Apple is pretty reliable when it comes to refreshing their product lines, so you know that if you buy now, your computer will be the newest model for a longer duration.

Apple's Macbook Air has a backlit keyboard

The new MacBook Airs and Mac minis ship with Lion.

When people talk about the Apple life cycle or Apple product life cycle, they mean the average amount of time between new releases. For the MacBook Air, it is 321 days, and for the Mac mini, it is 265 days. Both lines retain price points  from the previous generation, but offer features like increased processing speed, Intel’s Sandy Bridge platform, and Thunderbolt for high speed data transfer. The MacBook Air, which starts at $999, also includes a backlit keyboard and Intel Core i5 or i7 processing chips. The Mac mini starts at $599 and comes with an improved AMD Radeon HD graphics card along with Core i5 or i7 processing chips

Saving with a Refurb

But, if you don’t mind a slightly older model, this is also a great time to check Apple’s stock of refurbished MacBook Airs and Mac minis, because the prices on previous generations will be lower (on top of the price drop for a refurb). The thing with refurbs is that Apple’s stock changes as people purchase and they get new products in, so you may have to check more than once to find the computer you want. At the time of posting, there was an 11.6" Refurb 1.4Ghz MacBook Air for $749, which is an amazing price.

Apple's Special Offers

The Mac mini is Apple's entry-level desktop computer

Find bargains on older Mac minis and MacBook Airs in the refurb department.

Apart from refurbs, the Apple store doesn't offer many discounts on computers. However, Apple does have special offers that add some great value to a purchase. Right now you can get a free printer (up to $100) if you order one with your computer purchase and send in the mail-in rebate. Also, students and teachers get special pricing in the Education Store and a $100 gift card with a computer purchase.

Apple Authorized Resellers

There are a number of authorized retailers who resell Apple products, often with discounts. With the new product release, they have their own offers available. For instance, Mac Connection has the current low price on MacBook Airs, with prices starting from $949.99. And MacMall has closeout pricing on the previous generation Mac mini, along with some nice rebate offers.

Where you buy depends on personal factors. If you are unlikely to actually use the mail-in rebates, your best option might be to go with whatever price is lowest. But if you are a rebate pro and will be able to use, sell, or gift the freebies, then you will want to take the value of those items into account.

About the Author: Casey Runyan

Casey is part of the deal-finding team at BradsDeals. A bargain hunter to the core, she's sometimes haunted by nightmares about deals that expire before she can write them. She's also pretty sure she got her job by telling Brad about the time she got a free golf club.

8 Responses to “5 Reasons to Buy a MacBook Air, Mac Mini, or OS X 10.7 Lion Now”

  1. TONYC says:

    I want to tell all Apple users, I have had a Mac since my very first “home” computer..BOY! we have come a long way via Apple since the early 90s.Today I received my new iMac and this last iMac was a”lemon” and the ONLY major problem EVER I had with Apple but partially my fault cause I should have insisted that they take it back.I can fix almost anything,software related because every problem is solved for you online. Like yesterday this old iMac,which is really not old in terms of Apple’s longevity, is 3 1/2 years old, just would not start up.I put the problem in Google search, on my iPod Touch and I found the solution right from Apple forums.I believe when I open the new iMac ,this will be about the tenth Apple computer(that does not count iPods and I do not use cell phones??),I give all my old ones to my neighbors but this iMac I will not and just use it to Skype cause a couple of my friends are moving to other countries. So because of Bradsdeals and through MacMall(who I have used in the past but they have much better customer service NOW!), I got this iMac, super duper(wireless keyboard & mouse), put extra memory in it, HP printer, that also scans and prints and it’s smaller than the one I have!..I love HP besides Apple,also Norton Virus software..cause with all the rebates, the printer is free, the Norton is free, Macmall gives you $40? for buying the computer…OH the biggy and why I am writing this, the NEW UPGRADE is on MacMall, there’s a coupon for that, they NEVER used to do that,give you the newer systems and a reason I would not buy out of Apple but now everything seems equal to buying in an Apple Store and I have NEVER gotten any rebates in an Apple Store…except when the store opened near me, I WON an iTouch 16gb…they were giving them and computers away like “candy”!..if any Apple Store opens around you, it is well worth the wait on the line.I went cause I wanted to go to ONE Apple Store opening and it’s in my neighborhood ,on 14street in The Meat Packing District,NYC!..anyone have questions about my purchase or Apple computers in general, I’m pretty good at it or I will refer you if I do not know an answer.I FEEL LIKE IT’S CHRISTMAS IN JULY!!! THANKS BRAD & TEAM!!

    now pay the BILL!

    Cheers..
    TONY(NYC)

    • crunyan says:

      Sounds like you got a really great deal, Tony. You did exactly what I am suggesting in this post by taking advantage of all the rebate offers. It is really cool that places like MacMall and Mac Connection are offering the new OS on their systems almost immediately, and they have the rebate for a free download of Lion when you buy a new computer for at least the past month. I’m really jealous of your iPod Touch win…

  2. Jenny says:

    FYI, if you are upgrading Lion wont run your microsoft office package. Total bummer.

    • crunyan says:

      Hi Jenny, OS X Lion 10.7 runs Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 and 2008. It does not run MS Office 2004, so that does present an issue for some users. Apple has been phasing out Rosetta for some time (you had to get it separately when upgrading to 10.6 Snow Leopard), and MS Office 2004 is Rosetta-based.

      It is really a matter of deciding whether or not you want to upgrade Office as well. There have been some great improvements over the years. Personally, I am using 2011, and I love it. (I never thought I’d say this, but Outlook for Mac is a big improvement on Entourage.) Good alternatives to MS Office include the NeoOffice and iWork suites of office applications.

  3. pam says:

    To TONYC, You offered to answer questions and I am taking you up on it. I have a Mac G4 and I really need to replace it. I figured I’d get an iMac even though I don’t like the glare on the glossy screen. Should I get any upgrades if I will be using Illustrator and possibly Photoshop (when I can afford them)and want to stream movies (since my tv is so old)? My children want to use Garage Band and iMovie and a Sony product that let’s you compose music. I thought I should get ProCare and the Apple protection plan. Any suggestions for hardware upgrades?

    • crunyan says:

      Hi Pam, Tony can reply as well, but since I wrote this blog post, I thought I’d offer up my 2 cents. The lowest spec iMac will run Illustrator and Photoshop with no problems. Garage Band and iMovie are included on all Macs. I’m not sure about the Sony product, since I don’t know the name, but there are a ton of music-composing apps for Mac, so it so shouldn’t be a problem.

      The AppleCare Protection Plan is amazing and I really recommend it. It has helped me so many times. I don’t personally have a ProCare membership, but I know people who swear by it.

      Bradsdeals has a number of great deals on iMacs listed: http://www.bradsdeals.com/search?query=imac

      Let me know if you have more questions!

      • pam says:

        Hi, My first time responding to a “blog.” Sorry that I didn’t ask the right person! Thanks for the info. Right now I am going to check out the link you supplied!

  4. [...] big way to buy from Apple and save. Getting a great deal on a refurb can have a lot to do with timing. Apple refurbs are current or previous generation models that have been tested, refurbished, and [...]

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