When to buy a Mac?

I’ve had my iBook for a couple of years now, and want to trade up for a MacBook (or possibly a MacBook Pro). The main reason I haven’t just bought the MacBook today is they only offer a thirteen inch screen and have a crappy onboard graphics processor. These problems are solved by just buying a MacBook Pro, but that’s an extra $1000 for a whole bunch of computer I don’t need.

So my question is this, how often does Apple update their laptop lines, and is it pretty regular? Is it possible that if I wait a month or two that they could start offering larger screens or a graphics card with muscle? I was hoping for some sort of word at Macworld, but the iPhone seemed to be the spotlight, and hardware updates weren’t even mentioned.

I just received(as in this afternoon) my macbook. I picked up the white 2gz C2D with 1gig ram off the apple refurb store for 1099. That was 100 cheaper then with my education discount. The say all the refurbs have brand new cases, mine looks perfect so you wont get a computer with sweat stains or whatever on the wrist rest. I’m liking it so far, I haven’t finished installing WoW yet so I cant tell you how crappy the vid card is but I will let you know.

Apple will update their product line right after you buy one. It never fails.

Considering the iBook/Macbook hardware legacy, I wouldn’t hold my breath for an integrated video card w/ muscle.

Sadly, the only sure way to know when Apple is updating their laptops is to buy one. They’ll update the 1st day you can no longer exchange it. Kidding aside, Apple is notoriously tight-lipped about future products and revisions, and looking for leads on rumor sites such as thinksecret.com is the closet you can get to any sort of prediction. I’m not reading any suggestions of an imminent laptop refresh.

EDIT: Bah, Xpav beat me to the same old tired joke that I dug up!

There’s supposed to be some “super sekrit announcement” scheduled for end of this month. After that, I think you’re safe until June.

Wait for Leopard unless it has to be “right now”.

My wife has an Imac. I’m still waiting for a cheaper Macpro with more options…

Like most computer tech, it’s easy to get caught in the ‘but if I just wait another 6 months’ lint trap of consumerism. Waiting for the switch from OS 9 to OS X was a good one (actually, OS X was the real terminator in that cycle), waiting for the switch from PPC to Intel was another. Beyond those I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t just buy the machine you need, if you really need it.

I’m pretty sure Leopard will launch sometime late spring/early summer. If you wait for Leopard you should avoid the syndrome Xpav alludes to (it’s hit me several times).

Rumor has it the next Macbook (not Pro) will have decent integrated graphics.


(Never heard of Apple Recon, but it seems not unpossible.)

Here are some user benchmarks of that rumored graphics upgrade. Decent is a relative term I suppose.

I am in line to get a Macbook Pro for work in April. I am planning to wait for Leopard’s release at the least. I would like to see them update the X1600 simply because I plan to bootcamp with Vista and would love if they had a DX10 card in there by then.

My outdated-before-arrival-and-returned eMac and iMac agree with you.

Macrumors has a buyer’s guide that has guesstimates (based on past releases) of when everything should be updated. It says the Macbook is mid product cycle.

That makes sense. They just bumped them to CD2, didn’t they?

If you want to play games, yeah, a better graphics processor is probably a necessity. If you aren’t using it for games, the current integrated graphics system is fine. I use a Macbook as my primary work machine (with an external widescreen LCD, keyboard, and Blutetooth mouse) and only play games on my Windows boxes. For my work stuff the Mac is wonderful, and in meetings, the smaller display is actually more readable and less fatiguing than the larger displays on our other Windows notebooks.


Given that, I usually don’t recommend waiting, although I’d wait until Leopard, or a coupon for a free upgrade to Leopard, is available, due to a number of driver-related issues I’ve experienced with the Intel stuff. (May be fixed in Core Duo 2 + Panther.)

I wouldn’t expect either of your two main questions to have an affirmative answer.

  • the MacBook is likely to continue using integrated graphics
  • Screen size on the MacBook probably won’t change

One thing that might happen is the addition of a smaller MacBook Pro. I don’t really expect updates to existing portables soon (until Santa Rosa at any rate, which is expected Q2), and when they are updated it’ll probably be the Pro models first (which is often a good indicator to not buy a non-Pro until they catch up).

Short of introducing a smaller now model, I don’t see Apple dropping the price of the MacBook Pros. It’s a premium machine in high demand, and Apple isn’t shy about touting its high-end wares as luxury items. Also, Apple generally sticks with the $2K and $2.5K price points for its high-end laptops. I bought the low-end G3 Pismo Powerbook seven years ago and it cost $2K. The high-end model was $2.5K. Last June, I bought the high-end 15.4-inch MacBook Pro. The price? $2.5K. The price always stays the same even while the models change. And a mini MacBook Pro might even cost as much or even more, considering the premium slapped on miniaturizing already small components even further.

The good news is that you can usually get a nice refurb model of an older MacBook Pro model for a steal once new models come out. The prices on the Core Duo MacBook Pro refurbs were ridiculous when Core 2 Duo models came out.

I’d love to hear how the graphics perform.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I don’t have to have it right away, so maybe I’ll wait a month for (maybe) Leopards release and see how my options change. I just need one major thing Leopard/bigger screen/better graphics to happen to feel more comfortable about my purchase