Is the Apple Retail Store the worst place to buy Apple products?

“Last winter for my birthday my father gave me a $250 Apple gift card that I could use in Apple’s brick-and-mortar stores or its online store,” David Carnoy writes for CNET. “I was pretty stoked at first.”

“But I ran into a problem: As I contemplated a purchase I kept seeing better deals on Apple products in stores where I couldn’t use my Apple gift card,” Carnoy writes. “During the 2015 holiday season Best Buy ran specials on the iPad Air 2, Apple Watch, MacBooks and iMacs. Staples, Target, and B&H Photo were also in on the Apple discount game. The Apple Watch was $100 off. The iPad Air 2 got $125 price chop. And so on.”

“Flash forward to today. Best Buy has the latest Apple 13-inch MacBook Air 1.6GHz/8GB/128GB for $850 shipped (regularly $999) and ‘open-box’ versions available for even less. It also has $100 off an entry-level 21.5-inch iMac. Amazon has it for the same price, too,” Carnoy writes. “The long and short of it is the Apple Store rarely offers anything in the way of deals or discounts. And yet it allows other stores to sell its products for less — sometimes substantially less.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yeah, but do they have potted trees with built-in leather benches surrounded by indulgent overuse of glass?


  1. I would buy Apple products that I can customize through the Apple Store (computers, iPhones, iPads) specifically because I want to customize them. Stuff like cables, headphones, or third party products, I would be happy to get somewhere else if they offered a better deal.

  2. The retail store is for:
    “Handholders”, first time buyers and folks who want to play with it before they buy it.

    People who want expert advice from actual Apple users.

    First timers often have no idea how to set it up and use it. They still have old PC habits.

    No condemnation for being new to Apple.

    Last time in BestBuy I saw someone talked out of an Apple laptop by the service rep. Time before that the sales rep tried to sell antivirus software, for a PC to the customer.

    Once you’ve been in the Apple waters for a while you’re able to purchase online and from other retailers with confidence,

  3. The only reason to ever go to an Apple Store is because someone, well meaning, gave you a gift card. Then when you tell them again you don’t want any overpriced Beats headphones, and what you are looking for, they sort of look at you like they have never heard of such, since they haven’t. At real Apple Resellers you can even use inside Apple jokes that are understood. If you try that at an Apple Store the best you may get is, “Oh, yeah. I think my grandfather had one of those.”

    Last time I was there I asked for a thunderbolt to firewire adapter and I am pretty sure the kid didn’t know what firewire was. Then he had to call someone to come show me. Then she tried to sell me headphones…

  4. Have never enjoyed shopping at Apple stores. Too crowded and noisy in the Bay Area.

    Bought my 2013 Macbook Pro at their store in St. Louis at the Galleria. Excellent facility, large. Felt quiet, maybe they had carpeting to absorb sound.

    But everything else from my iPod Touch to iPad Air 2 has come from Best Buy and B&H.

    For total shopping silence, though, I hear the Microsoft stores can’t be beat.

  5. One thing the Apple Store has started doing is same day delivery. It’s $19, which sounds like a lot, until you consider waiting a day or two for delivery, or going to pick it up yourself, vs it showing up on its own in one hour.

    Had a DOA Airport at a client’s house the other day, and instead of saying we can’t finish because this thing is dead, or “I’ll be back,” tapped a few buttons on my iPhone and a delivery person from Apple was there in 35 minutes.

    Not only that, but because I’d purchased all of the equipment at their store, they gave me a break on the delivery cost.

  6. Buy stuff that doesn’t typically go on sale at other stores ie. MacBook Pro power adapters. In fact my Best Buy charges $10 more than Apple for them.

    Best Buy etc. is pretty much breaking even or losing money, whenever they put an Apple product on sale. Hoping you buy Geek Squad warranty (which is not AppleCare), or something else in store.

    A couple years ago, Best Buy lost $2,000,000,000 in quarter 1. Perhaps they can afford it if they make $10,000,000,000 in quarter 4 because everybody associates them with the cheapest price and gets accustomed to shopping there.

    The choice is yours. Keep in mind, by shopping with your dollars, you are also capable of putting high quality value added resellers out of business. There are plenty of Apple Specialist stores that were selling Apple products, long before Apple retail stores existed. Apple products used to be shoved in the dusty back corner of a Best Buy.

    Bottom line, we are all looking for value when we shop. $ is one component of value. If it’s all you care about, fine, but don’t expect much more than a transaction from your reseller.

    Apple doesn’t care where you buy your products, as long as you buy Apple products. Apple stores are mainly for advertising and showcasing the product.

  7. Read the full article. Most of the products quoted are older or next on the way out. If you have been paying attention then you know Apple clears the channel by letting others discount them. (The only exception in the article is the iPad Pro.)

    The other factor is are you the kind of person who waits for the end of a model year to get a deal as the 2015 MacBook in the article is an example of or do you want the latest.

    Creating a business account at the Apple store allows my purchases to accumulate and I just got 10% off the latest MacBook fully loaded plus 10% off AppleCare.

    I also find that if I sell my Mac laptop every 2 years with 1 year of AppleCare left, I always get at least 60-70% % of the cost of the new one. Plus I get the accumulated discount at the Applestore and I am using the latest Apple technology for minimal upgrade cost. In the article’s example I would sell him my 2015 MacBook (which was minimally loaded, 128GB storage) and upgrade to the latest with 512 storage and faster processor for about $700.

    The I would use my gift card to feel like I got AppleCare for free.

  8. I never shop at the Apple Store. B & H Photo carries almost all things Apple and best of all, it is TAX FREE.

    I have saved an enormous amount of money avoiding taxes.

  9. Being a creative pro I’ve stopped purchasing new Apple gear completely. They’re not supporting me, why should I support them?

    Funnily enough today I found some mailers Apple had sent me under by business name, advertising the old Mac Pro and so on.
    It was a sad reminder of how Apple used to give a shit.

  10. Back in the Dark Ages when Apple was first,opening stores it was just about the only place one could consistently find accessories and software because the big chains were all in for Windows.
    Now Apple stores are hipster hangouts with mostly stuff you can get anywhere but not stuff a Mac user might need. Try finding a Thunderbolt hub for your Mac at the Apple Store. You can get any flavor of crappy Beats Headphones that are available damn near anywhere, just don’t expect to see quality third party Mac stuff.

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