Graduation gifts

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Well time once again to look at buying MacBook Pros. They are working on their mid 2017 model right now so if you are thinking about getting one, here are some things to know assuming you are using your computer for mainly web browsing, photos and not super heavy stuff.

Things to delete

To save money here are some things to think about in order…
Processor speed. These days the speed bumps are very small, so getting the slowest processor is nearly always a good tradeoff.
Screen size. The 13″ is really much smaller and less expensive, but the 15″ is good for software development.
Touchbar. This is expensive and hasn’t really taken off. So if you are economizing, this is not a bad thing to drop.

What to invest in

Here are the things that you probably want to invest in, with the slow rate of technical progress, you can expect a laptop to last a good 8 years and maybe 10. The real limits are the amount of RAM that you have and the amount of disk because they are hard to change. So in order are the list of things to splurge on.
Applecare. Yes this may seem expensive, but for the first three years, it is great to be able to get things fixed and even one screen destruction means you get the dollars back.
Protective case and keyboard cover. Spend the extra $50 on the case and the cover. This is a good way to keep dust out of the keyboard (a common failure for these keyboards, not to mention the coke you will spill on it). And the case keeps the aluminum nice and when Apple looks into repairing your computer, they will check to see how badly dinged it is. A clear one works great.
512GB-1TB. More disk than you think you need. Because the disks are not replaceable, this is one of the hardest to fix. Right now the minimum is 512GB and it would be really nice to get 1TB. Apple charges a monster premium for 1TB so it really is painful to buy.
16GB Memory. You don’t need this now, but my biggest regret with the 2008 and 2010 Macs I bought was settling on 4GB back then, memory seems to be the one thing that modern operating systems chew up.

Where to buy

Right now there are two ways to buy Macs. The first, if you are buying for a student, is to the the higher education site. This typically gives you a modest discount on your computer. About $70 or so. The discounts get better in the fall though, so if you can wait for the August promotion.
The second way is to use Appleinsider pricing. They keep track of the retail prices of everything and you can often get great deals with Applecare. As an example the 512GB 16GB MacBook Pro 13″ is about $70 off as is the non-Touchbar model¬†at $2.2K.
If you really want to skimp a bit, the easiest thing to do is to drop to the 512GB which is $1800 because they are charging such a big premium for the 1TB model. This includes AppleCare is a pretty good value.
If you add a quick look at Cashbackmonitor.com, you can typically save another 2% off of that.

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