When Should You Buy Apple's New MacBook Pro Laptops?

By , dealnews Senior Feature Writer

Apple refreshed its entire fleet of laptops Monday afternoon, fitting them with Intel's new Ivy Bridge processor. The laptops were all available to order as of yesterday, and their starting prices range from $999 for the updated 11" MacBook Air to $2,199 for the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

Although the thinner, 0.7" MacBook Pro with Retina Display stole the show, it's the updated "original" $1,799 MacBook Pro that provides the best of both worlds — especially when compared to the MacBook Pro with Retina Display's starting price of $2,199. However, before you sprint to the nearest Apple Store, we recommend you pause. As we've shown you before, you can save a respectable amount of cash if you wait just a few days to purchase your new Mac.

Possible Savings in as Few as 2 Days

If the previous generation 15" MacBook Pro is any indication, you can save as much as $45 by waiting just two days to buy your 15" Ivy Bridge MacBook Pro. (The generation before that saw a $100 discount on the same day of its release.) While that may not seem like a lot when dealing with a $1,799 laptop, it's enough savings to load your iPhone with a respectable amount of new apps. Alternatively, you can use that money toward the cost of a new USB 3.0 hard drive, now that the MacBook Pro supports USB 3.0 devices.

Naturally, the longer you wait, the steeper the discount you'll find. Shoppers who waited three months from the release of last year's MacBook Pro saved a solid $299 off Cupertino's popular laptop. That's the biggest discount we've seen on any new, current Mac computer.

Say Hello to the MacBook Pro with Retina Display

As we mentioned earlier, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display was the most rumored and anticipated product announced at yesterday's keynote; it has gained a lot of attention for it's stunning resolution and thinner profile. However, because we don't have prior deal data on this new class of laptop, it's hard to tell when we'll see the first discount. (Update: See the note below about a limited Expercom deal we found today.)

Nevertheless, we'd recommend eager buyers wait a few days before purchasing this system. In a sense, this is a first generation product for Apple and consumers will be able to make a more informed buying decision after reading the initial batch of reviews. And, more importantly, during that timeframe we could see a modest discount or two.

Regardless of the Model, Be Sure to Shop at Resellers

In addition to waiting a few days, our deal archives also show that the best deals on MacBook Pro laptops come from Apple's authorized resellers, which include stores like Amazon, MacMall, and MacConnection. By shopping at these stores, rather than directly at the Apple Store (which charges full retail price), you'll have a better chance of scoring a deal.

Ultimately, whether you decide to wait two days or two months, our point is that there will in fact be solid deals on the new MacBook Pro laptops in the future. The common misconception that Apple products are never discounted is pure myth, as we demonstrated with our feature about when to buy a Mac. And if you want the ultimate savings, well, you can also go for one of the very-capable (and now highly-discounted) previous-generation, refurbished MacBook Pros.

Update: Expercom currently offers the Apple MacBook Pro Core i7 Quad 2.3GHz 15" Widescreen Notebook with Retina Display for $2,080.97 with $12.50 for shipping, which is $105.53 less than what Apple charges. The catch? You have to be an existing Expercom customer who has already placed an order. Still, for the lucky shoppers who are eligible, this is a 5% off discount and slightly better than the initial 3% cut we saw on the 2011 MacBook Pro. And even if you can't avail of the deal, it's still further proof that you should keep an eye on reseller deals before making an Apple purchase.

An avid gadget lover, Louis Ramirez has covered technology for Gizmodo, CNET, Laptop, and various other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @LouisRamirez.

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DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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Want to save money? Don't buy crApple at all.
If you are eligible for Adobe Education pricing, you can get great discounts, but the approval process is convoluted and unnecessarily difficult. I purchased Adobe Design Standard 5.5 in March for $65 direct from Adobe during a sale.
Although Apple's eligibility requirements for education pricing are generous, some software bundles offered to Apple Education customers carry their OWN eligibility requirements which may be much more restrictive. Most notably, Apple will happily sell you deeply discounted Adobe products along with your Mac purchase, but you will then need to register those products directly with Adobe & submit photocopies of a current student id & course registrations...  
If you are eligible for the education discount, you could save $430. 
2.6 15" Retina $2799; 16GB Mem $200; AppleCare $349 from Apple Store Total $3348
2.6 15" Retina $2599; 16GB Mem $180; AppleCare $239 from Apple Education Store Total $3018
less Back to School $100 in iTunes for Total of $2918. A savings of $430. 13% Discount.
If you choose the 2.315" Retina, discount is over 16%.
And remember, if you wait a couple weeks, there's a good chance that one of those folks who bought on day one will have returned their new toy because of some small defect and it will be offered in the refurbished bin.  And don't dismiss those refurbs!  They have been tested 100% for problems (unlike the 'sampled' assembly line models) and you can get the same applecare warranty on them!
Apple online and retail stores actually do offer substantial discounts on new Macs when purchased for student use -- up to $100 off list up front. Plus, an additional $100 App Store credit is being offered thru the summer months; purchases by or on behalf of students at all grade levels -- from grammar to graduate -- are eligible. Also, some upgrade options, such as extra RAM or larger capacity drives may only be available when purchasing a computer directly from Apple.

Apple and many online retailers also feature various promotional bundles throughout the year, which offer substantial discounts on popular software, printers and accessories purchased at the same time as a new Mac. Contents of promo bundles vary widely by retailer, and may save additional hundreds of dollars on items you already intend to purchase. Consider the actual value/usefulness of bundled items -- rather than being swayed by claims of huge bundle discounts.Finally, keep in mind that Apple collects sales tax on purchases for many more locations than most other online retailers...