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I'm trying to determine if it's better to purchase a Mac from an Apple Store or from a separate retailer. Beyond the hands on and focused purchase experience are there long term advantages derived from an Apple store purchase (ongoing support etc.) as opposed to purchasing from an independent retailer?

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7 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Aside from the service and other qualitative aspects of dealing directly with Apple, the only "advantage" of purchasing direct from the company is the up to date warranty registration. If you purchase your Apple product through a 3rd party, Apple will have on file an "estimated" purchase date based on the model's manufacturing date.

If you want to claim all of the 365 days on your warranty, you will have to send them the receipt (a scan or picture suffices) in addition to other purchase information so they can update their database to reflect the exact date of purchase.

Other than that, it makes little difference at the end of the day.

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  • Apple One to One is only available at the time of purchase and only from Apple online or retail.
  • Apple retail store return policy is excellent. I did not know which of three USB hubs would satisfy the taste of an interior-decorator client, so I bought them all, let her decide, and returned the rejects. I did not know which portable wireless speakers would perform better, so I bought two and returned one after in-home trial. I did not know whether my home network would see any improvement from the 5th generation Airport Extreme, so I bought three, experimented, and returned one (performance improved about eightfold).
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There isn't a meaningful difference between buying at an Apple Store or another retailer beyond your experience in-store. Personally, I prefer Apple stores to most of the other computer retailers just in terms of shopping experience, but a new Mac is a new Mac.

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You get a lovely drawstring handled bag with the Apple logo for one.

Also, if you have an Apple ID they will email a copy of your receipt to the associated email address.

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3  
The bag depends on the location and the item purchased. I actually haven't seen them here in Canada. Additionally, they will email a copy of your receipt to any email address, not just the one you used to create your Apple ID. –  cksum Oct 7 '11 at 10:57
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If you buy something from the Apple Store, for example a Macbook, and a newer model comes out within two weeks, they will swap it no questions asked for a new one. You have to have all original packaging. Also, I tried to do this after throwing away the packaging, and they couldn't swap the computer, but gave me back around $200 to compensate (after some of cajoling).

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I had other experiences. In my AppleStore in Zurich the "purchase adviser" would not know the difference between a i5 and i7 processor. Well, he didn't even know that these processors exist. I strongly doubt that people in the AppleStore have any clue what they are selling. That's my reason to go 3rd party.

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You cannot take the year of Apple classes for $99 if you don't purchase there. I called because I wanted them to price match a deal from Best Buy for MacBook Air . They discounted but would not match( almost $80 difference).I asked about the classes and they said you can only buy them if you get it at their store. So I would be paying $80 more and tax on that, plus the $99 for classes. Sad because I was really looking forward to them.

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