Apple’s Back to School Special

Our middle daughter Tiffany begins college this coming January. She has just finished High School graduation and is now trying to earn money to afford to go to school this coming winter. Recently she was accepted into Brigham Young University – Idaho which is the campus in Rexburg Idaho as opposed to Provo Utah. There are pros and cons to going to BYU-Idaho. On the con side BYU-Idaho does not have the collegiate sports programs that the BYU-Utah campus has. This means that she will not be able to compete in NCAA track like she hoped. On the pro side the campus is slightly smaller than BYU-Utah and therefore has a closer student body. She will also be able to share an apartment with her sister Mallorie who will be a Senior during Tiffany’s Freshman year. This of course could be a pro and a con in itself depending on how much sister stuff they can deal with. When the kids graduate from high school my gift to each of them has been a laptop computer. It is nearly impossible for a kid to survive in college without their own computer and many colleges are now requiring a laptop for several classes.

When Ashley and Mallorie graduated the choice of a laptop was relatively simple. I went out and bought the fastest and lightest Windows laptop I could find. My reasoning for this was that this computer would be packed around in a backpack for 4 years (if I am lucky, with Mallorie it actually will be 5 years). Technology changes at such a rapid pace that what was a fast and light computer when they entered college becomes a behemoth dog-slow computer by the time graduation day arrives. That is just the price you pay in the realm of technology advancement.
With Tiffany I have a completely different issue. After having lived through the Windows XP to Windows Vista fiasco that has been occurring in the marketplace my conviction to the Windows platform is shaky at best especially from a laptop perspective. I am seriously questioning whether Windows Vista is appropriate for Tiffany’s needs and whether it will remain viable through the life of her college career. The more I consider this the more I am leaning towards a Macintosh laptop as the preferred computer for her.
Moving to a Macintosh is not without its own dilemmas. For example, I would need to not only support the Windows applications that are installed on the family computers but I would also be on the hook to support the Macintosh apps as well. This could become a problem since I myself do not have a Macintosh (yet). I would be flying a little blind. It is not that I have not had experience with a Mac before so it would not be completely inappropriate but it could be a challenge. Another concern I have is that the MacBook and the MacBook Pro are relatively old technology. They have both had a recent refresh but that was basically just an upgrade to more current processors. The architecture of the machines themselves are still aging. There are rumors that there may be new models released in the fall but it is questionable whether this refresh will line up with the timing of getting Tiffany’s computer. Apple is also compounding the problem with the introduction of the Back to School Special.
Basically Apple is offering a free iPod Touch or iPod Nano when you purchase a new Mac for college. They are further enticing you to buy by having the school offer $200 off from the retail price. BYU-Idaho has recently come out with a new computer policy where they will be requiring all incoming freshman to have a laptop and preferably a Macintosh. They have further stipulated that all laptops should have a minimum of 3 years warranty period to assist students in keeping their computers in working order. Since Apple like other vendors have standardized on a warranty period shorter than that; it will necessitate the purchase of an extended warranty. An extended warranty can be expensive and care will need to be taken in order to make sure that everything is covered.
Tiffany and Mallorie both think this is perfect. Not only does Tiffany get a shiny new laptop but they also have an iPod. It doesn’t seem to matter that they already have an iPod Nano each, they both want the iPod Touch. I can already see where this is going. Mallorie has been telling me for months that her computer is old and slow and she would really love to get a new one. And if she can get a MacBook with a free iPod that would be perfect and she could help Tiffany. That sounds great on paper but I can already tell you that it would be me who would be expected to troubleshoot problems on both computers so basically Mallorie just wants the new technology and the free iPod Touch. The sad part is that she’ll probably get it. Sometimes I just can’t say no but don’t tell her that. The one question remaining in my mind is would I be better to jump on this deal or would it be better to wait until after September 15 to see if there is a new MacBook announced that would be more future proof. It’s a tough decision and I have no idea which way I’ll go.

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