Ask Lifehacker: Is This A Dumb Time To Buy An iMac?

Ask Lifehacker: Is This A Dumb Time To Buy An iMac?

Dear Lifehacker, I’m thinking of buying an iMac, but looking at the previous release dates it looks like a new model is going to be coming out soon. Unfortunately I really don’t have much time to wait, as if I buy during this month (approximately) I can get some tax rebates. What would you guys recommend? Buying the old version or waiting for a new version? I guess if worst comes to worst I can wait for a few weeks and if nothing comes out by then I’ll buy the current iMac? Regards, MacLovin

Picture by soopahgrover

Dear MacLovin,

I don’t claim any particular expertise when it comes to Mac release dates (quite honestly, most of them fly by without my even noticing). In the past, we’ve pointed to MacRumors’ Buying Guide as a usual resource for likely Apple behaviour, and that’s a good place to start. Its current recommendation for the iMac is “Don’t buy — updates soon”, so if your main motivation is having the absolute latest (with alleged touchscreen capability), then hanging around would seem sensible.

Buyers’ remorse is endemic when you buy a computer — you’ll invariably spot a better deal or a different option within days of unpacking your shiny new box. If you really need a new machine for business purposes (as opposed to taking advantage of a tax break for what’s essentially a personal purchase), then a few weeks’ extra productivity and a sizeable refund might be worth more than whatever new frills get added to the next machine.

Assuming it is a genuine business purchase, you can always claim it next financial year, even if you don’t get the bonus tax breaks that apply this time around. Buying the newest technology ensures you’ll get a longer working life out of the machine.

Apologies for the lack of a clear recommendation — it really does vary depending on your circumstances, but the general principles are pretty clear. Enjoy your new machine, whenever you get it.



  • Keep your eye out on the Refurb store..
    That way you get a late model computer at a discount to the RRP and Street Price.
    You should also have no trouble claiming it against tax.

    • Can somebody clarify the latest ‘tax break’ rule for me.

      I thought buying a mac/pc had been removed from personal allowance?

      f I bought one would I have to claim a rebate through ‘work’??

  • Having experienced end-of-financial-year Apple stress, my suggestion is to not wait until the last week of June then demand a computer by the end of the financial year. That’s when all the higher-end machines get really popular and are often sold out – I’ve even heard that suppliers (not Apple – the company who supplies Apple gear to non-Apple stores) will try to delay the sales into the next financial year if they’ve made their financial year targets.

    To be honest, unless you’re buying from Apple directly (and even then, it’s still luck) if new computers were announced next Tuesday, it’s still impossible to guarantee that you’d get it by the end of June.

    Basically, end of financial year sucks for buying Apple gear as everyone wants to pay and pick up as close to the end of June as possible. Unless you need a computer and need the tax break, you’d probably be better off waiting for the next model even if it’s post 30/6.

  • Here’s an idea; buy one now then immediately sell it (brand new), you’ll get roughly what you payed for it. Retain the receipt and claim it this financial year then when the new macs are announced you can buy one whilst still enjoying the tax breaks this year.

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