4 Apple Products to Buy Used Right Now

It's no secret that I love Apple gear. It's the entire premise of this website. But it's also no secret that Apple gear is expensive.

Fortunately, you can save quite a bit of money by picking your Apple stuff up second-hand.

When buying used gear, you need to take a few things into consideration:
  • How much life is left in this prior-generation product? 
  • Will it still work for its intended purpose? For how much longer?
  • Will I mind if it comes with the prior owners' wear and tear?
These products check each of those boxes.

Even when they've been replaced by better products, they still do what they do VERY well - and will continue to do so indefinitely.

In each case, wear and tear is either unlikely, and/or will not affect the product's functionality.

4. iMac (2009-present)

The iMac has gone through quite a few design changes over the years.

What started out as a blobby multi-colored TV set evolved rather quickly into the aluminum and glass workhorse we all love today.

That said, the iMac's design evolution got a LOT less pronounced after 2009.

The first aluminum iMac was released in 2007, but it looks a little different. Most notably, the bottom edge of the glass screen is rounded.

The Late-2009 iMac brought us the current "look":

Unibody aluminum, glass screen with a black bezel. Black Apple logo dead center at the bottom.

And the bezel is a full-bleed straight-line across the bottom of the screen.

Later iterations of the iMac have brought us some tweaks - (a Retina screen option, and the sides are now ridiculously thin) - but the FRONT of the iMac looks the same.

If the price is right, going with a 2010-era iMac, maxing out the RAM (an easy, accessible DIY job), and running Yosemite can give you a fantastic Apple computer that LOOKS current-gen, for just a few hundred dollars.

3. Apple TV (3rd Gen)

It's pretty clear that Apple has something up their sleeve in the AppleTV space.

They recently reduced the retail price of the AppleTV by a full 30%.

That makes us think that a revamp is coming SOON.

The good news is, this has decimated the sales price for used AppleTVs.

While they recently retailed for $100 and sold for $90 on eBay, they now retail for $70 and can sell for $50 and under.

Suddenly, a house with AppleTVs on every TV set seems feasible!

Keep in mind - this AppleTV will be "obsolete" in short order, in all likelihood.

It's likely that the 4th Gen AppleTV will be a much better device. with wireless AC, support for game controllers, a full App Store, and maybe even support for Apple's rumored TV service.

At that point, you'll probably replace your primary TV's ATV with the current generation, and live with 3rd gen on bedroom/office televisions.

On the plus side, this will drive the price of current-gen AppleTVs down even farther. And they'll still be good for streaming music and movies - if you can show it on your iPad, you can mirror it to your AppleTV.

2. SSD iPod (Nano or Shuffle)

"Why would I want an iPod?" It's true. Your iPhone can do literally everything that your iPod could, and better.

You probably don't even OWN an iPod anymore, or if you do, it's tucked away in a drawer

But there is a virtue in using a dedicated single-purpose gadget. There are times, believe it or not, when you're going to want music and NOT want to have your phone with you.

Most notably, when exercising.

Jogging with your iPhone in your shorts pocket is a terrible idea. It can fall onto the concrete, it can get sweaty, or fall in a puddle.

It can or get stolen -- those white earbuds are easy for thieves to spot, and they helpfully point to exactly where your iPhone is stashed.

Replacing an iPhone is an expensive proposition.

Replacing a used iPod is not.

Plus, iPods with solid-state storage (like the various iterations of the Nano, or the Shuffle) are LIGHT. You won't even notice it when you're exercising.

Lugging an iPhone around seems ridiculous in comparison.

You may want to pick up a bigger iPod with a spinning HD inside -- personally, I'd like to pick up a U2 Edition 7th Generation if I found one at the right price, mostly as a collector's item.

But I'd recommend against hard-drive based iPods, especially when we're anticipating using the iPod in an exercise/high impact environment.

Hard drives do NOT like to be jostled.

1. Airport Express / Airport Extreme

If there's one thing I've learned while running this blog, it is that people LOVE BUYING USED AIRPORT EXTREMES.

The post about how to tell different models of Airport Extremes apart is - by an order of magnitude -
the most popular post in AAAD history.

And you know what? That makes sense.

Airport Extremes are difficult to tell apart (at least until the most recent generation), they are high quality, they last forever, and the last-generation can be purchased used for 50% of retail or less.

I actually prefer the old-gen Airport Express to the current generation, because it stays "mounted" on the wall when plugged in.

The current-gen model has to sit on a flat surface.

I have never purchased an Airport Extreme new, and I've owned three:

  • A first-gen Time Machine, which I used until the drive died, then replaced the drive, and then used until the power supply fried;
  • A 4th Generation Airport Extreme A1354, which is still running strong (at my parents' house); and
  • A current generation A1521, currently my primary router.
Each time, I managed to save at least $80 off of retail, just by looking on Craigslist and eBay. 

Getting a router in "used" condition is hardly a problem - we're buying networking equipment for its functionality, not its looks. 

Provided that the device powers up, you should be fine going secondhand. 

Just make sure that the router has the wireless-spec that you need, and that it's compatible with the current iteration of Airport Utility. 


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