Proof That Macs Hold Their Value

by Chris Howard Jun 22, 2009

You've all heard that Apple computers retain their value better than PCs. How would you feel if you bought a four year old iBook five years ago and were still able to get 50% of what you paid for it? Stoked, I bet. And surprised.

Way back in May 2004, on behalf of the kids, I bought my wife a G3 iBook 366 Firewire clamshell laptop. The costs over the five years have been:

iBook (purchased 2004): AU$405 (plus AU$20 delivery)
256MB RAM (2004) :AU$115
New battery (2008): AU$80

In total we've spent AU$620 on it.

In tax accounting, you write a computer off over 3 years. Well that little iBook could have been written off three times by now! To the taxman it's worth less than nothing.

And yet, it just sold on eBay for AU$200. And looking through completed listings, this is probably the average price for an iBook of that age. PC laptops of similar age are averaging closer to half that - though they do start out cheaper.

We might grumble about Apple's cheapest laptop still costing US$999, but when you're selling secondhand, that comes back in your favour. Apple's higher prices are certainly good for the resale value. It means you end up with something that is still worth selling, instead of just chucking.

Personally, I wouldn't have paid AU$50 for it and if we hadn't checked how much they were going for, would have either tossed it or given it to some four year old as a toy.

The thing that lets it down most is the 800x600 resolution. If not for that it would be a lot more usable. However, if all you want to do is word processing and email, it is a damn fine little machine. And it's got a handle.

But I still don't think it's worth AU$200.

When you can buy a brand new Dell Inspiron mini 9 netbook or a even secondahand iBook 1.33GHz with wireless for a bit under $500 (which is still a very good laptop - I know, coz that's what my wife replaced her G3 iBook with), why would you pay AU$200 for a 0.366 GHz iBook without wireless and only 800x600 resolution?

Consider also that that netbook is so much better in every way, even screen resolution. And can run Mac OS X. And it's one third of the weight, i.e. 1kg compared to 3kg.

Fair enough, it is two and a half times the price. But if you shop around you can find decent netbooks much closer in price.

But why compare it to a netbook anyway? Because as I mentioned above, both will be primarily used for email, word processing and web browsing.

Whoever has bought this iBook really probably wanted something like a netbook but couldn't stretch the budget.

It's made me realise there's a strong market for these old iBooks. Although I suspect their unique look helps too.

It certainly is the age of the laptop. If you've got an old iBook or two gathering dust somewhere, what are you waiting for? It's a seller's market.

Man, I wish I had a dozen to sell.


  • Could have been someone who collects old Macs.

    Or, who doesn’t have a clue about computers.

    LorD1776 had this to say on Jun 22, 2009 Posts: 19
  • “And can run Mac OS X.”  Uh that would be a No.  At least not without a lot of technical and ethical and probably legal issues (not that they would sue 1 person), but you can’t just say a Dell can run OS X -without putting in all of the caveats.
    Some one who doesn’t know much about computers is going to waste (or try to waste) a lot of money - thinking Dell now has OS X support -which it doesn’t.

    Kaekae had this to say on Jun 22, 2009 Posts: 9
  • Actually, the Dell mini is the perfect netbook to install OS X on, and quite a few people have done it. I wouldn’t do it, but some consider it ethical if they pay for a retail version, regardless of Apple’s EULA. Here is just one article on the subject.

    LorD1776 had this to say on Jun 22, 2009 Posts: 19
  • Yep, Chris, Macs are always expensive, even when buying them used.  wink

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Jun 22, 2009 Posts: 2220
  • It’s simple really.  Supply and demand.  When there is demand for something I can charge more.  When people aren’t willing to pay what I ask demand falls and so does the price.  Apple can charge what it does because some people are willing to pay.  Same for a BMW, Mercedes Benz, Lexus etc.

    Khürt Williams had this to say on Jun 24, 2009 Posts: 45
  • Cost too much.

    Alpina had this to say on Sep 01, 2011 Posts: 154
  • The smartphone in the form of Android and iPhones has changed everything we know about telephones. No longer are they just devices that we used to make a quick call to keep our loved ones updated on where we are. android app developers

    android app developer had this to say on Oct 07, 2011 Posts: 4
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