This page describes a variety of options for purchasing Apple Mac computers in the Iowa City area. This guide was written by Greg Johnson, a local tech consultant serving the area for over 30 years. The list below is in alphabetical order.
Choosing an Apple Vendor
Because Apple prices are fairly consistent from one store to another, a decision about where to purchase a Mac will be based on factors other than price.
If you have a store card, you may be entitled to cash back, which is similar to getting a discount on the purchase. The information below can help you choose what store best fits your interests.
Purchasing online from Apple or other sources is also an option, but this guide assumes the buyer wants a local store they can work with for their purchase, and possibly support later.
Some Buying Advice
When purchasing Apple computers and devices, the lowest price for a model configuration might not be a good choice. Paying a little more at the time of purchase can get you a much nicer computer. For example, the basic iMac is about $1,300. However, for $1,500 you can get much better configuration that includes a better processor, Ethernet port, keyboard with fingerprint reader, and four USB C ports instead of two. You’ll find this with other Apple products, where spending a little more to step up from the base model gets you a lot more.
The Best Buy store in Coralville has a good selection of Apple computers and other Apple devices. It’s like a mini Apple store, making it a good place for those wanting to see the full selection of computers. Usually there are specially trained customer service people in the store you can ask specific Apple questions. [View Coralville Store Web Page]
You can check the Best Buy online product listing for Apple computers available in-store by filtering the results, or choose from a broader inventory online. [View]
In addition to shopping in-store, home delivery of online purchases is an option, or you can choose store delivery and pickup. Some people like these purchase options.
Best Buy has an annual tech support plan called Total Tech that costs about $200 per year and comes with additional benefits if selected during purchase. For example, the normal 15-day return period is extended to 60 days, and product protection is extended from one year to two years. [Learn More]
The in-store selection of Apple computers at Costco is quite good. Some people prefer shopping at Costco because of their business practices.
Costco members get free unlimited lifetime tech support over the phone for each tech device purchased, and product warranties are extended from one year to two years at no additional cost. The free concierge service comes with other benefits. [Learn More]
If you use a Costco Visa card, you can earn 2% cash back on your purchases with Costco. The Visa card extends a one-year warranty to three years. [Learn More]
Costco also offers additional extended warranty options through Allstate. [Learn More]
When combined with the Costco Visa card, you can get even longer coverage on purchase at a big savings over what you might pay through a store like Best Buy.
To learn more about Costco warranty options, read “Costco Computer and Tech Warranty Guide” on the Iowa City Tech website. [View]
Kirkwood Eagle Tech
Located in Cedar Rapids, the Eagle Tech sales and service center is part of the award-winning Kirkwood Community College. [Learn More]
Education discounts are available to those affiliated with a higher education institution.
If you’re not already familiar with Kirkwood, here are some interesting facts… The 680-acre campus in Cedar Rapids includes a 400-acre working farm, 27 buildings with 1.4 million square feet of interior learning space, and a 15-acre athletic complex. Kirkwood students come from 100 different countries, all over the United States and all 99 Iowa counties. With 14 locations across 7 counties, Kirkwood is the area’s leading provider of accessible, affordable, and exceptional education and training. [Learn More]
Although Target does not sell Apple Mac computers, they do have a good selection of iPads. Depending on the model you buy, an iPad can be configured with an external keyboard, mouse, and display to work like a desktop computer. [View Apple Products at Target]
In addition to the Target store at the Coral Ridge Mall, there is also a location in downtown Iowa City with expanded tech options to meet the needs of college students. [Learn More]
Apple Computer Repairs
Because Iowa City does not have an Apple store, people assume there is no authorized Apple repair center. We actually have an official Apple repair center for upgrades on older Macs as well as in-warranty repairs of Mac computers. Repairs of iPhones and other Apple products are also provided. To learn more, contact Technology Associates. [Learn More]
Consider an Upgrade
Instead of replacing your existing computer, you might consider having it upgraded with more memory or a faster hard drive. Upgrades are only possible with some Apple computer models. You can check with a repair shop by providing your serial number to find out if an upgrade is possible and what the cost would be.
Some people are comfortable with buying used computers. Online vendors like Amazon have refurbished models at a slight discount. Best Buy has “open box” deals. Apple also has some used computers available. Online marketplaces such as Craigslist or eBay are possibly less reliable and might not provide a 90-day warranty or return option.
START CLEAN — If you purchase a used computer, it is advisable to make sure the system is securely wiped clean for these reasons:
- A secure erase and fresh OS install removes any possible malware or spyware.
- It is an opportunity to make sure the system is running properly because a fresh OS install is a fairly demanding task.
- This ensures the latest operating system is on the computer.
- A secure wipe of the drive ensures that any later data recovery efforts will only result in your own files and not those of any previous owner.
Due to the additional work involved with a used computer, you may need some assistance from a tech savvy friend or paid consultant if you’re not familiar with the above process.
If you end up paying to have a used computer cleaned up and prepared for use, then this reduces the money you would be saving in buying used.
Consider Your Alternatives
You may have decided upon an Apple iMac all-in-one desktop computer, or one of the MacBook laptop computers. If you need a full desktop-class operating system, and want to go with Apple, then those are good choices.
However, you may also want to research the iPad options available. Most people’s computing needs can probably be satisfied with an iPad. For example, an iPad can be setup with an external mouse, keyboard, and large display. This turns the iPad into something like a desktop computer. It can also plug into a big screen TV and become a media station, or stream through an Apple TV device.
The iPad operation system (called iOS) is very different than a full desktop operating system like macOS. The programs are slightly different. For example, Microsoft Office runs on an iPad, but the more advanced features may be absent. If you can adjust your daily computing to fit within what an iPad can do, it may save you a lot of time and money.
If you’ve considered iPad, but ultimately decided on an iMac or MacBook model of computer, then continue reading to explore some local options.
This article is not monetized. It is not a paid post. There are no paid links or referral links.
Photo Credit: The photos on this page were taken at the Apple Store in New York City by Greg Johnson.