FIRM'S TRIALS NOT AFFECTING SYSTEM SALES.
Apple Computer may be in turmoil, but its Macintosh systems are a better deal than ever, vendors and consultants say.
"This is probably the best time to buy Macintosh that we've seen in the last year," said Mike Descher, vice president of operations at Mac Universe in Tarzana, where business is up 20 percent from this time a year ago.
"Apple has lots of rebates on most of their units and there have been significant price drops in the last 30 days on most units. When you compare to PCs, Macs are very competitive and in some instances cheaper."
Descher said a Power PC-based system that cost nearly $2,900 a year ago now goes for less than $1,400 - "and that includes about $1,100 worth of software."
Chad Woods, a partner in TECK Design, a Macintosh value-added reseller in Westlake Village, said he received a new round of price cuts over the weekend. A Performa 6300 system that cost $2,799 Friday, for example, costs $2,499 today, and a PowerMac 7290 that cost $1,699 (not including monitor and keyboard) goes for $1,499.
Consumers who purchase a high-end laser printer and 17-inch monitor - total cost about $1,950 - with their system also are eligible for a $500 rebate, Woods said.
"They've dropped their prices on the inventory, and it has stirred up the sales," Woods said.
Apple's financial problems do concern some dealers. Bijan Raphael, owner of Computer Palace in Woodland Hills, advised holding off on a Mac purchase for the time being.
"The company's going through a lot of problems, and I would wait until the problems are resolved," he said.
Descher acknowledged that some consumers are concerned about Apple's stability, but he is not. "I tell them it's very difficult for a $12 billion computer company to go out of business. The company is very sound and it has excellent products."
Deborah Shadovitz, a Los Angeles computer consultant and trainer who is also on the board of the Los Angeles Macintosh Group, warns that the deepest discounts are for older, less flexible Macintosh systems. She recommends paying a little extra for a Macintosh system that's expandable.
"Like anything else, it's better to buy something you can grow into than grow out of," Shadovitz said.