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The Right Way to buy a Brand New iPod, iPad, or Mac laptop!

I try to be as sincere with everyone as I can about how practical their iPod, iPad or laptop is to repair. Remember I want to keep as many of these devices working as possible so the land fill isn't added to unnecessarily and Apple isn't obliged to manufacture (over-manufacture really) one more iPod/iPad/laptop/iMac from fresh resources.

However there are times when it is just best to replace the item. Sometimes a water damaged device has too many things wrong to be practical to repair other times a part isn't made any more... think IDE hard drives used in the 1st through the 4th generation and Photo iPods.

When that happens I tell people straight up, "This won't yield a good outcome and you need to replace it". Frequently I am then asked if I happen to sell used iPods/iPads/laptops and my answer is always the same. "If I sold used versions of those devices then people would believe I was trying to sell them an iPod when told I couldn't make theirs work." I don't want people to believe I have a conflict of interest by selling used or restored devices. Apple does this. When you bring an iPod into them and ask if it can be repaired almost every time the Genius, (really a sales person) will tell you, it's out of warranty (for what ever reason) and the best thing to do is buy a new one... and lucky you, they will give you 10% off when you trade that iPod in on the new one. That "It can't be repaired/10% off" bit I consider to be really manipulative. There are high percentage of people that just take the Genius's direction and trade it in. Very rarely do the 'Apple People' let anyone know there is an inexpensive repair alternative.

Elsewhere on my site I teach you "How to select a used iPod". Here I am going to teach you how to buy a new iPod.

I need to emphasize this, there is no good reason to buy an iPod/iPad/laptop from anyone other than Apple directly. When you buy it from them you get the benefit of a 12 month warranty. If you buy it from Costco after 30 days they refer you Apple anyway. If you buy it from Worst Buy, after 30 days you will be referred to Apple. If you buy it from Target, after 30 days you will be referred to Apple..... see a trend here?

The next part of the equation is this.... these other places... Apple sells the iPods to just 15% below the retail price they are all selling it for. The only place that sells an iPod new for less than the Suggested Retail Price is Wal-Mart who sells the device for just $1.50 below Manufacturers SRP. That dollar fifty is not enough to not have a warranty relationship with "God". The 15% off list Apple isn't enough to keep the doors open selling iPods/iPads. Typical retail needs a minimum of 18% margin so they are loosing money when they sell an iPod which is why there is general warranty indifference on their part. They need to sell you accessories to make the iPod transaction break even or become profitable.

So BUY your iPod or iPad from an Apple store or the Apple website!!! Why not have a relationship with the warranty god instead of a monsignor?

When you are involved in manufacturing small electronic devices you have to believe that a certain number of them will be found to be defective in the hands of their new owners. In the case of iPods/iPads/laptops Apple sells them with a 12 month warranty. Under most circumstances when a device under warranty is returned and it is deemed a manufacturing defect they replace the device with a new one. If you present it to them at an Apple store, they typically replace it on the spot and you leave with a new one.

Since it is really impossible to go back a re-build a manufacturing line to build warranty replacements, Apple approaches it the way most makers do. They over manufacture by 4 to 8% of the production and then send those iPods back from the Chinese sub-contractor (FoxConn) in nondescript white box packaging instead of the expensive retail clamshell boxes they use or the clear plastic jewelbox they use for Nano models.

This 'over-production" is sometimes sent back to Apple's Elk Grove facility near Sacramento and they draw from it as needed for warranty replacements/spares.

The amount that arrives again is a percentage of manufacturing. When the on-hand stocks for the known outstanding 'potential warranty liability' becomes higher than they deem they will need to satisfy their potential claims they sell the excess iPods/iPads/laptops/iMacs.

It would be impractical for them to re-package the "warranty replacements" in real retail packaging, so they leave them in warranty replacement packaging sell them as "refurbished". BUT they aren't, they are BRAND NEW. They come with new earbuds, a new data cable and a cute little Chinglish owners manual. By selling them as refurbished, they can sell slightly older but brand new inventory without disturbing people that still want to pay full retail for the same device. Apple implies a diminished quality by making you think they have been returned or re-worked. This elevates the stature or "retail packaged" devices. Again, the "refurbs" are brand new. Since I take these things apart to work on them, I know when it's practical to open and work on something commercially. The best example is... a Nano, any Nano but let's say a 4th or 5th gen couldn't be manufactured, sold, then returned, "reworked", repackaged, re-shipped back and then sold for $99 with yet another warranty. It can't be done, they are brand new.

It also seems recently that Apple has a deal with Fed Ex for warranty replacement fulfillment. I've had some of these arrive shipped directly from a Fed-Ex Logistic warehouse in Memphis. Other times they come from a chinese facility in a highly expensive and circuitous route. Think of the environmental cost of the AIR shipping of this 4th Gen Nano...

Date/Time Activity Location
Dec 28, 2009 7:34 AM On FedEx vehicle for delivery SANTA ROSA, CA
Dec 28, 2009 7:04 AM At local FedEx facility SANTA ROSA, CA
Dec 27, 2009 6:02 PM Departed FedEx location OAKLAND, CA
Dec 26, 2009 4:43 AM Arrived at FedEx location OAKLAND, CA
Dec 26, 2009 2:46 AM Departed FedEx location MEMPHIS, TN
Dec 25, 2009 5:13 AM In transit MEMPHIS, TN
Dec 24, 2009 10:42 PM Arrived at FedEx location MEMPHIS, TN
Dec 24, 2009 1:45 PM Departed FedEx location ANCHORAGE, AK
Dec 23, 2009 4:29 PM In transit ANCHORAGE, AK
Dec 23, 2009 11:34 PM Int'l shipment release ANCHORAGE, AK
Dec 23, 2009 11:57 AM Arrived at FedEx location ANCHORAGE, AK
Dec 22, 2009 7:17 PM In transit LANTAU ISLAND HK
Dec 22, 2009 2:10 PM Clearance in progress SHENZHEN CN
Dec 22, 2009 1:33 PM Left FedEx origin facility SHENZHEN CN
Dec 22, 2009 12:16 PM Picked up SHENZHEN CN
Dec 21, 2009 11:01 PMShipment information sent to FedEx

To find and purchase one of these BRAND NEW iPods, go to the Apple website, and click on the Store tab at the top of the page.

When that page comes up, scroll down to the bottom of the page and look in the lower left corner where it says "refurbished iPods/iPads/MacBooks,/iMacs" click that link and that page will have a whole list of models all brand new at terrific prices. They ship them by FEd Ex ground free to the buyer but you will have to pay sales tax at whatever rate is charged in your state.

The 6th Generation video iPod with an 120GB drive that sold a week ago for $250 is being sold on that page for $189.

Call 707-544-4400


email me at with questions or to set up a repair.


Monday through Friday from 10am to 7pm, and Saturday & Sunday noon to 6pm.

I'm in Sonoma County... Northern California wine country,

    Frank Walburg
    Service Court
    Santa Rosa, Ca 95403-3139

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