Thinking about buying an iPod or MacBook overseas? Read this first!
If I had a dollar for every time somebody asked me whether they should buy a Mac (or iPod) while they are in the US I'd probably be able to buy an iPod Shuffle.
In the past, my answer has depended on a few factors. Firstly, the exchange rate plays a big part in determining the savings. Secondly, if you want a computer you're either asking a friend to bring it home for you, or they'll need to post it to you (which I don't recommend). Lastly, you've got to think about a warranty issues.
Well, I finally decided to analyse the question properly.
Let's start with the warranty issue. After all, hardware breaks all the time. The good news, according to John Marx from Apple Australia, is that Apple's limited warranty is global. That means you can buy an iPod or any Mac in the US and if it breaks, Apple Australia will fix it for you. This limited warranty however doesn't apply to the iPhone unfortunately.
Now, to the more interesting question on value. I've prepared a quick table for you and i've taken US Sales Tax into account, and delivery which is free on most orders.
Also, these prices are strictly from the US and Australian online Apple stores and you'd probably be able to do better if you surf around other third party retailers. I know in Australia, for example, Streetwise in Melbourne offers some pretty competitive pricing, so check with them if you're in two minds. Most third-party Apple retailers are quite prepared to negotiate on price (or at very least include free extras), so it's well worth trying that.
| ||iPod Nano 8GB ||iPod Touch 16GB ||MacBook Black ||MacBook Pro 15 2.4Ghz ||iMac 2.8Ghz ||MacPro (base) ||23” Cinema Display |
|Price USD (in. Sales Tax) ||$215 ||$432 ||$1623 ||$2705 ||$2489 ||$2705 ||$973 |
|AUD Equivalent ||$245 ||$491 ||$1844 ||$3074 ||$2828 ||$3074 ||$1106 |
|Price in AUD ||$279 ||$549 ||$2199 ||$2899 ||$3339 ||$3999 ||$1399 |
|Difference (AUD) ||$34.20 ||$92.39 ||$355.06 ||-$175.06 ||$510.97 ||$924.94 ||$293.13 |
|% Difference ||12.26% ||16.83% ||16.15% ||-6.04% ||15.30% ||23.13% ||20.95% |
| || || || || || || || |
| ||Exchange Rate ||0.88 || || || || || |
You can see from the table that you'll save the most money buying a MacPro or a 23" Cinema Display. The problem is, getting either home will pose a few problems; you'll either be overweight when you board the plane, or you'll spend the savings on freight.
However, if you buy an iPod or a MacBook you'll save over ten percent. Obviously, as the exchange rate appreciates, your savings will increase. When the exchange rate was 93c a few weeks ago the saving on a 16Gb iPod Touch would have been about $80. Interestingly, even at the current exchange rate, the 2.4Ghz MacBook Pro is actually about $210 more expensive in the US than here.
Lastly, importing Apple gear only really makes sense if you have a friend who'll bring it back for you, because if you are actually going overseas then you'll have the option of claiming the GST back when you leave Australia, in which case you've got an instant ten percent saving already. Plus, if you're buying an iPod you'll be able to sync it up to your computer and actually use it on the plane ride over.
So, in summary, the only time you'll really save money buying Apple stuff overseas is when:
- A friend will bring the product back for you,
- You're not planing on going overseas yourself,
- The exchange rate stays above about eighty seven cents
- You want an iPhone because they're not available here yet (but don't hurry into buying one at the moment --iPhones are now shipping with a new version of the bootloader which is currently not crackable. Keep an eye on this page for updates.)