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News   - 11/27/2006

The best source for purchasing iPod nanos?

Question: Where is the cheapest and safest place to purchase an Apple iPod nano? - Robert James

A: As PC and Mac owners clamor for more and ever more iPods, your question gets asked a lot, and the short answer has to be something of a lame-sounding no-brainer: Buying any Apple product from the company's own online store (www.store.apple.com) is the safest because it's easier to make a return or get prompt help in case you happen to get a dud or maybe push the wrong button.

As to finding bargains elsewhere, Apple continues with a hard-nosed policy to keep costs pretty much at the same level at non-company stores that are licensed to sell the popular mobile music players, so it's difficult to find a dramatically better price.

And there's also a bit of danger when shopping outside the closely guarded Apple orchard, because a lot of retailers with nice-sounding prices are able to sell out-of-date Apple products that are not the latest issued. Apple's Web store always offers the latest models. We saw the lowball price for lowball goods a lot when Apple switched from the PowerPC chip to the Intel microprocessors, leaving discounters such as Costco to sell the non-Intel leftovers at bargain-basement prices.

All that said, I often rely on the Mac Insider Web site's storied "best deal" search service that scans all of the likely consumer electronics stores and posts the best asking price for a given product, whether it's from Apple's store or from outside outlets.

At www.appleinsider.com, the Mac mavens focus on hard-core hobbyists, and the site isn't exactly up to Amazon.com ease-of-use standards. But you will find that, by clicking on various headlines about Apple product news, you will get a page that somewhere toward the middle includes a Best Deal search box for that particular item. Once you are in any Best Deal search box, you can type in other product names such as "Nano" or "iPod 30" and get a rundown on asking prices across the country.

A lot of the time, the Best Deal will be the Apple Store, but if there are better deals at places such as Circuit City, Ritz Camera and Buy.com, they'll be listed with handy hotlinks.


Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer    
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