Opinion: A Mac’s longevity is its biggest unsung selling point

historyofmac

Apple can’t advertise Macs as having ten-year lifespans for legal reasons, and reviewers rarely write about their old computers ten years later — they’re typically focused on each year’s latest and greatest machine. But the average person buys a computer and keeps using it until it stops working, something I note every time a friend or family member “finally” upgrades from an old Mac to a new one.

This morning, Christopher Phin’s article “Saying goodbye to a beloved 2008 MacBook Pro” recalled the many end-of-life Mac discussions I’ve had with people over the years — specifically that their still-working-but-old Macs are so antiquated that virtually every internal component has been replaced in current models. Yet no one ever says they’re switching from an old Mac to a new PC; instead, the conversation is always about figuring out which new Mac to buy, or whether to squeeze a little more life from the old machine with a hard drive to SSD swap or additional RAM.

The superb longevity of Macs isn’t discussed very often, but it’s due as much to the durability of the hardware as the engineering of the software. Let’s take a quick look at what keeps Macs going so long…

Even though it's four years old, OS X Lion looks pretty familiar

Even though it’s four years old, OS X Lion still looks pretty familiar

OS X

At 9to5Mac, we focus a lot on new versions of the Mac’s OS X operating system: point releases (“10.9” to “10.10”), point point releases (“10.10.1” to “10.10.2”), and even beta releases (“10.11 beta 3”). But many users — particularly ones who bought their last Macs nearly a decade ago — care little, if at all, about new releases of OS X. They don’t need to: even old versions of OS X “just work” well enough for most people.

Hard-core Mac fans would be amazed at how many 2015 Mac upgraders are still running OS X Lion, which came out four years ago, or earlier versions of the operating system such as 2007’s OS X Leopard, the last to support PowerPC processors. Yes, it’s true: there are some Mac users who have never upgraded OS X to a new major release over the Internet, used iCloud, or even seen the Mac App Store.

Last year's OS X Yosemite is much-improved over prior releases, but the fundamentals are the same

Last year’s OS X Yosemite is much-improved over prior releases, but the fundamentals are the same

As hard as that may be to believe, that’s actually a testament to the Mac’s excellence as a platform. It’s not surprising that users can continue to use 2007- or 2011-vintage software  to send emails, browse web pages, use productivity apps, and play games. For the most part, apps that run on older Macs continue to run on newer ones. And it’s actually a huge plus that someone who transitions from Lion to a newer version of OS X won’t have to re-learn anything fundamental (apart, perhaps, from certain multi-touch gestures) to keep using the Mac just as he or she did before. The screenshots above show obvious cosmetic improvements, but nothing that would stop users of older OS X versions from understanding new ones.

While it’s true that the iterative nature of OS X’s evolution means that there hasn’t been a “must upgrade” OS X change for regular people in years, moving up to OS X Yosemite (or the forthcoming El Capitan) from a much older version comes with an uncountably huge collection of small quality-of-life improvements. And depending on the number of years that have elapsed between one’s upgrades, significant software features such as AirDrop, Notification Center and Push Notifications, AirPlay Mirroring, iCloud, iBooks, and Continuity may seem entirely new to some people. None of these things is critical, but they all make the Mac experience better.

The other key thing about OS X that many mainstream users don’t realize is that under-the-hood software improvements routinely make old Macs run better than they did when originally purchased. Some years’ OS X tweaks improve battery life under certain conditions, while others speed up graphics or general app performance. There are certainly bugs that come up, creating new issues here and there, but the overall trend of OS X has been continuous annual improvement.

 

The logic board of a 2008 MacBook (courtesy iFixit)

The giant logic board of a 2008 MacBook (courtesy iFixit)

Mac Hardware

For legal reasons — namely, added warranty responsibilities — Apple doesn’t promise users that their new Macs will last for ten years. But with rare exceptions, it builds Macs to keep running for around that long. Unlike Dell, which in the name of low prices knowingly churned out millions of computers with cheap, shoddy parts, Apple typically selects components that will continue to work for a long time unless (and sometimes even if) seriously abused. Although the company was working towards this goal in the early 2000’s, the real turning point came in late 2008 when Apple began to phase out plastic-bodied MacBooks in favor of universally metal models. There had previously been reason to believe that plastic MacBooks and their iBook predecessors were designed to be replaced every few years. Going forward, there wasn’t much question that all Macs were built to last.

ifixit2015macbook

The tiny logic board of a 2015 MacBook (courtesy iFixit)

Exterior resilience aside, the major reason for excellent Mac longevity has been a radical reduction in the number and nature of components inside modern Macs. Compare the inside of 2008’s first all-metal MacBook with 2015’s new all-metal 12″ Retina MacBook and you’ll see how a huge circuit board tied to two mechanical drives gave way to a candybar-sized logic board and exclusively chip-based storage. Fewer parts and fewer moving parts means fewer potential points of failure, as well as much greater energy efficiency, and typically faster speeds. This has been Apple’s hardware engineering philosophy for nearly two decades now, and it keeps getting better every year.

This isn’t to say that every Mac is perfect. Certain components, particularly high-end graphics processors, high-capacity traditional hard drives, and certain early Retina screens, were prone to developing issues over time that Apple has been forced (typically via class action suits) to address with free repair programs beyond their original warranties. But these are exceptions to the general rule that a Mac will run as well (or better) several years down the line as it did on day one.

 

An old Mac mini still has enough power to work as an iTunes server

An old Mac mini still has enough power to work as an iTunes server

Repurposing

One of the big things I’ve noticed when people buy new Macs is their tendency to keep old ones around rather than trade them in for cash. Even if your Mac was purchased in the 2000’s, it’s entirely possible that it has enough processing power and hard drive space to serve as an iTunes media server for your home, a basic video player for a bedroom, or starter computer for a young student. There are brand new, low-cost Windows PCs being sold today that are less capable of doing these things than an old Mac. So unless you need the cash to finance a new Mac purchase — which can be significant thanks to strong retained resale value — hanging on to your prior machine can be worthwhile, and the old Mac can be useful for years to come.

All of this is to say that for Mac users, at least, it’s hard to complain about the “Apple tax” PC fans used to harp on. It’s certainly true that Macs are more expensive than PCs. But with a Mac, you certainly get what you pay for, and sometimes much more than expected. More often than not, replacing a Mac is an option rather than a necessity, and something undertaken many years after the initial purchase.

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Comments

  1. rzozaya1969 - 8 years ago

    I think that macs last long time, except when they fail, they’re expensive…

    • Rich Davis (@RichDavis9) - 8 years ago

      It depends on what fails and what you replace it with and how old your computer is. There are a few places that sell older Mac parts, etc. and depending on the part, they can SOMETIMES be pretty cheap if it’s old enough. Apple stocks replacement parts for their products for so many years and then they dump remaining inventory for dirt cheap just to clear out inventory and there are a few companies that buy up the excess inventory and resell it. OR if a drive goes bad, you can many times just buy a 3rd party drive. So it all depends on the scenario.

    • James Katt (@jameskatt) - 8 years ago

      If you have to worry about the costs, consider a Windows or Linux PC. Macs generally last a very long time. The problem is when you love buying new ones, the old ones pile up. When you end up having seven of them, that is quite a problem to have.

    • Charon O'Brien - 5 years ago

      Hello,

      As a woman that started using an ATARI, then onto Apple computers such as a Lombard bought on ebay for heotel email, G3’s, G4’s, Powermacs (still own them – collecting dust), imac, mini mac and all the zip drives, big floppy disks, little floppies – you get the picture . . .

      I have 10 year lovely, dented, duck taped battery door, beat up physically, still working Macbook Pro that has seen me through endless jobs and trips – getting heavy though!!!! I have seen more backup drives burn out over the years than this gal!

      I am now on Sierra with my desktop mac, run Adobe CS and know my lovely older laptop can not really profit by any more upgrades. I have gone through 2 Apple batteries, 1 generic (only spent roughly $300 in 10 years) and I have been running it without a battery for 2+ years, so constantly plugged in.

      It is time to make my oldie but goodie a kitchen clock screensaver, with no FEAR that any guest will damage it while it creeps towards its use of only searching for recipes, checking emails, playing my music collection (2500 songs of choice) and watching youtube and netflix, with NO FEAR of spills bangs.

      This has been the best MAC ever, dear APPLE!!!!

      It has always been there for me, so darn reliable day and night for my work, family vacations, night lights, music, dance parties, photo slideshows, presentations at work and home. My macbook pro ($2100 CDN back then) topped my first ebay laptop purchase, still owned – the Lombard with 4MB ram LOL. Used for checking emails in hotels while travelling. Smiles!

      I am a slight nerd that was able to stick a screwdriver into the crushed ethernet port, after I dropped and crushed it, and it still worked, 6 years ago. I have banged it, dropped it, duck taped it and plugged it into many locations and it still wants to work!

      What I know it can no longer do is have the latest OS (Yet maybe someone wants to ry to convince me about upgrades. . . ). I can still run ADOBE CS, but GOOGLE has retired us, and I feel “she” is too old now after 10 years to squeeze her, $2400 back then is now $3600 that I don’t really want to spend . . .

      There’s my laptops story and I have the need of speed to make it to an early retirement.

      Any tips are welcome in what to buy. I feel resolution is first, speed next and of course screen size, track pad, backlit keyboard, usb drives, hdmi, firewire, scsi (kiddin’), cd drive (LOL), headphone jack . . . and I do like the gold colour . . . actually with my name engraved next to the apple logo, and a photo op next to my old Macbook Pro, I will be a tester of whatever you suggest! And tell you what I think! I started on an Atari . . . with a 1MB hard drive, a HP printer, that took, due to lack of memory 1/2 hour to print a beautiful 1/2 pager, letter size.

      I have used BIG floppies, many zip drives, disks, and watched APPLE grow towards the global cellular world.

      I used to drive a 68 Chevy Chevelle because I like solid machines, so from my solid Lombard, to ipad, iphone (3, 3s, 4, 4s, 5, ^s and now what – – – agh 7) . . . et al, nothing seems to have to endured like my Macbook Pro. I used to love you Apple (well except when you first switched to making product overseas that caused my tower to last as long as a year!). But you fixed that many years ago. I am however worried about the weighlessness and marketing that has happened over the years. My mind feels, I need to know that a bounce, bang and checked in macbook pro, while travelling, may stand up to my dear oldie.

      Done rambling, please respond if you have an oldie macbook pro as sweet as mine with any tips of buying a new one – why do I crincge?

      What can I look forward to . . .whatever will last 10+years.

      Mrs – happy to think I can review a new Macbook Pro (Just asking – be nice APPLE), or check out refurbished with confidence, or lend mine out to you one day to try to see why mine stills works?

      .

  2. “…or earlier versions of the operating system such as mid-2009’s OS X Snow Leopard, the last to support PowerPC processors.”

    Leopard was the last to support PowerPC, not Snow Leopard. I think one of the ways Snow Leopard was able to slim down install size requirements so much was by removing the PowerPC code.

    • Jeremy Horwitz - 8 years ago

      Entirely correct on all points, and I’ve made the correction. Thank you!

  3. bhayes444 - 8 years ago

    I would only agree on longevity from a hardware perspective. Granted some Windows OEMs use really crappy processors and hardware, but Windows has pretty low spec requirements just like OS X. Not that it was upgraded, but Windows 8 would run on a desktop I built for my parents from 2004. I like myac more than past Windows laptops because it has arguably better hardware components, looks sleek, and runs an OS that I feel comfortable using (never liked the Windows 8+ UI). Any prebuilt PC I will buy in the future will be a Mac, unless I’m building a gaming rig.

  4. Dustin Moskowitz - 8 years ago

    About 5 years ago, I did a huge donation of 6 old Mac’s I just didn’t feel like keeping anymore, figuring they all worked fine and maybe someone else would be better served with one than I. But I did keep a few of my favorites, including a Mac 128k in the basement I bought in 1993 for $150, and my 1987 SE from college residing in my home office. I can fire up the SE and be on that old desktop finder in less time than my screaming 2014 Retina iMac.

    And play Dark Castle. ; )

    • Dafty Punk - 8 years ago

      Dark Castle!!!

      • Dustin Moskowitz - 8 years ago

        If only my reflexes were as good as they were almost 30 years ago…

      • Tom (@67cards) - 8 years ago

        That brings back memories, in fact I was just wonder if someone had ported Dark Castle to the iPad.

      • Paul Riley - 8 years ago

        I have “return to dark castle” running on my 2015 macbook pro and it has original game in it but you need to search for the correct door to enter to get it….

  5. cafesitter (@cafesitter) - 8 years ago

    True – just put public beta of El Capitan on my 2009 Mac Book Pro yesterday.

  6. Joe Cranford (@jodeo) - 8 years ago

    My 2007 iMac – the first aluminum body model – still runs Snow Leopard (10.6.8) just fine. Eight years on, I think it’s time to upgrade to Yosemite and cut the cord with the past. I know I won’t have all the features 10.10 offers, but there are some things I want to have that SL can’t do, though I know 10.10 may do some things that I don’t care for. (FWIW, I’m cloning the SL drive to an external — just in case…)

    • x0epyon0x - 8 years ago

      I bought a 2007 iMac last year from a friend for $350. I immediately upgraded it to Yosemite and it went flawlessly. The machine only had 2GB of RAM, which I’ve since upgraded to 6GB.

      That old iMac runs like a dream and I can see it going another 8 years easily.

  7. Aaron Lozano - 8 years ago

    I still have a mac mini core duo 1.83 which runs perfect for Skype, browsing and can play 720p video with no trouble. (1080p is a push and loses frames) Never a single issue with it. In fact I think an SSD would easily give it a couple of years more.

    Also got a 13″ 2.4 core two duo Macbook pro from 2010 running smooth in my living room and an iMac 27″ i7 3.4 from 2011 with a couple SSD that takes batch processing with up to 500 RAW Pictures like a champ.

    I plan on keeping that iMac until 2018 and hand it over to my older daughter who is 6 year old at the moment. I’m quite sure the machine will still perform well over the requirements till she will be 12 years old or so.

    That last iMac replaced a former white iMac 24″ 2.16, which was nearly 6 year old and was sold for EUR 650.00.

    They don’t only last long but retain value.

    The best PC I had before that took ageing pretty well at 6 year but needed 3 internal upgrades to keep running fast enough. That was a Graphic card, usual RAM, internal HDD and later on a full logic board plus RAM. (nearly a new PC) All together brought costs at the same price as a brand new iMac with loads of DIY hassle and quite a few fresh windows install.

    I almost can say the same about iPads, they last a good deal of time.

  8. Just last week I upgraded my 2007 iMac (2GB RAM, 250 GB HD), from Snow Leopard to Yosemite (to support a new 6th gen iPod Touch in the house). A “33 minute” installation time took more like 90 minutes, but the system is running smooth. I am shocked, and couldn’t be happier!

    • Joe Cranford - 8 years ago

      Thunder. Stolen.
      For its 8th birthday I just upgraded my 2007 aluminum iMac (4GB RAM, 2TB HD). I actually wiped the drive and did a clean install, but had to restore from an external drive (USB 2. UGH.) My 33 minute installation took HOURS. But I’m good. I’ve ordered a 4GB RAM stick so I can replace one of the 2GB sticks for a total of 6GB, which I’ve heard makes an appreciable difference running the non-cat OSes.

      One snag (which I figured out) was that when I launched Photos the first time, there was no library to import yet. It took me a while to learn that to import my iPhoto library (which I first copied back to the same hard drive) had to be dragged and dropped onto the Photos icon. WHY one cannot simply go to File > Import and do the same dang thing is beyond me.

      I know I won’t have all the bells and whistles due to the older hardware. But DANG I’m pleased at how well it’s running so far. I still need to reinstall my own apps, including Photoshop CS3 and the pre-screw-up iWork and iLife apps. (I’m planning on installing the old, upgrading to the new, then deleting the new: Will that prevent Software Update from nagging me?)

      Anyway, so far, so good…

  9. amitvedant - 8 years ago

    Excellent.

  10. amitvedant - 8 years ago

    Similar article could be written for iPhone 4, right? :)

    • My girlfriend still uses her iphone 4, and it’s still running like a charm, of course, she doesn’t have all the apps, due to apps requiring ios 8 or later now. but it still works!

    • Saaketh - 8 years ago

      But the problem with phone’s is that you can’t upgrade their internals. So till something like Project Ara becomes the norm, we’ll be stuck with having to replace our phones every 2-3 years! But that period is increasing with every new model Apple releases, which is pretty awesome

  11. Dustin Moskowitz - 8 years ago

    I can also add I’m still running my late 2008 MBP under Yosemite, now just for traveling instead of constant daily use. Maxed the 6GB of RAM years ago, stripped out the DVD for an HDD, and upgraded to an SDD for the OS. I’m guessing the hardware upgradability of the new laptops is hobbled to impossible, but being able to do that to the older ones increased their usability immensely. I’m guessing it’ll go another few years on the SDD before some OS crushes it, and even then it’ll still be fine for travel.

    Sure is heavy compared to those Airs though.

  12. How true! I only owned once a PC in my life, on which I deleted Windows to install the first version of Linux. This PC died just after warranty of 2 years stopped. OK I had PC emulators on my Amiga Computers and PC 286 AT Bridgeboards, but the AMIGA was at that time far superior. BTW AMIGA does celebrate its 30th anniversary now.
    My first Mac was a used iMac (Video version) which I bought from my brother. Later Mac laptops which I all sold to buy the next version. My actual iMac is the late 2013 model. Which replaced my iMac from 2007, which I sold in its original box. My server is a Mac mini late 2011, my daughter just got an 2009 iMac (for free), my other kids do have either Mac mini late 2014 or Mac mini Power PC G4, which replaced my first iMac G3.
    The iMac G3 will find its place in my collection: Apple IIc, Macintosh Classic II, Mac Cube. Macintosh LC475, Macintosh Powerbook, Amiga 1000 & Sidecar, Amiga 2500, Amiga 3000UX with TIGA GFX, Amiga 3000T, Amiga One, Amiga One Plus plus dozen of pocket computers (PSION, SHARP, Canon, Sanyo, Toshiba …)

  13. Ali Hamodi - 8 years ago

    Is it only me who think quite the opposite because of his experience?
    1- My first macbook early 2011 had a unknown failure and apple replaced it for me. I then sold it and bought a brand new Macbook pro retina mid 2012
    2- after exactly one year and 2 months, I started suddenly to see white lines on the screen and gray areas around the edges. I refused to fix it because apple wanted +$400 or more to either replace the screen or the logic board. I also started to see the huge problem that many people are facing now, a stain dots appear on the display. I will replace my mac once a new sky-lake core i7 model get released but I expect a better quality from apple.
    My iPhone 4s had a wifi chip failure and I wasn’t able to turn wifi on! This happened 15 months after owning the device. Apple asked me for $200 to replace it. I refused.
    My IPhone 5′ camera started showing pink screen for moments when doing video call or recording video. I didn’t take to apple because also, this thing happened after the 1 year warranty.
    My iPhone 6 home button became loose and luckily this time apple fixed it for me.

    I really take care of my gadget and I expect apple to pay more attention to the quality if their products.

    • Jeremy Horwitz - 8 years ago

      For the Mac, the only major exceptions to what I said above (but referenced within the article) were related to a few components — certain GPUs, certain hard drives, and early Retina screens. These are non-trivial issues and the logic board failures caused by GPUs are total show-stoppers if they happen.

      For iPhones… somewhat different story. They also tend to get dropped and abused in ways Macs don’t. But I wouldn’t say that any iPhone was built with a 10-year lifespan in any case.

    • standardpull - 8 years ago

      Yes is is true: not all Apple products last for a very long time. But many do. I’m still using my 2008 MBP and plan to keep it for the next several years. Why change if I’m happy?

      On the flip side, the family iMac lost its power supply after a lightning strike, which killed a lot of my household equipment. It was less than 3 years old. Oh well. So I gave it to a friend who had an iMac that fell off his desk and he was able to make a good machine.

    • pharrisart - 8 years ago

      Ali, your experience is exactly why people need to buy AppleCare. Though Apple makes great products, occasionally there is a bad one in the bunch. Hey, it happens. Had you bought AppleCare for that mid 2012 MacBook Pro, which would have cost $249, that screen would have been replaced for free. And you would have had an additional two years of free replacement service, which would have brought you to, well, right about today. As to the 4S, again, AppleCare + would have replaced it for $79, and the service would have cost $99 – so almost a wash for what they offered you. Same for the 5. Because the 6 had a problem (and hasn’t been out for a year, still being under the original warranty) they fixed it. After September (or whatever month you bought it) you’ll be on your own.

      • Apple would have replaced the screen free without Apple Care – indeed under EU legislation they have to.

        I know this because the screen went on my late-2009 iMac last year. I took it to my Apple dealer (not an Apple store) who produced an Apple-headed form relating to some EU law stating that major components (like screens) have to work for the life time of the device and bingo, free new screen. iMac is still going strong, and screaming along after I swapped out HD for an SSD. My 2007 iMac is flawless too, so I’m hoping that my most recent purchase (a 2015 5k iMac) will still be going in 2025, which will be 41 years after I bought my first Mac. Scary !

    • Raymundo Ochoa - 8 years ago

      So, all in all bad experiences but oddly you find yourself buying new Apple stuff every year…

  14. Aaron Renner - 8 years ago

    My grandfather just upgraded to a new Mac Mini from a PowerMac G3, which dual booted OS 9 and OS X 10.1. The reason for the upgrade was not because of a failure of the Mac. It still functions beautifully and has been added to my vintage Apple collection. However, the old printers and scanners he used with it finally croaked. The combined lack of support of newer peripherals by both the Mac and the old software he used finally necessitated the upgrade.

    • Raymundo Ochoa - 8 years ago

      That’s exactly what Apple is doing in changing all their ports every couple of years: Making sure you have to update eventually even if your equipment is still working 100% fine.

  15. On my first Mac myself (a Mini). I only skimmed the article but hopefully price was listed as a factor. You can buy a fairly new PC for $300-400 while the cheapest Mac goes for what, $1,000+? When the cost is 3x as much (or more) it has to be a factor in how frequently some people upgrade.

    • eldernorm - 8 years ago

      Michael, you are correct about the price. A Yugo cost less than a Bentley. I have several 2005 mac minis still running strong. Also if you buy from Apple at their refurb store you get a good savings and still get a full warranty.

      To Ali, PS, I always get applecare. Its 2 years on phone and 3 on computers and it comes with full tech support for the whole time.

      Just saying.

      • Raymundo Ochoa - 8 years ago

        Legit question: How many times have you taken advantage of Apple Care? With the savings you have had upon fixes that have been made for free, have you spent less than what the Apple Care charges originally cost you?

    • standardpull - 8 years ago

      If you shop around and look for deals, the cheapest new Mac is the Mac Mini for about 465. Add a 15$ USB keyboard and mouse and your in business.

      The cheapest laptop is the new 11″ MBA which which can be found for about 860.

  16. Steve V. Kass - 8 years ago

    I usually keep mine for …… about 6 years before updating. Try to get MORE bang for my buck. Then I store them in the basement ………. for what you ask? For sendimental reasons, 5 and counting……

  17. PinkAppleEatr - 8 years ago

    Last year we put down a Mac from 2005. The power supply went out. We weren’t using it because we already had newer iMacs. So, we used it for bb gun practice. :P
    It was amazing though, that prior to the power supply going, it powered on and everything worked perfectly!

    • pharrisart - 8 years ago

      Its a shame you did that. Even with a bad power supply, you could have gotten a couple hundred bucks on eBay for that Mac.

      • PinkAppleEatr - 8 years ago

        I don’t think so. I looked up a 2009 Mac that we had on eBay and it was going for $200 (We ended up selling that one for the $200). As far as I’ve seen, 2005 models are listed between $25 and $100. Not worth the time to list it and package/ship it.

  18. Greg Pryor (@gpo613) - 8 years ago

    I just don’t see a need for a home computer. Or at least one that I need to often. I started working in the business world in 1994. My wife and I are accountants. At least one of us had a laptop. It wasn’t until 2003 when my wife decided to stay home with our first child that we purchased our first computer for the home. Our thought was why would we want to get on a computer at night after being on home for 8-10 hours each workday.

    Now with my iphone I hardly see a reason to boot up my computer at home. We have PC laptop. We also have an ipad that my wife uses daily. If we didn’t have the ipad she would use the laptop. Me I don’t want to look at a keyboard once I get home. I usually go 2-3 months between me getting on the laptop at home. I can print from my phone so I am good.

    At home I am consumer computer user where at work I am a producer user. That is the difference. So I am just saying even buying a Mac that could last 7-8 years is a losing proposition for me. I just don’t need it at home.

  19. Chad Garber - 8 years ago

    I’m still using my mid-2010 MacMini and it’s holding on just fine.
    I upgraded my 4GB purchase to 8GB about 3 years ago. 1.5 years ago I swapped out the internal 320 GB 5400RPM platter drive to a 500GB Samsung SSD and it was like getting a new machine!
    I’m currently using it as a beta machine for testing El Capitan and use it almost daily. I keep the grill off and have installed an additional USB fan to keep the SSD cool.
    It’s kind of nice still having a Mac with an optical drive for those rare occasions I need one.
    When my machine does meet it’s digital maker, I will likely purchase another MacMini to go along with my 24″ LCD Dell Monitor I purchased in the prehistoric days back in 2007 (and yep, that’s still trucking along too)!

  20. John C-Hack - 8 years ago

    My family has mostly MacBooks, but I still have a PC for gaming. When my 9 year old 24″ PC monitor started going on the fritz last week I looked at the current crop of iMacs, but in the end just replaced the monitor. The drawbacks to Macs are:
    – Very difficult and expensive to upgrade
    – Likewise, when a part does break it is much more difficult and expensive to replace than on a PC
    – I get much better gaming performance from a PC for much less money
    – A PC is much easier to customize than a Mac (processor, CPU, RAM graphics, etc…)

    I still love my MacBooks for what they do – they are the best quality notebooks out there and are priced comparably or less than high-end Windows notebooks.

    However, longevity in a gaming PC requires upgradability and access to top-end components – something Macs are lacking.

  21. you can thank apple for longevity. With all these annual free os x…which limits compatibility for certain computers….yeah..it won’t last. If only for music or just storage wise…sure..it will last long.

  22. I still have all my vintage macs fully functional, and as of today my current macs are an iMac from 2007 and a MacBook Pro 13″ from 2009. Instead i have to replace my iOS devices more often, they don’t age as well as macs

  23. My Macbook Pro cira 2009 works faster than ever on El Capitan beta. Far better user switching, faster uploads and smother operation. In support of this article, it’s amazing that older machines work better with newer software, a former impossibility with “windows” machines. This care and diligence for longevity is contributes to macs capacity to retain value. For hardware, in past 6 years, I only upgraded the RAM.

  24. andrewplacker - 8 years ago

    Longevity is severely hampered when the most common to fail components, the hard drive and power supply are so difficult for the end user to repair, in most cases. Not to mention the downside of the AIO design where the monitor can’t easily be replaced.

  25. chickenandporn - 8 years ago

    2006 XServe ticking away happily — the 32-bit bootloader is the only thing blocking a hack-free upgrade!

  26. mechanic50 - 8 years ago

    As a side note. Still have my original iPod still works. Not an actual computer, but iDevice.

  27. Rachel Baker - 8 years ago

    I have about 4 old PPC macs that still work. I have a 2008 iMac that works like a champ. I have an original aluminum macbook that I have upgraded the memory and the HD to an SSD drive and works like a champ. Three 27″ i7 iMacs that are three years old that run and run and run… I love hardware and after 20 years of swapping hardware on Windows computers, these by far and away are better engineered than any PC on the market. (except maybe for my Toshiba laptops… they never die either)

  28. drtyrell969 - 8 years ago

    Super agree with this piece. My iMacs have always delivered and handed PCs their ASSES. Desktop computing will return once the cellphone mystique eases. You can’t create masterpieces on a phone regardless of how you slice it.

  29. What legal issues with advertising? Can you explain?

    • Jeremy Horwitz - 8 years ago

      If a company advertises that its product will “last a lifetime” or “make it through college” or some other phrase that suggests a greater duration of longevity than the written warranty in the box, it can be held responsible for free repairs under an implied warranty.

  30. Austin Dahlenburg - 8 years ago

    I just made the commitment to upgrade my Mid/Late 2012 Macbook Pro 15″ Retina, with a OWC 480 GB SSD from the Apple 256 SSD, and will be heading to Crucial or Amazon to upgrade my 8GB of RAM to 16GB. I have faith that my trusty Intel i7 and 1GB NVIDIA GPU will take me to at least 2018 and future OS X’s to come.

    • mahmudf2014 - 8 years ago

      Sorry to say this but you can’t upgrade the ram on Retina MacBook Pros because RAMs are soldered to logic board.

  31. Mimus Polyglottos - 8 years ago

    I don’t know if this is still the case, but a few years ago I saw a bunch of old Bondi Blue iMacs in use at a clothing manufacturer in my city. It turned out they were running almost the entire business on those machines, using OS9, except for anything that needed to be connected to the internet (e.g., managing their website and online store).

  32. Briar Kit Esme - 8 years ago

    In terms of total cost of ownership (purchase price, reliability, up-time, working speed, included software, included upgrades, etc), Macs are the cheapest computers we’ve ever bought by a long, long, long, long, long way. Saved thousands and thousands in the last eight years.

  33. Considering that I’m using a Mac Pro 1.1 i.e. 2006-2007 model with El Capitan Beta 4 and zero issues not to mention a Macbook Pro 2011 and 2008 model, I would say this is accurate :)

  34. As a recent owner of a Mid-2009 2.66Ghz MacBook Pro, I can say the machine lasted a while. Granted, it went through many upgrades:

    -The SuperDrive was replaced with a 2TB Hard Drive for additional storage.
    -The main Hard Drive was replaced with a 256Gb SSD for speedier performance.
    -The 4Gb RAM it had got upgraded to 8Gb.
    -The logic board was replaced with a 2.8Ghz T9600 CPU

    The above upgrades ensured the machine ran well into 2015 from its 2009 release.

    With the exception of a terrible design flaw: if you touched the Firewire port with a DisplayPort adapter that was connected to a monitor it would fry the motherboard to the point that it no longer allowed it to charge the battery. I ran this laptop without being able to use it without a charging cable for about a year. Eventually this faulty board was replaced with a 2.8Ghz BTO logic board option. The worst part about owning this MacBook Pro was knowing that such a design flaw in the components fried the logic board all because I was not extra careful when plugging up a monitor to the laptop. But I am glad that at least the whole board was not fried.

    As far as the machine being solidly built, I can attest to that. The machine survived a 4.5 foot fall from the side of my backpack onto a solid ceramic tile floor. It left a significant ding on the front right corner of the body of the laptop and the screen. I’d wager that had any of the back corners taken that hit that the screen would have had to have been replaced. Thankfully, the MBP survived that fall with just a cosmetic flaw.

    5 years into its life the internal fans had lived their life, requiring their replacement in order to continue operating without making a terrible groaning sound. Also at the 5 year mark the Display Hinge Clutch Cover had been worn to bits and began to break apart. Never did replace that part.

    Even the battery performed well to the end: while I cannot recall how many cycles I put on the original (un-replaced) battery, I believe that I had worn it to somewhere around 40% to 50% of it’s charge capacity. On a “full charge” the battery would last me somewhere between 40 minutes to an hour. Not great, but certainly a part that can be replaced without much issue to revert back to a maximum operating time.

    A year later, the bottom rubber feet had given all they had, one of the feet came off and probably all 4 feet need to be replaced.

    Granted, I think I have replaced the power adapter twice: once with a no-name brand adapter that failed about a year later, and then again with a refurbished Apple adapter that lasted until the day I retired the machine.

    Performance wise, the 2009 MBP ran every OS upgrade that came out (and will support El Capitan as far as I can tell), and every non-graphics intensive game that I installed on it (which weren’t much). No it doesn’t support Handoff. And no, it doesn’t support Airplay or Airdrop. But as far as applications such as VMWare Fusion, productivity applications, browsers, media encoding/decoding, the machine performed as expected. The only reason I replaced my Mid-2009 workhorse for a Mid-2014 high-end MacBook Pro were for exactly two reasons:

    1) It would run games like Kerbal Space Program.
    2) I am hoping this machine will last the same 6 years as the unit that it replaced.

    I am happy to know that my dinged up Silver Beauty performed well into it’s retirement. I have watched friend and co-workers own multiple laptops in the time period I have owned one, and for me this speaks volumes about the quality of hardware and software that it was built for.

    Granted, the 2009 model was showing its age. Certainly it did not feel as snappy as other hardware I come across, but it was able to perform the every day jobs I gave it without making creaky squeaky plastic noises every time it was touched or moved unlike cheaper plastic laptops from Dell.

    In short: I think trying to get 10 years out of a computer is wishful thinking, but probably not impossible. But I can certainly say that in the 6 years I used that MBP day in and day out, I felt like it certainly performed well while others had to replace their PC laptops. I don’t think that the machine would have lasted into year 7 of daily use, only because at some point you begin to realize that your productivity is being hampered because you are using old hardware. It definitely felt like it was the right time to upgrade, and buying the top end (non-BTO) Macbook Pro from the previous year for the price of the current mid-spec configuration seemed like a good idea.

    Here’s hoping for a good 6 years of use from last years lineup.

  35. Charlypollo - 8 years ago

    Since 2003, I’ve only had 2 laptops. One compaq, and one dell. Compaq lasted 4 years, after I accidentally dropped it and got damaged. Dell is still running. It’s falling to pieces after 7 years of hard use, but I’ve only updated the ram a couple of times.

    So no, this shouldn’t be a selling point, since any good laptop with proper care should last you 5+ years.

  36. alfredprunesquallor - 8 years ago

    I actually switched from WinMachines to Macs three years ago because the build of the WinMachines was so crappy. When my third HP blue-screened within three years, I gave up.

    • Mimus Polyglottos - 8 years ago

      The old IBM/Lenovo ThinkPads were rock solid, though. I had two of them that lasted more than 10 years with zero hardware problems. All the problems were related to Windows, not the hardware; they were much better made than my Macs at the time, all of which either came with hardware problems out of the box or developed problems within a couple of years. The current Macs have much better quality control; my early 2008 MacBook Pro has never given me any problems; same goes for my 2011 iMac.

  37. alfredprunesquallor - 8 years ago

    I actually have recently upgraded my Macs and iDevices relatively quickly , but these were all due to Retina displays, which are huge deals to me. IPad Air 2, MacBook, soon iMac, but after that they get to prove their longevity.

  38. Steve Morris - 8 years ago

    I think what Apple should be praised for offering operating system support for older models. As for the longevity argument, I’m not so sure. As someone who buys a number of machines for my organization the Macs fail at the same rate or worse as other PC manufacturers. Makes me think that I should corner the market on logic boards as every failure appears to have one answer: logic board!

    This would include makers such as Dell, Acer, and Lenovo. Your mileage may vary, but I’m just speaking on our corporate experience.

  39. I sold a friend my 07 macbook in 2011 which lasted for two more years until she spilled wine on it. Another friend I sold my 2010 13″ macbook pro to, he’s still using it for his performances and to make music on to this day. I’m planning on using this OG retina till at least two more years or a really worthy upgrade comes along.

  40. deewaltma - 8 years ago

    I am a high school teacher. When I started a few years ago, my classroom came with an 09 iMac with a TB hdd. Its also the 27″ model. I never asked questions. I added a few sticks of ram I had laying around and updated to the latest OS. The thing runs better than any of the much newer PC’s in the building. I will never give this thing up!

  41. Paul Michael Alves - 8 years ago

    well still going strong with an 2008 model, stopped upradeding OS X at Yosemite, there were already a few things it wasn’t doing , and refused to give up Iphoto, I have 9 libraries and it works for me, so far it is still forging onward, and even when I get a new MAC probably will keep this one as well!

  42. Smigit - 8 years ago

    I’d say system longevity isn’t really exclusive to the Mac, but is a by product of where the industry has gone. CPU’s have become more and more powerful, but at the same time much of the computing tasks has been offloaded to the cloud or otherwise requirements have remained static. Many users probably barely run anything more than a web browser on their system, which is why something such as Chrome OS can exist in this day and age. Through that they can access sites, manage email and view multimedia. Even those with local libraries can do a lot of their content management on their phone now days or via a browser. For music playback there’s no real reason for a media player today to be more resource heavy than one from five to ten years ago.

    The push to mobile devices has also lead to OS’s becoming more conscious of resource usage than they were when desktops ruled the neighbourhood.

    Ultimately if your PC could run Windows Vista, there’s probably a good chance it could run Windows 10 now days. It’s probably a big reason why there’s such a slow down in the PC market (just as we’ve started to see lately in the tablet market). Essentially old machines are still capable of performing the tasks people most care about today.

    Things such as video games certainly changes things up, but that’d apply to the Mac platform as well.

    The longevity does help justify the cost of a Mac to someone who may not otherwise spend that much on a system.

  43. Paul Andrew Dixon - 8 years ago

    I have family and friends that use windows – they often struggle to maintain it in good working order and often have something to moan about… often resulting in requesting me to have a look and see if i can tweak it and tune it up… i know a few will buy a new PC about every 2 years.

    Laptops are worse and have such a shorter life span — BUT this is often because there are far too many cheap window laptops… i think it is these cheap, plastic, tacky, laptops and even PCs that cause windows damage to their reputation…There are some good window PCs and laptops but they cost the same or more than macs – but windows is constantly having to support crappy products which stops it from advancing — look at windows 8… microsoft wanted to unify their OS, but many cheap products made windows 8 unstable and have many issues…

    Then look at Mac… they don’t have to worry about small companies trying to make a product by selling cheap machines with a mac OS… they don’t have to worry about creating updates and new a OS due to products having cheap components…this is one of the major issues of android — so many cheap phones and tablets that have no future proofing…

    This is why macs last — they have a few models with updates each year…the products are design with the future in mind…

    or, at least they used to!!!

    old macs you could do minor upgrades – the ram and hard drive – that keep your laptop going a bit longer… often the reason to upgrade is the CPU and graphics card…

    BUT modern macs are not future proof… they are forcing you to buy for the future at the time of purchase — they are gluing in batteries, even gluing the keyboard in place, they make special screws to stop you upgrading, they are soldering memory etc — basically, you can’t up grade…

    my current mac is 4 years old — but the graphic card is really starting to struggle and putting a lot of pressure on the CPU… in the past the decision was easier, i go for the affordable option and upgrade later if needed — but this time around i have to consider paying more, just incase…

    a £1200 laptop from apple used to last about 4-5years… now i’d argue it will last 2 years… apple have changed tact to encourage us to buy more often — this i dont like

  44. I was just thinking about this today. I have 2 macs, a 2007 15″ Macbook pro and a 2011 27′ iMac. Both work great and I really have no pressing need to upgrade. I just want new ones, with faster connections and Retina displays. But honestly for what I uses them for, they both work perfect.

  45. Don’t quite agree. Two subsequent macs (2007, 2011) had their discrete GPU fried soon after the warranty expired and in both cases Apple failed to acknowledge the issue. As far as they’re concerned if you didn’t buy the appropriate Apple Care coverage you’re on your own, until some class action or some strong negative media brings them to a late acknowledgement. Now I got myself a 2014 Macbook Pro, which will be readily sold as soon a few days before the warranty expires. BTW My 12″ iBook rocks with Leopard.

  46. Allister (@zkarj) - 8 years ago

    No-one has yet mentioned security. If you’re running a release of OS X which is not still getting security updates then you’re taking a risk.

  47. Inaba-kun (@Inaba_kun) - 8 years ago

    By contrast iOS devices are horribly unreliable. My iPhone 3GS, 4, 5, and 6 have all been replaced for various issues, ranging from expanding batteries to misaligned cameras to cracking cases. My iPad Mini 2 has been replaced twice (wifi and sensor failures).

    Maybe I’m just unlucky.

  48. thejuanald - 8 years ago

    “Yet no one ever says they’re switching from an old Mac to a new PC”

    I have a 2009 MacBook Pro, a 2011 MacBook Air, and a Surface Pro 2. The MacBooks will not be replaced with another Mac, and the Surface Pro 2 will be replaced with a 4, so I guess that quote is incorrect.

  49. A. I. Sajib - 8 years ago

    Agreed. The longevity of Macs is definitely one of the best things about it. Two years ago, my colleague bumped into a 2008 MacBook Pro lying at the corner of the office. He managed to replace the hard drive and it was up and running. Just like that. I think he was able to run OS X Lion which wasn’t so old two years ago.

    Besides all that, Macs have great resale value. People who like to live on the bleeding edge of technology often feel the need to replace their laptop every 2 or so years. A typical Windows laptop goes for below one-third the actual price whereas I’ve personally seen many 2 to 3-year-old Macs selling at a little over half the price.

    Too bad Apple can’t brag about it. :P

  50. Ian F. Bell - 8 years ago

    I just did an SSD second hard drive add to my 2010 MBP and I was amazed how much faster it was on boot and the second drive is a nice thing to have. The old super drive became an external which is fine because I rarely use my superdrive anymore.

  51. David Kaplan - 8 years ago

    Good article. It’s true my family is still using iMacs from 2007 and 2008 and we just got a new MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch for a 2008 MCBP. I will say that they run insanely slow if you keep updating the software, a 2009 Mac Mini in my house is running OS X Yosemite and is extremely slow.

  52. Richard Stanley - 8 years ago

    My 2006 iMac is still ticking along fine. Replaced the hard drive and increased the RAM. Can’t replace it because of the apps I use, including AppleWorks 6 and 4X4 Evolution 2. Maybe my iMac will get a cousin for its 10th birthday.

  53. Bob (@nc_bob_a) - 8 years ago

    2008 aluminum macbook owner here. At some point I doubled the RAM and added a SSD into the optical drive bay (it started getting unreliable, and truly, I rarely used it)

    While it doesn’t match the speed of today’s machines, it really isn’t that much slower for what I do – including playing the latest Civilization games on the latest OS.

  54. mastern - 8 years ago

    I’ve had my early 2011 15-inch MacBook Pro for three and a half years, which is longer than the Windows laptops our family recently had. The optical drive on my last Dell laptop failed within a few months, and a Compaq my daughter died within two years. I had keyboard problems with my MacBook Pro, and I had to replace the upper unit including the trackpad to fix it. It set me back $250, but it was still a good investment compared to buying another cheap Windows laptop. I expect that my MacBook Pro will continue to give me many good years of service.

  55. patstar5 - 8 years ago

    Well finally got a new MacBook pro for college. For how much it costed I hope it lasts for 8 years.
    If I put an ssd drive in my old 2010 macbook pro with Intel core 2 duo,will it bootup faster and last a few more years?

    • Jeremy Horwitz - 8 years ago

      Read my guide on doing that, linked above – yes. The improvement is huge.

  56. Al Castillo - 8 years ago

    I am using a 2008 vintage Mac Pro 3,1 – 2.8 GHZ running 8 cores…. 8GB RAM, PC video card (radeon HD 6870) + stock Radeon HD 2600 with a 128 GB SSD mounted on a PCI card for my boot drive. Three internal 1TB Hard drives and tons of peripherals. All Driving two 40 inch HDTVs at 1080p….Awesome setup… all (everything) carefully bought on ebay for under a $1000.00….still workstation speed for tough work and “mindblowing” for day to day tasks…

  57. Menno de Boer - 8 years ago

    “The other key thing about OS X that many mainstream users don’t realize is that under-the-hood software improvements routinely make old Macs run better than they did when originally purchased.”

    Sorry, but that’s not the whole picture. Let’s see:

    -2007 iMac, runs great on Tiger, Leopard and Snow. Come Lion, it’s stuck in a swamp of molasses. Incidentally, the firmware update and Lion conspire to render Bootcamp unusable, as the machine feels it isn’t good for anything newer than XP, and the OS believes Windows 7 is a minimum requirement.

    -2009 MacPro, runs great on Leopard and Snow, takes a noticeable performance hit with Mountain Lion. It is still usable and responsive enough, but not as lightning-quick as it was with Snow. It has me holding off upgrading to Mavericks (I tend to stay one generation behind on my work machine).

    -2011 iPhone 3GS, smooth like butter with iOS4 and 5. Forgetting to disable “update over wifi” means it downloaded iOS6, which took up half the space of my 8GB, making the phone nearly unusable. No way to get rid of it other than install, and -you guessed it- now we’re in swampy molasses territory.

    -2013 MacBookAir, now this is an exception. Mavericks was every bit as good as Mountain Lion, and supposedly better (I didn’t really notice that). Yosemite is fine, too. As it should be, the machine is only two years old.

    -2013 iPad4, ditto. I do not like iOS7/8 as much as 6, but it runs smooth enough.

    • Menno de Boer - 8 years ago

      But I will say that the hardware has held up nicely. The ’07 iMac is still running, albeit painfully slow.

    • Raymundo Ochoa - 8 years ago

      For someone who has ended up in a swamp of molasses so recurrently, you are strangely addicted to keep buying Apple’s stuff.

  58. Kira Kinski - 8 years ago

    I’ve owned a number of Macs over the years and have never had one fail. And I use a Mac for years, until it can no longer adequately run the latest software. That being said, I’m not pleased with how Apple has moved to a business model where a Mac is not upgradeable or user serviceable, thereby severely reducing its effective lifetime — by several years at least. Poor Mother Earth. (I don’t have a problem with some Macs being this way, but the entire line?)

  59. Raymundo Ochoa - 8 years ago

    Most people have longer relationships with their Macs than with their current partners.

  60. Radu Tanasescu - 8 years ago

    My late 2012 21.5 inch iMacs 1 TB hard drive failed in less than 3 years :/ (just the hard drive), and I also had an old Macbook (the first unibody model) and its GPU failed after about 5 years.

    I have had many PCs, no PC hardware component has ever failed on me, even though I bought the cheapest. I still have my 2012 iMac, I replaced the hdd and it’s working fine, and I do see it staying fast and useful for years to come.

    But they do fail faster than 10 years :)

  61. Michael Jennings - 8 years ago

    I used Apple computers from an Apple 2 in 1982 up until a Mac LC in about 1994, and used an assortment of Unix workstations (I was doing a PhD at the time) but started using PCs from about 1997, as Apple appeared to be dying at the time.

    I came back to the Mac (which possibly by that point owed as much to NeXT as it did to the classic mac) in 2007. Since then, I have bought four Macs: a 2007 Macbook Pro; a 2009 Mac mini; a 2011 Macbook Air; and a 2014 Mac mini.

    The 2007 Macbook Pro is being used by the elderly mother of a friend of mine. This computer had a mainboard that failed in 2011. Amazingly, Apple replaced it for me for free even though the computer was four years old.

    The 2009 Mac mini was my home desktop computer until earlier this year, when I decided it was time for an upgrade. Nothing wrong with it at all, so I am now using it at work. (In fact, I am using it right now at this moment). The RAM has been upgraded to 8Gb and I have put a hard disk in it than the one it came with.

    The 2011 Macbook Air is the best laptop I have ever owned. I’ve replaced the 128 Gb SSD it came with with a bigger one (480Gb), and have just put in a new battery, and I am suddenly getting eight hours of battery life compared to the 90 minutes I was getting with the nearly dead old battery. This laptop has been carried all over the world in a backpack and has taken quite a bit of physical abuse, and has a few dents on it but otherwise seems indestructible. I look at new laptops and think I might maybe like one, but there just isn’t any point – the one I have is absolutely great and has years of life left in it.

    The 2014 Mac mini is fine, too. Haven’t used it that much yet. 

    All four Macs I have bought since 2007 are still in day to day use, and all of them run Yosemite and will run El Capitan. (I am running the developer beta on a couple of them already). In terms of built to last, they really were.

  62. luisaclopes11 - 8 years ago

    Totally agree with this selling point! Macs are definitely the best longevity wise. Not only in terms of how many years it takes for the average machine to “stop working”, but actually for the fact that it works for a suprising number of years and, for the average user, it will always be a reliable machine.

    Apple can`t advertise this aspect of its product, but the truth is that most of windows user don`t understand how durable a mac can be…they are so used to have a computer that become sluggish after few years of use, that they will never believe a Mac can actually do a great work for more than one decade!

    Summary: Mac rules! :P

  63. Eric Weiner - 8 years ago

    I suspect that the longevity is very much tied to upgradability and the cost of those older parts. Today’s Macs do not have the same luxury and I suspect that they will not last as long. Fixing them out of warranty is just too expensive, upgrading them impossible. Three to Five years max is the life of today’s Mac. This is exactly where Apple wants you. Buy, then buy again and again in as short a time period as possible.

  64. I’m working on an a mid ’09 MBP 15 and it works better than my ’13 (bought in ’14) iMac 21″. While this pisses me off no end, the obvious paradox is that these Macs work for a long time. I’m an old fart and go back to Windows 2. (Or 1, I don’t remember ;-) ) Point being, that if Apple doesn’t cave in to the Fausiant-bargain of “planned obsolescence” we should continue to get a long life out of our computers. I spent about 30 years with blue screens and off-the-shelf hardware from Fry’s, and continually reinstalling the Windows OS until my wife woke me up to Mac. As stated, if Mac doesn’t make the classic deal with the devil, I’ll remain a Macolite with a lighted candle. (Labor issues discussed elsewhere.)

  65. Tracy V Sheppard - 7 years ago

    I have a mid-2009 MacBook Pro. Running 10.11.3, El Capitan. Added RAM to come up to 8GB. My wife has been through, oh, 5 or so Windows-based PCs in that time. I feel like it is time for me to deserve a new computer, but my MBPro is still so superior to anything my wife uses and anything I use at work (Windows, unfortunately) I will just keep running my mid-2009 MBPro. Apple is worth the up-front expense.

  66. Matthew Barclay - 7 years ago

    Still using a late-2006 MacBook. We upgraded the memory from 2GB to 4 GB (the maximum), and its a little slow, but it still works. Haven’t been able to update Safari because it requires an OS newer than Lion, and there are some websites that are lacking because of that, but overall the computer still works.

  67. gunnar-mobimation - 7 years ago

    I bought a 13″ Macbook Pro in May 2010 and it has kept up ever since. The vigorous handshake of the SF Apple Store salesman firing off a “Welcome to the Apple Family” greeting with a broad smile turned out having substance.The secret to the amazing longevity is both in the mechanical build quality/specs and in the ever evolving operating system. A 2010 model can feel fully fresh in 2016. The metal case is very resistant to cosmetic wear. Only major problem has been the batteries which can expand and literally break the case and mouse pad open.

  68. johninc - 6 years ago

    I Have All Mine Since 1991, Currently Have My 2006 Mac Mini On 42” Sony Bravia; Best Computer Screen In The World. I Watch Netflix, Download And Watch Movies And Work On It [Office, Adobe, Dropbox Etc] Also All My Iphones Ipods And Ipads. I Do Backup To External Hard Drives In Case It’s Over And Done But Plane On Taking Mac Mini To Indy Mac Doc When That Happens. Imagine A Daily 20 Yr Computer… Like A 20 Yr Car, Why Not. At Some Point, Our Old Stuff Is Going To Have The Same Redundant Technologies New Stuff Has.
    PS. Like New Apples Too, Have Iphone 7+ And Apple Watch.

  69. Thomas Day - 6 years ago

    Being a “believer” has some high costs. I’ve run Macs for the last 15 years because the music school where I worked was Mac-only, mostly because art types are intimidated by options and technology. The school’s IT department was constantly inundated by broken equipment, user problems, installation problems, incompatibility problems, and the usual “everything you own is obsoleted by this marginal ‘OS X update.'” Being on the receiving end of all of this was entertaining. Now that I’m retired and have to maintain my own pair of Macs, a 2007 MacBook Pro and a 2009 Mac tower, I’m less entertained. The MacBook has been a constant problem with failing video and logic boards that, fortunately, were covered twice by Apple’s flat rate repair warranty. (One of my old students is an Apple “Genius” and extended coverage and warranty as a favor.) Apple’s mediocre assembly quality control meant that I had to do an infamous processor heat sink upgrade on the fly while camped in the New Mexico desert. For the money someone paid for these two computers when they were new, they could have bought a half-dozen Windows machines.

    On the other hand, I have a 2006 Dell Latitude that has suffered 80k motorcycle miles, hours of keyboard abuse, and the usual dust, moisture, and temperature abuse that comes with motorcycle travel and camping and it has been totally reliable. My experience with Dell machines has been consistently good and the cost advantage is gigantic. As a near-70 retired electrical engineer, I don’t care about state-of-the-art anything. I just need equipment that works reliably. I don’t see Apple products living up to that demand.

    • Allan Clark - 6 years ago

      A better understanding of statistics might help you — I worry if we have the same understanding of “representative sample size”.

      Consider for thought: http://www.infoworld.com/article/2918424/macs/the-truth-about-macs-in-the-enterprise.html (because I worry some people don’t read dissenting opinion in full, I’m top-posting it)

      “Macs are up to $543 cheaper than Windows PCs, says IBM” http://www.imore.com/macs-are-543-cheaper-windows-pcs-says-ibm

      “Just 5 percent of IBM’s Mac using employees need to call the help desk; In contrast an astonishing 40 percent of PC using staff call the help desk.” http://www.computerworld.com/article/2998315/apple-mac/every-mac-we-buy-is-making-and-saving-ibm-money-ibm.html

      “During its October earnings call Apple CFO Luca Maestri claimed IBM has been saving roughly $270 on each MacBook its employees use instead of a traditional PC, largely due to lower IT support costs and better residual value” (ibid)

      “IBM is saving a minimum of $265 (up to $535 depending on model) per Mac compared to a PC, over a 4-year lifespan” https://viptest.9to5mac.com/2016/10/19/jamf-ibm-mac-deployment/

      My own comparison of Dells that I had versus Macs that I’ve had is the opposite: infant failures constantly on Dell, no problems on Mac.

      “intimidated by options and technology” is a strange phrase for a company that literally changed the look and design of mobile phones (compare pre-iphone to post-iphone), that defined connectors in the industry (USB based on gameboy HW and ADB control lines, USB-C based on thunderbolt with reversible plug that was not invented before thunderbolt was rolled out but obvious in hindsight, bluetooth was a joke before Apple included it as a feature, etc).

      Dell has invented… coloured PS/2 connector ports. That was honestly very helpful in its time.

      Statistics will tell you: TCO is lower, innovation is higher, customer satisfaction is consistently high on Apple. These are openly available, and have a larger sample size than your blissful history with a Dell where mine were frequent fliers into IT for repair. We are a small sample-size, but the stats — if you look for them — show results that represent the industry.

  70. Candis Gillett - 5 years ago

    No arguments here. My 2009 MBP has lived in three states and gone to work with me everyday; she is currently running El Capitan and still chugging away (2017). Worth every penny.