Working With Apple

Apple programs
When Apple announced a Kaby Lake update to the MacBook Pro Touch at WWDC, some reviewers were upset. A popular tech blog even wrote an inflammatory headline about the update and then went on to lambast Apple for not shipping the Kaby Lake processor back in November when the MacBook Pro Touch launched. Not privy to Apple’s supply chain logistics, I don’t know why the first rev of the Touch Bar Mac didn’t have it, but I wasn’t upset when they announced the new config.

That’s because I have a working relationship with my local store, and I recommend you do, too, if you’re an Apple owner with multiple systems. You’ll probably be surprised to know what programs they offer to small businesses like mine.

I had bought my non-Kaby MacBook Pro Touch just a few weeks prior to WWDC and it fell within Apple’s reasonable no-questions-asked return window. I emailed my business contact at the store and had a Kaby Lake MacBook a few days later. Now, I’m not saying Apple will do that in all cases, but I asked, they said yes, and our good working relationship continues.

It’s like most things in life—ask nicely and sometimes you’ll be surprised at the response.

I also got loyalty pricing, a discount, based on my annual business purchase history. That’s a good deal, and so is Joint Venture, one of Apple’s least-known programs that offers first-in-line tech support, training and a dedicated phone line. The $500 annual fee has paid for itself several times over because it includes loaners during a warrantied repair.

What?

Yup. It’s a great deal, and pretty much Apple sets up an IT department for your business. As a small studio, it’s a huge relief to know I can get a repair done and have a loaner while it’s happening. The program isn’t new, but Apple doesn’t exactly promote it, and it’s not on their site. Your store business contact can share the details, and the signup page is here.

Joint Venture Details

For 5 systems, I pay $499 a year. Adding additional systems is prorated, and for the cost, I get a year of employee training and workshops, dedicated support, software updates and the Mac loaner program. I checked out two loaners this year and pretty much had walk-in service as needed for me and my colleagues. Those “colleagues” include two teens in college who go through at least an iPhone a year. Instead of me talking them through the repair and/or replace process, I added them to my Joint Venture account, and have them call Apple.

Apple Leasing

The other little-known Apple program is leasing. You could lease Apple computers from other resellers and via a bank, but not directly and as easily. The program was announced about a month ago, and you’ll need to work the numbers out for yourself, but it’s similar to how Apple leases phones and iPads. You pay about 80% of the cost of a computer, can write it off, and then get a new one every two years.

Apple programs

As I learned waiting for Apple to update their Macs, the older models perform mostly just fine, until you start working with huge RAW and 4K video files, so I’m not sure a 2-year update is desirable. You can opt for a 3-year term and, depending on your business and cash flow, it may be better to just write the entire purchase off at once. Your mileage may vary, and Apple is certainly making it attractive when combined with Joint Venture.

For a maxed-out MacBook Pro, the monthly payment is about $151. The program works exactly like leasing a car, and at the end of your “rental” term, you have the choice to return your equipment and refresh it with new, in-stock equipment under a new lease, purchase your equipment for the current value or return it, ending the lease. It’s probably not recommended because of equipment depreciation, but if you really love the computer you have, you can also just continue to rent your existing products after the end of 24 months by making monthly rental payments. AppleCare is automatically included in the purchase price and includes Apple’s Express Replacement Service that lets you ship directly without visiting a store.

Again, Apple wants your loyalty and dollars, so you can add accessories and devices to the lease as well.

Back to Kaby Lake. Of course, the clock speeds show a double-digit increase in speed, but the upgrade, to me, is pretty much imperceptible just working with it. However, even if I didn’t purchase it, I know that with a lease I could upgrade within a couple of years as part of the program.

For a small business, that’s a good deal.

You can follow DL Byron on Twitter @bikehugger

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