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How to save money on your next Apple purchase

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The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicked off this week with the announcement of the much-awaited iPhone 3G. While it may be less expensive than its predecessor, Apple products are still notorious for their high prices. So before you upgrade to the latest Apple gear, here are a few tips that'll save you some money.

Shop for discounts: Immediately after a new Apple product is released, government employees, military personnel, and students should turn to the Apple Federal Employee Purchase Program and the Apple Store for Education, respectively, and look for discounts that can save them as much as 10% off. Students can also take advantage of Apple's current promotion and receive a free iPod Touch or iPod Nano with the purchase of a new Mac. Not eligible for the above discounts? Bring your current iPod to the Apple Store and get a 10% off discount toward the purchase of a new one.

Wait for combo deals: When it comes to buying Apple products, it doesn't pay to be first in line. On the contrary, shoppers who wait a few days after an Apple announcement can take advantage of early Apple reseller deals. These deals typically consist of freebies, like a free RAM or hard drive upgrade with the purchase of a new Mac computer, or free cases, FM tuners, and engraving with the purchase of a new iPod. ExperCom is generally the first merchant to offer such deals, often on the same day the products are released, but also keep your eyes on MacMall and MacConnection.

Hit up the refurbs: Nobody wants to buy old tech, but if saving money is your mission, turn to the Apple Store's Special Deals section for price drops on Apple's just-discontinued items. Likewise, look for price drops on clearance and refurbished models. Unlike other manufacturers, Apple's refurbs are of extremely high quality and many times are unused products that must be sold as refurbs.

Mail those rebates: Just a few weeks after a product announcement, expect to see stores like Amazon.com, MacMall, and MacConnection release mail-in rebate promotions for Apple's product du jour. Past Amazon rebates have included $150 off MacBook Pro laptops and Mac Pro workstations, as well as $50 off the MacBook Air.

Shop in other states: When shopping for Apple products, consider shopping from out of state merchants. Do so and you can dodge paying the sales tax for the state you reside in, saving upwards of 9% off your purchase.

Become a late adopter: When all else fails, take the hands off approach. Wait five to six months into a product's life cycle and then look for deals and rebates. Sure, that may feel like an eternity in the gadget industry, but that's when refurb prices are at their lowest and when you'll see the best discounts on Apple merchandise.

Louis Ramirez is dealnews' Features Editor.

Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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