The Mac loyalists have spoken.
In response to student requests, Carolina Computing Initiative will begin offering MacBook Pro computers for sale in addition to Lenovo products beginning April 1.
“It’s really been the student desire and some departments who wanted to be able to get full support from Mac,” said Priscilla Alden, executive for Information Technology Services user support and engagement.
CCI officials said the move was a long time coming after years of pressure from students. The issue has even had a place on student body president platforms, including current student body president Hogan Medlin’s.
“I was reading a student council report from 2004 that even mentioned it as something to look into,” said Max Beckman-Harned, student government technology and web committee co-chairman.
Students who purchase Macs through CCI will have hardware repair available, including Apple’s four-year AppleCare, which provides a warranty and software support.
“When you buy a computer through CCI, you’re not just buying the hardware,” said John Gorsuch, interim director of Student Stores. “You’re buying a program that fully supports all of your computing needs until graduation.”
The University only began offering hardware support for Macs last year, Alden said. This fall, that support will also include offering loaner Mac laptops.
CCI program manager David Eckert said he does not think there will be a major change in the amount of Macs or Lenovos purchased because people choose computer systems by the operating system.
The prices of Macs will not be cheaper through CCI, Alden said. The cheapest Mac, featuring a 13-inch screen, will cost $1,613 including AppleCare — $304.48 more than the cheapest Lenovo. The two other Macs will feature 15-inch screens and cost $2,519 and $2,874 with the total package, respectively.
Apple computers have been available in Student Stores for more than 10 years, and ITS began offering hardware repair for Apple laptops last spring.
“It’s more of like a scaling up on this than launching anything new,” Eckert said.
Alden said one of the most difficult hurdles in gaining Apple’s approval to become part of CCI was allowing four years of AppleCare.
She said AppleCare requires the University to supply the parts needed for the oldest models.
“The longer they have to provide warranties, the longer they have to provide parts,” she said.
To prepare CCI for Mac products, Apple provided a free training to three staff members.
While dealing with Apple’s products isn’t very different than Lenovo’s, Alden said training was needed to get Apple certification.
“It’s really proving to the vendor you know what you’re doing,” she said.
Eckert said he could not provide an estimate for additional costs to the University because Apple is so new to CCI.
“Anytime you’re working with a vendor there’s overhead costs,” he said.
Alden said the relationship with Lenovo will not change in light of new Mac support.
“The real reason we’re going this way is because our customers asked us to,” Eckert said.
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