Would you recommend that I buy the computer at Apple, or purchase it at another outlet, like Best Buy? I have been to the Apple store, and was very impressed with the sales people there. Also, one of them told me that you could buy a feature where you could go to classes for a year.
I would buy it online, personally. You can customize it (add RAM for e.g.) and there's no sales tax.
When I bought the computer that I have now, I did not project the advances that would be coming in the ensuing years. So I did not increase my RAM (which Mr. P had to do later), and took the CD player and burner that came with the computer. This time, I would like to think ahead.
Since your last computer purchase computers have really stagnated, and now they don't go obsolete nearly as quickly. Any Mac with at least 4GB of RAM is future-proof in terms of being functional, there will be a new shiny model every year but these days pretty much any computer you get with at least 4GB of RAM is gonna be fine for a while.
I am looking at the high end 27" IMAC. I think that the MacBook Pro is a little pricey for me. Right now I have my computer tower on the floor. As I am getting older, and my back is getting lousier, I find that crawling around on the floor to get to the tower is getting to be a bit much for me.
Personally, I think you'd be fine with one of their Air laptops if you want a laptop, but the iMac is by far their best for the buck.
Some reviewers think that not having an HDMI port, or a blu-ray player on the iMac is a big deal. Right now, I have no problem with that. I have a blu-ray player on my T.V., and I don't anticipate watching movies on my computer. Then again, I did not think ahead the last time that I bought a computer. What do you think?
Blu-ray isn't the future, digital downloads are. Don't worry about lacking Blu-ray.
What do you think about the all-in-ones? Any caveats?
Less easy to upgrade, but other than RAM all Macs really are. It's really jsut a choice between desktop and laptop, I think you'd find that the Air laptops are so portable that you'll use them in ways you wouldn't use a laptop (e.g. I can't use my macbook pro as a laptop because I have been spoiled by ultra-lights) and to me that would be the decision, the portability (and ultra-portability with the Air line) vs savings.
Another thing. When I bought my last computer, I bought surround sound speakers. They are too good to throw away, and are much better than the speakers that come with the iMac. Can they be used with the Apple?
It depends. I wouldn't use them with an iMac personally, because the built-in speakers are good enough and the external ones would make it that much less all-in-one.