Apple laptop suggestions affordable & good for movie watching?

Hi I know I need to also look at tech sites too but posting here for suggestions for an older friend who needs a new apple laptop.

She uses it mainly to view movies and amazon purchases. That's about it, no gaming nor work. 

Sound and image quality seems to be the thing she worries about the most. She doesn't have much money and would like to stay below $1,500 but wants to stick with Apple and has no one to guide her really. (I know nothing of apple and don't live in the area.)

Any suggestions of what apple laptop she should look into? And where in the peninsula or south bay she could buy it that they won't push her into more than she needs but will help her set it up?

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The basic MacBook Air is a solid computer that works just fine for streaming movies--she'd be set with that. She can stay within her budget and get the 15" screen (which also has better speakers than the 13") if she prefers a larger screen, too. I would recommend buying it directly from Apple for simplicity; you can order it online ahead of time to pick up in her closest Apple Store, where they have solid tech support to help get it set up without adding bells or whistles. (I have often watched them patiently walk older folks through each step of setup, teach grandparents how to text on new iPhones, etc.) She may be able to get one for less at Costco or Best Buy, but assuming she isn't super tech savvy, I think there's some value to doing it through Apple since the cost difference isn't usually huge (though you do get access to their tech support for the early months even if you buy it elsewhere). I would also recommend AppleCare for the same reason--she can just take it in if there's a problem during the covered period without having to worry about it.

The new 15 inch MacBook Air would be perfect for this. A larger screen for tv watching, and easily portable. The base (cheapest) model is fine for her purposes. If she has a Mac currently and wants the data transferred, the Apple Store will do that for free. Just go in with the old nMac and ask for the base model 15-inch MacBook Air. $1299 plus tax.

I would suggest a Macbook Air, which starts at $899 with an education discount (she should only need a .edu email address to qualify). You might want to take her to an Apple Store to test one out to see if she likes the size, style, and experience.

Though Apple charges exorbitantly for upgrades, I would suggest upgrading to 16GB of RAM (which is useful for web browsing) for $180. I might also suggest getting 3 years of AppleCare (for $139) to insure it against accidental damage. Other than that, I think Apple makes fabulous laptops with excellent build-quality, and I think the machine should last her at least 4-5 years if she treats it well.

Consider an older model or certified used iPad, purchase through the Apple store or Staples. A standard model iPad will easily stream movies and support Amazon shopping (as well as email, text, FaceTime, etc.).

This worked well for my father-in-law as his cognition became compromised. One of his daughters bought him a much lower cost, major brand tablet, but he wouldn't use it. He wanted the familiarity (thus perceived ease) of an Apple product.

I would advise your friend to get an iPad, not a laptop. An iPad is much better for watching movies (lighter, easier to hold up) and is perfectly fine for Amazon purchases. Also much cheaper. Any new iPad will be more than fine, no need to buy the expensive models. 

May I ask why an apple product is a requirement? Asking because if Amazon and movie-watching are her main uses, I’d suggest an inexpensive Chromebook. Cost is around $150 and can be used to peruse the internet and use apps like Netflix. 

Get the MacBook Air, in the screen size she wants -- 13" or 15". These use the new Apple M chip which uses RAM super efficiently, and she will not need more than the 8GB base that these come with. Get more than the hard disk space if you want. The other option, if she's not traveling with the computer, is to get a MacMini and get an external monitor and keyboard/mouse. That way she can have a bigger screen to watch movies. Again, you don't need more than 8GB RAM -- you should be able get the computer, monitor, etc. all together for under $1,000. 

For those use cases a MacBook Air with standard configuration would be sufficient. ~$1k

An iPad with a keyboard could also server perfectly well. My grandmother loves her iPad because it works just like her phone.
An iPad with 'Magic Keyboard Folio" cover comes to about $700. It would be great for movies and amazon.

If a bigger screen is important for watching consider the 15'' MacBook Air ($1300) or iPad Pro 12.9'' + Magic Keyboard ($1,448.00)

However if cost is a bigger factor I would even consider buying something used. Anything can play movies and do amazon!

Hope that helps, and the folks at the Apple Store on 4th street or Bay Street would be helpful with a question like this.

Would she consider an iPad? If she only wants for movies and amazon purchases, it will be cheaper and handle what she needs. 

Perhaps try an iPad. Around $350-$450. Optional to add a keyboard for around $200 (make sure the iPad and keyboards are compatible). Buy at an Apple Store.

Why not get an iPad? Fits exactly what she’s looking for. She should make an appointment at the Apple Store and they’ll walk her through what she needs. Last time I went, they actually convinced me to buy a smaller/cheaper model bc I didn’t need the larger one. 

I bought an ipad for my aging father. He was able to watch movies, read books, and use Facetime with it. Easy to use and relatively inexpensive.