Apple handing out iTunes gift cards for iPad, Mac sales on Black Friday 2014

For the second straight year, the company will give out the cards instead of discounting its products. All iPads will come with a $50 card, and all iMac and MacBook purchases will include a $100 card.

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Apple used to wait until the very last minute to announce its Black Friday deals, but as in many cases now that Tim Cook is at the helm, it's handling things a little bit differently this year. As part of its campaign to support World AIDS Day and the (RED) charity in its fight against the disease, the company has disclosed that it will be providing special (PRODUCT)RED iTunes gift cards with the purchase of Apple products on November 28.

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This is the second straight year that Apple has chosen to give gift cards instead of a discount off the full price for its wares. Unfortunately, the amounts that it is offering for those cards have apparently decreased from last year . Instead of a $75 card for iPads, it's only giving out $50 cards this year, and instead of $150 of iTunes credit for the purchase of a Mac, it's providing $100 this year.

In a slight improvement from 2013, the iTunes gift card will come with the purchase of any iPad that Apple currently sells — the iPad Air 2 and Air, and the iPad mini 3, 2, and original version — whereas last year, the firm did not offer a card for the then-new iPad Air. Like last year, gift cards will be provided when you buy any iMac (including the new Retina 5K edition), MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro.

Once again, the Mac Pro is not eligible for the gift card bonus. Apple will be maxing out the number of gift cards at two for iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 buyers, so you won't be receiving multiple cards if you're grabbing one of those latest tablets for each member of your extended family.

Consumers should be aware that Target is going to be more generous with the same strategy for its iPad sales. You can score a $140 Target gift card with the purchase of an iPad Air 2 — nearly three times the amount Apple is offering — or a $100 card for a first-generation Air or iPad mini 3 or 2, twice what Apple gives. Even the original iPad mini will net you $30 more in Target store credit than Apple will dole out in iTunes money.

If you'd rather just pay less than obtain the gift card, Best Buy and Micro Center will have deals on a number of iMacs and MacBooks that will match or surpass the value of the iTunes credit Apple is offering. Apple will be banking on your holiday spirit, however, as shopping at those other stores won't provide a charitable donation to (RED) like buying an iPad or a MacBook at an Apple Store will.