[Update: Now that Black Friday is here, we have a few new deals to report, though none by Apple itself. Its stores have apparently opted out of any deals whatsoever, so use the guide below for the best prices you'll find this weekend. Note that some of the best deals may become unavailable over the course of the weekend, if they haven't already. One option to keep in mind if you are looking for savings on a configuration that major retailers aren't discounting is that MacMall has price cuts on all current iPad versions, though they are generally fairly modest ones.]
Though they are no longer the hottest item Black Friday shoppers are seeking out, iPads remain a popular item to get as a holiday gift. Unfortunately, thanks to Apple's reluctance to discount its products, you generally won't find the types of massive discounts you'll see on other popular Black Friday items like HDTVs. It takes a bit of sleuthing to find the best iPad deals, so here are the top sales we've found on iPad Airs and minis, which we'll update this week if any additional specials pop up.
Apple iPad mini 2
While probably the least powerful tablet in Apple's current active lineup, it's also the cheapest, which means it's the most enticing model for budget buyers and parents looking to give their kids an iPad.
The best price for the 16GB iPad mini 2 comes from Walmart, which has it available for $199, or $70 off the regular price. If you can't locate one at your neighborhood Walmart and aren't interested in paying full price, Staples also has the base model on sale, but for $239. Target offers another option for this and all iPads it's selling: Pay full price, but get a store gift card with the purchase. If you plan to spend more money at the store anyway, it works out as a good deal. In this case, Target is offering an $80 card, which could work out to be the best deal for you if you were planning to spend $80 there.
Apple iPad mini 4
The latest version of the mini comes with a faster processor and the same Retina display -- along with a heftier price tag (starting at $399). Your best bet for the 16GB version is Staples, which is slicing $100 off the price. Best Buy also has $100 off, but only on the even pricier 64GB and 128GB models ($499.99 and $599.99, respectively, after the discount), while Hhgregg is taking $50 off the price as a 4 p.m. Thanksgiving doorbuster. Alternately, Target will give you a $100 gift card for any iPad mini 4 purchased at full price.
Apple iPad Air 2
[Update: B&H and MacMall have $40 off the base iPad Air 2 and $70 off the other Wi-Fi versions if the below deals are no longer available. ]
The top consumer-focused iPad is probably getting the most sales, helpful since its starting price is a hefty $499 for the 16GB configuration. The best deal on the base model comes courtesy of Staples, which is selling it for $374, or $125 off, beating Best Buy and Walmart's best price by $25. Even bigger discounts are available for the 64GB and 128GB Air 2s: Staples is slicing $150 from the 64GB's $599 current price, while Walmart's warehouse arm Sam's Club is dropping the price of both higher-capacity tablets by $150. That discount matches the store gift card Target will offer if you buy an Air 2 at the regular price. (Best Buy's discount on the 64GB Air 2 is $100 and $125 on the 128GB edition.) Though most Black Friday deals are for Wi-Fi-only iPads, Sam's Club is providing a price break of a $175 off the ceullar-enabled 64GB and 128GB Air 2 models.
Apple iPad Air
[Update: B&H has $40 off the base iPad Air and $30 off the 32GB version if the below deals are no longer available. ]
While it's not as powerful as its successor, the original Air still has a place on Apple's current iPad roster, though it's not the focus of as many Black Friday deals as its replacement. You can find it on sale at Staples, however, for $319 for the 16GB edition, or $359 for the 32GB flavor, a savings off the regular of $80 and $90, respectively. Hhgregg is offering a more modest $50 discount on the first-gen Air, and, of course, Target will sell you one at full price with a store gift card -- $100, in this case.
Apple iPad Pro
[Update: Rakuten.com (formerly Buy.com) has $50 off the base 32GB iPad Pro model, though it says it's a $100 instant coupon from a starting price of $849. (Apple's actual starting price is $799.) Otherwise MacMall is offering a token $12 savings off any iPad Pro version.]
Apple's latest and greatest just went on sale, so any deals will be extremely limited in time (think flash deals) or amount (perhaps 10 percent off). As of right now, there aren't any discounts being advertised, but we will update this post if a sale is announced somewhere.