There's a lot of gamemanship when it comes to Black Friday tech deals, but it's harder to fudge a sale on an Apple product, thanks to the company's rigidity when it comes to pricing. As a result, a Black Friday deal on an iPad or a MacBook is noteworthy not for huge savings, but for the fact that there's a deal at all. (Apple itself, for instance, even stopped offering its meager discounts last Black Friday,.)
With the leak of the ad for Walmart-owned Sam's Club, we see the first Apple sale of the 2014 Black Friday season. The warehouse chain is lopping $100 off the $399 price for the 16GB iPad Air, a significant deal with a couple of huge caveats. The first one is that this is , not that was just released. That should come as no surprise to careful Apple watchers, who know the company will almost never lower prices on a new product (unless it's a disappointment like the iPhone 5c), but buyers should be aware beforehand to avoid remorse later. Then again, the difference between the two iterations to be worth what would be a $200 difference in price.
If the deal being on last year's model isn't enough to deter you, you'll want to wake up early for the store opening (7 a.m. on Black Friday) as each location will only have between four and eight units. Sam's Club promises it will also be available online, though it's unclear how limited quantities will be. You can get a jump on other potential buyers next weekend, however, as Sam's Club will be offering the same deal -- in the same limited numbers -- on November 15.
The Sam's Club ad also lists a pair of deals on Samsung tablets, which are already selling for less on the Samsung website than the "regular" price listed by Sam's Club, but will be cheaper still come Black Friday. The 8GB version of the 7-inchwill be on sale for $149, while the 10.1-inch version will run $249. In comparison, they are currently selling for $179.99 and $319.99, respectively, on Samsung's website. Again, quantities will be in the single digits for these tablets at each store.
Finally, there are a handful of PC deals, though nothing close to. Sam's Club is taking $100 off the price of the HP Pavilion 23-h120c all-in-one desktop, which features an Intel Core i3-4130T processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, DVD burner, and 23-inch touchscreen with 1,920x1,080 full HD resolution for $599. It's also slashing $250 off an HP Pavilion 15-p020us laptop; for $499, you get a Core i5-4210U CPU, 6 gigs of RAM, 750GB hard drive, DVD burner, and 15.6-inch touchscreen. For $100 less, you can instead grab a Dell Inspiron 5000 15.6-inch notebook powered by an AMD A10-7300 chip, 8GB of RAM, and a terabyte hard drive.
As more Black Friday ads continue to leak, we'll see if Sam's Club is a bellweather for iPad deals this holiday season -- i.e., discounting the first-generation iPad Air to drive traffic. Is the original iPad Air worth buying for $299? Let us know in the Talkback section below.