Updated on November 24: As expected, Apple's Black Friday plans don't include any discounts on the actual products. Instead, it's providing store gift cards with the purchase of many items at the regular price -- and on Friday only. For iPads, you will receive a $50 gift card for buying an iPad mini 4 or 9.7-inch iPad, while you will get a $100 gift card if you purchase a iPad Pro (either 10.5-inch or 12.9-inch version). For any MacBook, iMac, or Mac Pro purchase, you will be rewarded with a $150 Apple gift card.
People don't buy Apple products because they want the lowest price on a tech device, but that doesn't mean they won't take advantage of a discount if they can find one. Black Friday is one of the
best times to score that discount, though usually not from Apple itself, which seems to get stingier each year with its "deals."
There's always a chance when Apple finally unveils its plans on Black Friday morning that it will reverse course from past years of offering store gift cards in lieu of actual price reductions, but we're confident enough that it won't to write this post before we even know what Apple is planning. (Of course, we reserve the right to update our post if Apple does actually deviate from its recent history and thinks different this Black Friday.)
Instead, you have to rely on a handful of stores if you're looking for a sale on an iPad or a MacBook or an iMac. Some of them are known to most consumers -- Best Buy, Target, Walmart -- while others are more niche retailers that are known to fewer purchasers -- B&H Photo, Fry's, MacMall. But all of them have contributed to the following deals that you'll be able to obtain over the next few days.
Once the belle of the Black Friday ball, Apple's tablet family remains a popular gift item, just not to the same degree as a couple of years ago. Apple has held firm on its iPad prices over the years, so you still can't find a sale for one this Black Friday for under $200. The best you can get is $244 for the latest base 9.7-inch iPad from Fry's, a few dollars cheaper than what Best Buy, Target and Walmart are selling it for. If you want cellular capabilities in addition to Wi-Fi, Sam's Club has a 32GB iPad version with both networking options for $327.
At one time the cheapest iPad, the latest iPad mini has yielded that to its "regular" size sibling, but you can grab a base iPad mini 4 for under $300 from Best Buy ($274.99) and Fry's ($269). You have more options for deals with the iPad Pro, including the 64GB 10.5-inch version for $529.99 at Target and the 256GB edition for $649.99 from BJ's Warehouse. Best Buy is offering up to $150 off various iPad Pro configurations, as is B&H Photo.
This is pretty much the time to score the lowest price on Apple's laptops, with the base MacBook Air going for as little as $788 from Fry's or $799.99 from Best Buy (or $999.99 for the pricier Air with twice the solid-state storage). If you don't want to jump through doorbuster hoops, you can pay a little more at B&H Photo ($869.99), which also has savings on the more powerful Core i7-equipped Air (as does MacMall). Adorama joins B&H in providing the biggest savings on the 12-inch MacBook, slashing $150 off the price of select configurations.
MacBook Pro sales are similar across several retailers, with 13-inch systems $150 off at Adorama, B&H Photo, and Amazon, and Best Buy offering similar discounts or even $200 off. Best Buy is also slicing $250 from 15-inch MacBook Pros, compared to $200 discounts from Amazon, Adorama, and B&H. Depending on the configuration, MacMall is offering anywhere from $100 to $220 off the larger MacBooks.
iMac and Mac mini Desktops
Like the base MacBook Air, the 21.5-inch version of Apple's all-in-one iMac is often a doorbuster special, like at Fry's and Best Buy this year, where the base model is $888 and $899.99, respectively. Best Buy also slices $200 from the priciest 21.5-inch configuration, while Adorama, Amazon, and B&H chop prices on the 27-inch iMac, discounting versions anywhere from $150 to $250 from the current pricing.
Finally, the forgotten Apple desktop, the Mac mini (unchanged for three years), receives a couple of discounts, including the base edition (normally $499) for just $358 at Fry's or $399 at MacMall and B&H. MacMall also takes $100 off a few other Mac mini configurations, whereas Adorama and B&H take anywhere from $20 to $150 off the price of other Mac mini versions.