If there's only one rule you follow this Black Friday, it should be never to buy your Apple gear from the Apple Store. Not only is Apple's sale predictable (expect to pay full price and get free gift cards again this year), but it's also disappointing, particularly when other retailers are discounting Apple gear at record speeds. To prove our point, we've rounded up the best Black Friday Apple ads we've seen to date. In the unlikely scenario that the Apple Store surprises us with an amazing sale, we'll be first to mention it. In the meantime, these are the deals Apple fans should prioritize.
Best Black Friday Apple Deals
Apple iTunes $100 (4 x $25) Multipack Gift Cards for $79 at Sam's Club
Whether you're purchasing for yourself or as a stocking stuffer, Sam's Club has the best iTunes gift card deal, taking roughly 21% off this multipack iTunes gift card set. Just need one card? OfficeDepot takes 20% off a $50 card. Though keep in mind that our data shows December may ring in more aggressive iTunes gift card deals.
Apple TV Media Receiver for $79 at Staples
This Apple TV Media Receiver is only a buck over our Black Friday prediction for this set-top box. However, last Black Friday, Apple's streamer dropped down to $72, so there's a chance this may get cheaper. However, if you need it today, Staples's Apple TV deal is already live.
Apple iPhone 5s 16GB Smartphone with $30 gift card for $79 at Target
Target's Apple deals are very aggressive this year, and although the retailer doesn't have the best iPhone 6 deal, it takes the top spot for best iPhone 5s deal. It's worth noting that Costco has offered the iPhone 5s for as low as $58 in the past, but if you factor in Target's free $30 gift card, this deal is a price low by $9. It also beats Apple's direct pricing, which sells this phone for $99.
Apple iPhone 6 16GB Smartphone for $99 at Sam's Club
The good news is that this is the best iPhone 6 deal we've come across since the phone's launch. It surprisingly beats Walmart and Best Buy, which traditionally have the best iPhone deals. Unfortunately, the bad news is that there will be just 15 units per store. So if you're not a Sam's Club member (or if you're not one of the lucky 15), your next best bet is Target, which will offer the iPhone 6 bundled with a $30 Target gift card for $180.
Apple iPad mini 2 16GB With $100 Gift Card for $299 at Target
Although Target is selling the iPad mini 2 at full retail value, it's bundling a $100 Target gift card, which helps offset the cost of the tablet. Unless Apple changes its Black Friday sale for the better (highly unlikely), this Target deal will be hard to beat.
Apple iPad Air 16GB With $100 Gift Card for $399 at Target
This tablet's $399 price point is nothing special (it's what Apple charges), but what makes this deal noteworthy is the inclusion of a $100 gift card, which is like getting $100 off the cost of this tablet.
Apple iPad Air 2 16GB With $140 Gift Card for $499 at Target
Sensing a pattern here? Target is taking Black Friday seriously this year, and as with its other iPad deals, the current-generation iPad Air 2 is also selling at list price, but with a generous $140 Target gift card. This deal will most likely trump Apple's Black Friday sale, which last year bundled a $75 Apple gift card with iPad Air purchases.
Apple MacBook Air Intel Haswell Core i5 1.4GHz 11.6" Laptop for $780 at Best Buy
Not only is this the best MacBook Air deal of Black Friday, but it's also the best MacBook Air deal of all time. It's beats our MacBook Air Black Friday price prediction by $19 and unlike most MacBook Air back-to-school sales we saw this summer, this deal doesn't require a valid .edu e-mail address.
Apple MacBook Air Intel Haswell Core i5 1.4GHz 13.3" Laptop for $1,050 at Best Buy
Best Buy has a stronghold on MacBook Air deals, and although we saw the flagship 13" MacBook Air bottom out at $750 this past summer, this specific configuration (with a 256GB SSD rather than the standard 128GB SSD) doesn't see as many discounts. So for the moment, this deal is $149 under Apple's price and the best offer we've seen on the 13.3" MacBook Air.
Apple iMac 21.5" Core i5 All-in-One Desktop at Best Buy for $900
Outside of refurbs, it's extremely difficult to find a sub-$1,000 iMac. In fact, the 21.5" iMac hit $980 just once this entire year. So at $900, this iMac is a stellar deal.
Best Buy and Target account for the majority of noteworthy Apple deals this Black Friday. Its very unlikely that the Apple Store will even come close to matching them. Last year there were some reports that the Apple Store was price matching its competitors, but there's no guarantee they'll do that again this year and even if they do, your mileage may vary. Finally, iPhone 6 shoppers need not lose hope, because Fry's has yet to reveal its Black Friday deals, and this retailer is known for its stellar iPhone discounts.
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