Apple announced its Black Friday deals, and the company stepped back from its past practice of offering cash discounts. Instead, Apple is offering Apple Store gift cards with the purchase of iPads, Macs, iPods, and an assortment of high quality accessories.
The short version:
- iPad Air - $75 gift card
- iPad mini - $50 gift card
- iPad 2 - $50 gift card
- MacBook Air and MacBook Pro - $150 gift cards with all models
- iPod touch - $50 gift card
- iPod nano - $25 gift card
- Accessories - $25 and $50 gift cards, details below
Apple is offering $75 gift cards with the purchase of an iPad Air of any configuration, and for both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular models. While a gift card has obvious strings attached to it, Apple is offering a larger discount in percentage terms with this year's deal—$75 off a 16GB iPad Air represents a 15 percent discount, much better than the 5 percent (plus or minus) straight discount Apple has offered in the past.
The company is also offering $50 gift cards with the purchase of iPad mini, a 16.8 percent discount on the Wi-Fi model. The iPad 2 is also eligible for a $50 gift card for the same 16.8 percent discount.
Apple is not offering a gift card with the purchase of an iPad mini with Retina display. That device is said to be in short supply as it is, giving Apple no incentive to discount it.
MacBook Air and MacBook Pro
The MacBook line is getting some love, too, with $150 gift cards with the purchase of all MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models. For the $999 entry level 11-inch MacBook Air model, that's a 15 percent discount, the largest percentage discount I can recall seeing on a new Mac from Apple...ever.
The entry level 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display starts at $1,299, making it an 11.5 percent discount. The entry level MacBook Pro starts at $1,199, resulting in a 12.5 percent discount.
Apple's iPod line has seen declining sales for years as people shift to iPhones and iPads, but they are eligible for gift cards this year. The $299 iPod touch comes with a $50 gift card (16.8 percent discount), while the $149 iPod nano comes with a $25 gift card, for the same 16.8 percent discount.
Apple is even offering gift cards with the purchase of a variety of accessories, a first as I recall. In the $25 gift card category is Apple TV ($99 or 25.2 percent), Ultimate Ears BOOM wireless speaker ($199.95, or 12.5 percent), Anki DRIVE Starter Kit ($199.95, or 12.5 percent), Blue microphone Nessie microphone ($99.95, or 25 percent), Apogee JAM Guitar Input ($129.95, or 19.2 percent), 3BaysGSA PRO Golf Swing Analyzer ($199.95, or 12.5 percent), and Philips/Disney Friends of Hue StoryLight Starter Kit ($159.95, or 15.6 percent).
All of those products are very cool, and the Apple TV discount is significant.
There are also gift cards for two Thunderbolt hard drives, AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsules, Nike+ Fuel Band SE, Beats by Dr. Dre, GoPro HERO3+ Video Camera - Black Edition, a printer, Nest Theromostat. All in all, there about 30 accessories that come with a gift card.