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Apple has unveiled its Black Friday deals for this year a few days ahead of the actual shopping event, and it looks like it’s basically in line with what the company has done for the past few years.
As always, Apple doesn’t actually discount any of its hardware for Black Friday. In fact, Apple rarely discounts its products at all. Instead, the annual Black Friday promotions offer Apple Gift Cards with purchases of certain big-ticket items.
This can work out well for those who may be planning to accessorize a new Mac or iPad, but it’s fair to say you can probably still find much better Black Friday deals elsewhere.
The other big catch is that, as usual, none of Apple’s newest products are included. Unfortunately, this means you won’t be able to get a deal from Apple on an iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, the newest 14-inch and 16-inch M1 Pro/Max MacBooks, 24-inch M1-powered iMac, nor the iPad mini 6 or Apple Watch Series 7.
The most recent Apple product that qualifies is the new third-generation AirPods, for which you’ll get a $75 gift card. Other 2021 entries include the Apple TV 4K, both 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, and surprisingly even Apple’s AirTags.
Here’s the full breakdown:
$200 Gift Card
- 27-inch iMac (mid-2020 Intel model)
$100 Gift Card
- MacBook Air (late 2020 M1)
- 13-inch MacBook Pro (late 2020 M1)
- 11-inch iPad Pro (early 2021 M1)
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro (early 2021 M1)
$75 Gift Card
- AirPods 2
- AirPods 3
- AirPods Pro
- AirPods Max
$50 Gift Card
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 mini
- iPhone SE
- Apple TV 4K
- Apple TV HD
- Apple Watch SE
- Apple Watch Series 3
- Apple Pencil (2nd generation)
- AirTag four-pack
- Smart Keyboard Folio
- Magic Keyboard for iPad
- MagSafe Duo
Apple’s Gift Cards
As we noted last year, Apple’s Black Friday promotions have become slightly more appealing since the company’s move toward a new unified gift card.
In the past, Apple sold two different types of gift cards, separating them between the physical and the virtual. Apple Store Gift Cards were used for purchasing actual hardware from Apple Stores, while “iTunes” gift cards were used for all digital purchases, from iTunes and the App Store to Apple Music and Apple One subscriptions.
These “iTunes” gift cards were also sold as “App Store” gift cards, “Apple Music” gifts cards, and even “Apple Books” gift cards, but those were merely marketing distinctions — they all translated to digital store credit that could be used for almost anything that you would buy with your Apple ID, whether that was movies and TV shows or in-app currency in your favourite games.
Although Apple has offered gift card-based Black Friday promotions for years until recently, those were for Apple Store Gift cards, which were only useful if you wanted to buy more hardware. However, with the new unified Apple Gift cards, the $50–$200 cards that you’ll get from this year’s Black Friday deals can be put toward digital goods instead.
In fact, since this just becomes a credit on your Apple ID account, you can spend it however and whenever you want. Anything you buy with your Apple ID will simply chip away at your gift card balance automatically until it reaches zero, after which the difference goes back to your credit card or whatever other payment method you have on file.
Still, if you’re simply looking to get the best deal you can, then you’ll want to look elsewhere. Apple’s Black Friday deals are never the best ones out there, and this year is no exception.
Of course, like most Black Friday deals, you’ll have to shop around — and you’ll have to stay on your toes. For instance, Amazon had the AirPods Max on sale for $440 earlier today — $100 off the normal price — but they sold out in minutes, and it’s unclear when or if more stock will appear at that same price.
At least with Apple’s Black Friday deals, you shouldn’t have a problem getting your hands on any of the products on offer, particularly since almost none of the company’s most popular items are included. You’ll also be able to take advantage of Apple’s extended holiday return policy, which gives you until January 8, 2022, to return any products purchased from November 1 and December 25.
Just keep in mind that if you do opt to return a product from one of Apple’s Black Friday deals, the gift card’s value will be deducted from your refund since Apple obviously isn’t giving away free gift cards here.