How to get a good iPad deal on Black Friday

Apple products are best known for two things: appealingly minimalist design and somewhat maximal price tags – nowhere is that more evident than the eye-watering $999 / £999 / AU$1,579 price of the iPhone X

Though we have no expectations that the iPhone X will be discounted this Black Friday ,(that's our UK page, but you can grab some bargains from our Australian and US Black Friday 2017 deals pages as well) we do expect to see some interesting deals for anyone that's on the market for an iPad.

We're still in the early stages of Black Friday offerings and thus far we haven't really seen the wealth of iPad deals you might be hoping for. However, considering the popularity of the brand and the trends we've seen in previous years, we remain hopeful that Black Friday will produce some offers worth your time.

Since there are only a handful of iPad models to choose from, it's an easier product to shop for than many others. That said, there are still a few things to look out for to make sure you're getting the best deal possible. 

We’ll bring you all the best iPad deals on Black Friday itself, but to ensure you’re fully prepared for a day of shopping madness here’s how to make sure you spot the good deals and leave the bad ones well alone.

The features to look out for

If you’ve decided on an iPad then you’ve already avoided the decidedly mixed bag of tablet offerings from other manufacturers. There are no bad iPads as such, so you can’t go too wrong, but there are some things to bear in mind.

Everything has an expiry date

Firstly, you want to establish how old the model is. 

Apple itself only sells the iPad Pro 10.5, iPad Pro 12.9 (2017), new iPad and iPad Mini 4 at the moment but you might find that some retailers will try to flog you an older model. As we said before, there aren't any bad iPads so this isn't necessarily a problem in the moment. But you need to be aware that these older models might not be supported in terms of software updates for quite as long.

Grab an iPad Mini 2 or iPad Air for example, and while you can get the latest version of iOS (iOS 11) you probably won’t be able to update it to next year’s version.

Go for something spacious

Storage is another important thing to consider. Apps and games are getting bigger and as a result we need more storage. Apple doesn't do microSD card slots in its products so you definitely want to get the biggest internal storage you can. 

Unless you're really not expecting to use it for much at all, we wouldn't recommend picking up anything under 32GB and even that could end up being
a tight squeeze. 

The where, what, how and why

Outside of model age and internal storage, you'll find most of the other factors you have to consider when purchasing an iPad are pretty subjective. 

You should certainly think about what you're planning to use the tablet for. Looking to do some work? The larger screen and extra power of the iPad Pro could be the one for you, especially with the Apple Pencil and a Smart Keyboard. 

Just want something to stream your favorite shows? Then you won't really need the top-of-the-line model so the new iPad might be a better option. 

If you're a frequent traveler and you need something more compact to carry around with you then the small iPad Mini 4 is a good option. 

Stick with Wi-Fi

Also think about whether what you're primarily going to be using your iPad for requires cellular connectivity. This is a feature that can really bump up the price point of an iPad, both in the moment of purchase and in the future thanks to the need for a monthly data allowance.  

Bear in mind that Wi-Fi only iPads will still allow you to get online via hostpots and smartphone tethering. If you've got a decent data allowance for your handset this is probably the most cost effective means of getting online with your iPad.

Safe compromises

Other areas where you should be safe to compromise if it saves you some money include the screen tech, as even iPads from several years ago still have decent displays (just make sure the one you’re looking at has a pixel density of 264ppi or more), and performance, as that too should be solid as long as you get one with at least an Apple A8 chipset and 2GB of RAM.

Our deal predictions

If you’re after a deal on the iPad Pro 10.5 or iPad Pro 12.9 (2017) you might be out of luck. Being Apple’s latest slates we’d imagine they’re selling fine without the aid of discounts – but you never know, and if they are reduced we’ll be sure to tell you about it.

Products that are more likely to be reduced - and that are worth looking out - for include the following:

iPad Mini 4

The iPad Mini 4 has been around for a couple of years now, yet it’s still Apple’s newest 7.9-inch iPad and still available on the Apple Store.

The fact that Apple’s still selling it means it’s likely to be supported with software updates for a while yet, but because it’s no longer new it’s one of the more affordable iPads and likely to be in line for additional discounts.

Its A8 chipset and 2GB of RAM should still allow for solid performance (though it’s at the lower end of what we’d recommend) and its screen is competitively sharp.

It’s small though, which could be a good or bad thing depending on where and how you plan to use your tablet. As we mentioned above, if you’ll mostly be using it at home then a bigger screen could be preferable, but the iPad Mini 4 is exceedingly portable.

Watch out for the storage capacity though – Apple itself only now sells a 128GB model, but there used to be a 16GB version and that’s probably still floating around in some stores. Unless you plan to almost exclusively stream your content or rely on cloud storage we wouldn’t go below 32GB.

iPad Air 2

Released back in 2014, the iPad Air 2 is getting on a bit now, but its A8X chipset and 2GB of RAM were cutting edge at the time, and it can still outperform the newer iPad Mini 4.

Its 9.7-inch screen is also as sharp as newer models, though lacking in other ways – there’s no True Tone (which allows it to automatically adjust the white balance) for example.

Apple’s stopped selling this, but other stores will likely be looking to clear any remaining stock, so you might be able to snap up a good deal on what’s still a great slate.

Bear in mind that although it’s updateable to iOS 11 and will quite possibly get iOS 12 as well, we suspect that will be the end of the line for iPad Air 2. So if you want more than another year’s worth of software updates it might not be for you, but most apps and games work on older versions of iOS anyway, so it should still be perfectly functional for at least a few years.

As with the iPad Mini 4, just check the storage capacity, and think twice before opting for a 16GB version, no matter how cheap it is.

iPad Pro 9.7 and iPad Pro 12.9 (2016)

Discontinued and superseded by the iPad Pro 10.5 and iPad Pro 12.9 (2017), the iPad Pro 9.7 and iPad Pro 12.9 (2016) are less than two years old, but because they’re no longer the newest models and no longer sold by Apple other shops will likely be looking to clear stock, which is when you often get the best discounts.

These ‘Pro’ iPads have lots of power even now, good screens and support for the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, making them a great choice if you’re a digital artist or are looking for a laptop replacement.

That said, if you’re a more casual user you’d probably be just as happy with a non-Pro model and might be able to save some money by choosing one.

New iPad

The new iPad is Apple’s standard, non-Pro 2017 model, it’s a great slate, garnering a five-star review from us.

It’s also the latest ‘budget’ iPad, meaning it will likely be supported for a long time and is already fairly affordable.

We’re less sure this will be discounted than some of the older models, but if it is it could be the bargain to beat.

The specs can’t match even the previous generation of iPad Pros, but it still has a great screen, and if you want a tablet mostly for video, web browsing or undemanding apps then it’s really all you need.