The Apple Black Friday deals are now starting to ramp up, but the manufacturer itself doesn't really do discounts in its own sales. Instead, as we've seen in previous years, it'll be running an Apple Shopping Event that'll give you gift cards, rather than price cuts, on certain products.
That Shopping Event kicks off on November 25 (yes, that’s Black Friday) and runs throughout the weekend until November 28. And with the gift cards ranging from $50 to $250, depending on what you buy, you may be wondering if Apple's offers will beat the retailer ones we're already seeing in the wider Black Friday deals?
The answer to that depends very much on what you're looking to buy. For example, while Apple's Shopping Event won't give you a straight iPhone 13 discount that's available elsewhere, you will be able get a $50 Apple credit to put towards, say, a pair of AirPods to go with it.
Some of the gift card deals in Apple's Black Friday Shopping Event are definitely better than others, so we've drilled down into the available information so far to bring you this guide to the good deals, the less impressive ones, and the products that are missing from Apple's sales. We're also now comparing all of Apple's gift cards to the best retailer offers in our Black Friday Apple deals liveblog.
Which products aren't included in Apple's Black Friday shopping event?
Not all Apple products will be included in the Shopping Event's Gift Card offer and there are some significant absentees on its list – most of which are recent models.
That means the iPhone 14 and its Dynamic Island-sporting Pro siblings aren’t included. Still, the excellent iPhone 13 lineup will be eligible for a gift card up to $50 –and with the iPhone 14 lineup not offering a 'mini' sized phone, it could be a great time to pick up the iPhone 13 mini.
On the iPad side of things, the recently launched iPad 10.9 (2022) and iPad Pro 12.9 (2022), which has an M2 chip, are also missing from the Shopping Event. But there is the opportunity to grab yourself an iPad Air (2022), complete with its M1 chip, along with the 9th-generation iPad and the iPad Mini, all with a gift card of up to $50.
While most Macs appear to be eligible for a gift card, at least from the early list of eligible devices, there are other options that are conspicuous by their absence.
AirTags, for example, aren’t included, although they could be a great choice for the Gift Card that might soon to be burning a hole in your pocket). The AirPods (3rd generation) are absent, despite the latest Pro variants being included.
Still, that’s not to say that deals on the absentees won't be available elsewhere, so make sure to check out our Black Friday Apple deals hub and the deals below for today's offers in your region.
What are the best Apple Black Friday shopping event deals?
So, what is included that’s worth a look? We’d argue that the headline deals here are on Apple's Mac range, with the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini and iMac all eligible for a gift card of up to $250. But it's worth noting that the gift card value can fluctuate depending on the model you go for
Still, there really has never been a better time to buy a Mac, thanks to Apple’s continued to commitment to developing its own chips. The MacBook Air with M2 is a great example of this.
Apple’s most efficient chip yet sips battery life without compromising power, and it coincides with an entirely redesigned chassis and hardware that makes the Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022) incredibly powerful while remaining portable.
At $1199/£1199, it isn't cheap, but with a gift card of up to $250/£250, you could grab a wealth of apps, some AirPods, and maybe some accessories like a nice case, too.
These laptops offer the kind of power usually reserved for huge desktops, and also include the Liquid Retina XDR display which is one of the best laptop displays we’ve ever seen. Still, it is certainly worth checking the Black Friday laptop deals to see if some gift card-beating discounts are on offer elsewhere.
As we mentioned earlier, there's no 'mini' option in this year's iPhone 14 lineup, making it tougher to find a smaller display. Thankfully, unlike other product lines, Apple hasn’t culled the iPhone 13 range yet and you can still get the iPhone 13 mini for $599/£599.
That remains a solid deal since there’s very little the iPhone 14 can do that the iPhone 13 can’t, although since it’s older stock you may find a better deal from a carrier. A $50 gift card that could be an ideal way to pay for services like Apple Music for a few months, but make sure to check out Black Friday iPhone deals in case some retailers are offering even better value.
What should you avoid in the Apple Black Friday shopping event deals?
The MacBook Pro 13-inch may be packing the new M2 chip, but the design is so dated it’s hard to get excited about it – even if you do get the maximum $250/£250 gift voucher back.
More expensive than the MacBook Air M2, it has a better battery but suffers in almost every other way – and yes, that’s still a 720p webcam.
Apple’s iPad selection for this year’s Shopping Event is also a little strange. The iPad Pro isn’t included at all (even last year’s M1 chip version doesn’t make the cut), while the new entry level iPad isn’t discounted despite being much more steeply priced than the ninth generation version (even more so in the UK, where it’s £499 vs $449). We’ve already seen some great discounts such as an $80 saving on the iPad Air in the Black Friday iPad deals, so we’d expect better options elsewhere.
We’re also a little surprised at the accessory selection in Apple’s Shopping Event. For example, the iPad’s 10th and 9th generation models use an Apple Pencil (1st generation) which isn’t included in its sales. Meanwhile, the iPad Pro isn’t included in Apple's deals, but its extremely expensive Magic Keyboard is – although that accessory will work on the iPad Air, too.
Since the Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra aren’t included, and the company has bumped the Series 7 from its store entirely, the only option for Apple Watch fans in Apple's Black Friday Shopping Event is the Apple Watch SE.
It’s a solid fitness tracker that we called "the best Apple Watch for the money" in our full review, but we’re expecting much better offers from retailers in the Black Friday Apple Watch deals, since it's at the low end of Apple’s pricing spectrum.
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Lloyd Coombes is a freelance tech and fitness writer for TechRadar. He's an expert in all things Apple as well as Computer and Gaming tech, with previous works published on TopTenReviews, Space.com, and Live Science. You'll find him regularly testing the latest MacBook or iPhone, but he spends most of his time writing about video games at Dexerto.
- Mark WilsonSenior news editor