Thinking about picking up an iPhone 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max this Black Friday? Just a quick PSA - it's a great idea to think about picking one up before the big day rolls around.
If this advice sounds familiar, it's because I wrote a similar piece last year about why I wasn't waiting until Black Friday to buy an iPhone 13. I think that advice still stands - particularly if you're on the hunt for an iPhone 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max, which are shaping up to be the most popular models in the range this year.
While I'll dive deeper into the argument behind this advice below, the general reasoning behind buying early revolves around potential delivery delays and the quality of Black Friday iPhone deals in general. Depending on the carrier or retailer you're buying from and your eligibility for the deal, there might not be much to hold out for. There are a couple of caveats to this – which I'll cover shortly – but right now, I'm strongly weighing up simply buying early.
Dreaded delivery delays
As of writing, the current delivery window for the iPhone 14 Pro at Verizon has been pushed all the way back to November 18th. That date's unlikely to budge as we draw closer to the biggest retail event of the year. The Apple Store has the device down for a delivery estimate of November 16th at the latest, which is hovering dangerously close to the November 25th official date for Black Friday.
Obviously, these are just two examples, but these retailers happen to be the most popular vendors for iPhone deals in general, and it's likely we'll see those delivery windows pushed back further if demand skyrockets come Black Friday. There's a huge question mark over how quickly you'll be able to get your hands on a device should you opt for one of this year's Black Friday iPhone deals.
Lessons from last year
If there's a silver lining for this year's Black Friday, it's that the outlook for speedy delivery looks better than last year. 2021 was plagued by industry-wide chip shortages, which are less of a factor now. While it could also be that demand is a little lower on this generation of iPhones, the current delivery estimates of the 14 series reflect a much healthier supply chain.
For example, this time last year the iPhone 13 Pro Max (last year's most popular model) was already facing an estimated delivery date of December 3rd at Verizon and November 26th at the Apple Store. This year, that's simply not the case, with the iPhone 14 Pro (which appears to be 2022's most popular device) facing a comparatively mild delivery estimate of November 16th at Verizon and November 18th at Apple. This isn't a scientific study by any means, but Pro devices are definitely more readily available going into Black Friday this time around.
Still, that doesn't change the general advice here – consider an early trade-in if you're looking for a flagship device with a quick delivery time. In some extreme cases last year (Verizon), we saw those delivery estimates drag into early January 2022. While carriers and Apple itself do tend to fulfill backorders sooner than the given estimates, you're potentially still looking at a delay for a device.
The deals are already great – why wait?
Perhaps the biggest argument for buying early is that the upcoming Black Friday iPhone deals on the 14 and 14 Pro may not actually be worth waiting for. In fact, they may be barely an improvement on the usual day-to-day fare at the big carriers.
Let's take Verizon as an example. Right now, you can get a respectable trade-in rebate of up to $1,000 on the 14 Pro models, depending on whether you're an existing or new customer. These are essentially the same offerings from the device's initial launch and pretty much as good as you're going to get if you're planning a trade-in rebate as your main source of a discount.
Apple iPhone 14 Pro & 14 Pro Max: up to $1,000 off w/ trade-in and unlimited plan at Verizon
Verizon's iPhone deals on the 14 and 14 Pro max offer a huge trade-in rebate of up to $1,000 on either device, This is technically enough to cover the entire cost of the standard 14 Pro model, although you will need a new line on an unlimited data plan to be eligible. New customers will also get an additional $200 online gift card if they switch over from another carrier. See this same deal on the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Over at Apple, Black Friday deals tend to be even stingier. You would think the official Apple Store would bring out the big guns for Black Friday, but no - it always forgoes direct discounts for gift cards of $50 to $200 in value. For context, Walmart offered a $300 gift card with both AT&T and Verizon devices last year and the prepaid carrier Visible Wireless offered a $200 gift card and a free pair of Beats Studio Buds with select devices. Apple's own Black Friday deals are miserly in comparison, although they remain the only option for trade-in discounts on unlocked devices.
Where Black Friday iPhone deals may exceed the usual offerings is with some extra choices or new customer bonuses. Again, using Verizon as an example, last year it bumped its customary welcome gift card up to $800 (it's $200 right now) and offered a 'buy-one-get-one-free' deal on some devices as an alternative to the usual trade-in rebate. This kind of deal can be great if you're a multi-line user in particular, although you'll still need a pricey unlimited line for each device, so bear that in mind.
Weighing up your options
If you're someone willing to play the long game, then it's never a bad idea to hold onto what you already have. The question here is how long can you wait? With iPhone Black Friday deals often being of lukewarm quality, and potential lengthy delivery windows looming, there's definitely a case for jumping the queue. Right now, all eyes are on the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max, the most popular models in the range and it could go either way, in my opinion.
If you're thinking about going for one of the standard devices, you don't need to worry about supplies, as both the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus are well stocked at carriers currently. If you're thinking about switching to another network, then it could also be worth seeing what crops up over Black Friday. Otherwise, it's not a bad idea to assess your options for a trade-in rebate this week and score yourself a device before the big surge in demand in November.
Get daily insight, inspiration and deals in your inbox
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
Alex is deals editor at TechRadar. With over three years of experience on-site and eight years working in e-commerce, Alex has made it his personal mission to share all his favorite tips, bargains, and deals with our readers here at TechRadar. At work, he specializes in computing, phones, and covering huge sales events like Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day. Outside of work, you'll find him indulging his keen love of photography and PC gaming, or down at the local climbing gym hanging off boulders far too difficult for his abilities. His editorial bylines also include contributions to T3 and GamesRadar.