Here's why Black Friday iPad deals won't be worth waiting for

iPad mini 2021
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Lots of people wait until Black Friday to buy Apple's iPads, hoping that the Thanksgiving-period sales will bring price reductions on entry-level, mini, Air and Pro tablets.

We wouldn't recommend waiting for the Black Friday iPad deals this year though, for a multitude of reasons -  yep, we're advising buying a new iPad now, instead of waiting until the end of November for one.

This is true whether you want a new entry-level iPad or iPad mini (2021), both of which are only a few months old, or an iPad Pro (2021) from earlier in the year, or an iPad Air 4 (2020) which is over a year old now, or even a slate that's older than those.

So why would we recommend this? Well, there are three key reasons:

1. Black Friday Apple deals are never good

We hate to break it to you, but while lots of brands offer 40%, 50% or sometimes even more off their products, the Apple Black Friday deals are almost always poor.

You'll probably see something like $50 or equivalent off an iPad Pro 12.9 (2020) - that sounds like a fair amount, but it's just 5% of the usually-$1,000-tablet's asking price, and not even for the newest-gen model.

iPhone 13 Pro

(Image credit: TechRadar)

In fact, Apple discounts rarely go above 10% or 15%, unless it's on a several-years-old model - while that can sometimes be about $100 or $150 off, Apple products are always so expensive that the savings don't change their value-for-money proposition much.

No, if you're waiting for the Black Friday tablet deals to pick up a new iPad, you might as well actually look at a slate from Lenovo or Samsung, as they could end up much better value for money in the sales.

This is all from several years' experience in Black Friday deals, but there's one reason this year things could be even worse...

2. Stock shortages

Not only are Black Friday iPad deals iffy at the best of times, but there might also be barely any at all in 2021, because of global stock shortages.

In fact, supply chain rumors suggest Apple is cutting iPad production to focus on building new iPhone 13 models - it's not clear which iPad lines will be affected, but it'll likely be a few.

What does this mean for you? Well, while it could lead to an increase in iPhone 13 deals, it's also very likely the inverse is true for iPads; discounts on models could be few and far between.

iPad mini 2021

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Not only that, but any reduced iPads could go out of stock very quickly, so you'll have to be fast to grab them before they disappear. Unless you're actually looking forward to a stressful Black Friday, spent constantly refreshing pages and jumping between websites, this isn't a good thing.

To ensure you can get an iPad at all, you should probably act before the deals begin.

3. Get an extra month of use

The key reason to buy new tech before Black Friday - whether or not it will get a big discount, or be easy to buy - is that it saves you from waiting.

If you buy a new iPad now, you're getting a whole extra month of use, rather than waiting. That's extra access to a big Netflix machine, or a school or college companion, or an artists' easel, or whatever you're buying the iPad for.

In addition, after a month of use with the tablet, you'll know it better for Black Friday  - so you'll know whether it's worth checking out the accessory deals for a stylus, case, earbuds or something else entirely.

So it's definitely worth picking up a new iPad now, rather than waiting for the inevitable disappointment that Black Friday often is.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.