Why now is the worst time to buy a new iPad or Apple Watch

iPad Air 3 (L) and Apple Watch 5 (R)
iPad Air 3 (L) and Apple Watch 5 (R) (Image credit: Apple / TechRadar)

Apple devices like iPads and Apple Watches are big financial investments, but they can often be worth it.

iPads are useful productivity and creativity tools that can help you with your job or hobbies, and they're also great for gaming if you want a big screen.

Apple Watches are wrist-mounted companions that can help you cut the smartphone from your life with handy tools and notification handling, and they're also great for fitness tracking.

Usually, we'd recommend buying an iPad or Apple Watch, but there are three big reasons why right now would be the worst time to buy one of these tablets or smartwatches. Here they are.

The September Apple event

The iPad Air 3 could get a follow-up soon.

The iPad Air 3 could get a follow-up soon. (Image credit: Future)

On September 15, Apple is hosting its first event in a long time. We're expecting the company to launch the Apple Watch 6 and iPad Air 4 - there's talk of perhaps the iPhone 12 being shown off too, but it's more likely that Apple's smartphones will be held back until an October event.

The new Apple tablet and smartwatch might appeal to you more than current models do, so it's worth waiting until their debut before buying such a piece of tech, just in case you want the new ones more.

Even if you've got your heart set on an older model you may want to wait until September 15 to buy them. Apple frequently reduces the price of its older products when it shows off new versions, so the Apple event could bring with it price cuts for older Apple Watches and iPads, or at least older iPad Air models, as it's that line that we're expecting an update to.

So maybe wait a little while for the Apple event to see if either of those eventualities turns out to be the case.

Black Friday

The Apple Watch 3 saw loads of deals over Black Friday 2019

The Apple Watch 3 saw loads of deals over Black Friday 2019 (Image credit: Future)

If you're in no rush to buy a new Apple Watch or iPad, it wouldn't hurt to wait a couple of months until late November - that's when the Black Friday deals period is, and we could see the price of some iPads and Apple Watches drop significantly during the season.

Usually the two-year-old Apple Watch sees the best discounts of any of Apple's smartwatches - this year that'll be the Apple Watch 4, though we could see the Apple Watch 5 get some meaty discounts too. You can find our predictions in our Black Friday Apple Watch deals guide.

Deals for iPads can be a bit more scattered, but between Black Friday and Cyber Monday afterwards, we'd expect the price of lots of types of iPads, and iPad accessories, to get reduced. 

Even if the iPad or Apple Watch you're looking into buying doesn't end up getting a deal, the price over Black Friday won't be higher than it is now, so there's no harm in waiting if you don't need your new gadget straight away.

New IFA devices

The Honor Watch GS Pro

The Honor Watch GS Pro (Image credit: Future)

The final reason that you might want to hold off on buying an iPad or Apple Watch is that IFA 2020 occurred recently, and the annual tech event brought with it a huge collection of competitor gadgets you might want to consider instead.

Cheap Android tablets were the real winner of IFA 2020, with loads launched that you might prefer over an entry-level iPad. There were a couple of really interesting wearables shown off too, including the Honor Watch ES and Honor Watch GS Pro that have plenty of features Apple Watches don't.

We'd recommend checking our IFA 2020 coverage to see if any of the new products appeal to you more than an iPad or Apple Watch. If you've got your heart set on owning an Apple product, these gadgets won't appeal to you, but if you're more open-minded you might find something you like.

In case, after all these points, you're still determined to buy a new iPad or Apple Watch now, we've put the prices of all the newest models below, so you can see which you prefer.

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.