Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Yep, It’s Looking Like an iPad Christmas

Apple isn’t known for discount sales, so when it has one, it’s news.

Today, in a promotional email, Apple unveiled its Black Friday deals, available on its online store and at its retail stores around most of the world. If you buy an iPad, Mac or iPod, you get an Apple gift card worth between $50 and $150. And if you buy online but live near an Apple store, you have the option of picking up your purchase at the store today. Otherwise, you can skip the crowds and take advantage of free shipping.

While they’re not technically discounts, you can apply the value of the gift card to your purchase, and thus turn it into one. I started the process of buying an iPad Air plus a smart cover today from within the Apple Store app on my iPhone, and by default, the app applied a $75 reduction. (Actually not quite. See below.)

Here’s the rundown: Buying any iPad Air gets you a $75 gift card, while an iPad mini gets you a $50 card.

Buy a Mac, either an iMac, a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, and you’ll get a $150 gift card. An iPod touch will get you a $50 a gift card. An iPod nano or Apple TV gets you a $25 gift card.

The deal also applies to a few accessories, some Apple-made, some from third parties. An Apple Time Capsule will get you a $50 gift card. So will a Nest smart thermostat, or a LaCie three-terabyte hard drive. An HP Photosmart 7520 printer will get you a $25 gift card, as will a Nike FuelBand.

Deals tend to differ around the world. While Apple is basically doing the same thing with gift cards in Australia and New Zealand, stores in the U.K. and Europe are offering outright discounts, as 9to 5Mac reported earlier. For example, Apple has knocked 31 pounds off the price of an iPad Air. In France, the price of an iPad Air has been trimmed by 35 euro.

Of course, the Apple Store isn’t the only place you can get the iPad today. Retailers Walmart and Target have already announced this morning that iPads are among the biggest selling items at their holiday sales — at Target; the iPad Air was the top draw; at Walmart, it was the iPad mini.

In both cases, those stores used discounts announced on the night before Thanksgiving to generate foot traffic. Both trimmed the price on an iPad Air by $20. And today, Target is offering a $100 gift card with the purchase of any full-size iPad, basically dropping the starting price to $379.

Best Buy is offering the iPad Air for between $50 and $70 off, depending on model. The entry-level 16 gigabyte model is going for $449, while the 32GB and 64GB models get $60 off. The 128GB models gets a $70 discount. That knocks the price on the maxed-out 128GB iPad Air with cellular data to $859.

Similar deals were also on offer at Best Buy for the iPad mini. But it’s also worth remembering that supplies on that device in particular were getting short. Certain iPad mini models are already sold out at Best Buy’s website. And as recently as last week, the shipping time on the iPad mini was running from five to 10 days from Apple’s online store, though it was generally available at Apple retail stores, suggesting that’s where Apple has been concentrating its inventory. So your mileage may vary.

Update: So when I finally got around to completing my iPad purchase yesterday, I received a separate gift card. When I picked up my purchase at The Apple Store later on I was told that I could use the card for anything in the store but it could not be applied to that specific purchase.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik