You may want an iPhone, an iPad, or maybe a new Mac, but Apple products always seem pricier than their competition. Still, if you know a few secrets, you can get yourself a deal.
Apple is a very powerful company. They control the supply chain tightly and don't have rolling sales like other retailers and manufacturers. They also know that their reputation leads to a level of demand that justifies their relatively high prices. But that doesn't mean you have to pay the list price.
The One Day Apple Discounts its Products
Apple regularly discounts its products on Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving. Both in store and online, they offer 7-10% off popular items. That's about $100 off laptops, $40 off the iPad, and $10 off the iPod nano. Best Buy usually discounts its Apple products, just a little more than the company itself. Last year, for example, they offered $45 off the iPad. But even those aren't always the best Black Friday deals for this gear.
Gift Card Deals
This holiday season, don't just look at the straight discounts advertised. Instead, look for gift card deals. Last year, if you bought an iPad at Meijer, they gave you an $80 store gift card with your purchase. If you bought an iPod touch at Toys R Us, they gave you a $50 store card. When you factor that in, these incentives may just save you more than a straight discount.
Student / Teacher Discounts
If you can prove that you are a teacher or a college student, Apple discounts its gear by about 10%. Start by finding the Education Pricing section of their website. Also, between June and September, Apple usually bundles products for students. For example, you might be able to buy a new Mac and get an iPod touch for free.
Apple always marks down its products when a new one is announced. As soon as the iPhone 5 was announced, they cut the iPhone 4S from $199 to $99. When the new Macbook Pro came out, the previous model got a $100 discount right away. Sure, you may feel you have to have the latest model, but you also have to ask yourself: did the value to you of the previous model really drop by $100 overnight? A great guide to when new Apple products are expected can be found at the Macrumors site.
[Related: Is iPad Mini Worth Buying?]
As for year-round discounts, your best bet is buying refurbished from Apple.
Go to the Certified Refurbished section of their website, and find laptops and iPods for about 15% off, iPads for as much as 30% off, and more. Apple certifies these used products have been tested — and they come with a one-year warranty.
Other Online Outlets
Sites like Amazon and Macmall offer everyday low prices that may end up beating other deals simply because they don't include sales tax. So be sure to factor that into your decision making.
[Related: iPhone 5 — Worth the Money?]