Apple discounts: you know you want ’em. We’re talking iPads, iPhones, iMacs, MacBooks, and more at the cheapest prices anywhere. Here’s your insider’s guide to hunting Apple discounts like a pro.
Before we get started, let’s go over a few quick rules of the road when hunting for Apple discounts.
- Prices change frequently, at pretty much every store or website you go to. They change not only because of limited-time promotions, but behind-the-scenes issues such as overstock inventories or bulk purchases by the seller. A price you see in one place today may be very different than the price you see in that same place tomorrow!
- The biggest and best discounts will almost always be on iMacs and MacBooks. That’s just how it is. You’re just not going to find discounted iPads and iPhones unless they’re older models and/or refurbished.
- Cellular carrier discounts on iPhones are not listed here, such as deals you may be offered at Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc. Discounts they offer are extremely fragmented based on location and your status with the carrier, so check your account for upgrade options or the latest deals for signing on with a new carrier to find out what kind of deal you can get. (And remember that many cellular vendors can be haggled with if you deal with them in person.)
- Some of these retailers offer their best deals only in their physical retail stores. Pay close attention to those details.
Price & Deal Tracking
An invaluable resource that tracks every Apple product known to man on a daily basis (including most of the stores listed in the next section). It also provides helpful information like in-stock availability, shipping cost, special offer codes, states that have to pay sales tax, and more. If you’re serious about shopping for Apple discounts, do not buy an Apple product without first checking MacPrices.net.
If you’re desperate for up-to-the-minute deal information, try following these Twitter accounts:
For the latest special promo codes and such, check RetailMeNot. Many of the codes they post only apply in specific situations (like education discounts), but now and then you may find one that’s worth finding.
A longstanding online retailer with a strong reputation for consistently having lower prices on Apple products than Apple offers — and they sell everything Apple makes. These are still Apple products, so some items aren’t discounted that much — the smallest discounts are just $5 or $10 off of $1,000+ products — but they regularly have better prices than you’ll find at Apple.com. And they run regular sales that offer deeper discounts. Be sure and check their Daily Deals, Apple Blowouts, and Clearance Outlet pages for limited-time deals that feature much deeper discounts.
In addition to offering consistent discounts, J&R is one of the precious few retailers that offers discounted iPads. Not huge discounts, mind you, but generally between $20 and $50 off, which is nothing to scoff at.
Other specialty stores that regularly offer moderate Apple discounts:
Big Name Retailers
There are only a few big name stores that offer Apple discounts. Many stores carry Apple products, such as Walmart and Target, but they’re very rarely discounted.
Apple’s own Amazon.com storefront offers decent discounts on all of Apple’s products.
Carries all of Apple’s products, but typically only discounts iMacs and MacBooks.
Offers small to moderate discounts on everything Apple makes.
In addition to some of the stores listed above, there are a few stores worth mentioning that sell only refurbished Apple products, all of which are (of course) sold at discounted prices.
Apple’s Refurbish StoreApple doesn’t do much to promote this little corner of the Apple.com Store, but insiders know it can be a great place to find unexpectedly good deals. Plus, you have the comfort of knowing that Apple itself handled the refurbishing, so what you get will measure up to their exacting standards.
Video game seller GameStop sells tons of refurbished game consoles. Not too long ago, they got into the refurbished computer business, too, and among their offerings are refurbed iPads, iPods, and MacBooks.
You’re always taking a risk when bidding on an auction site. They don’t have set inventories, so what you’ll find there is always going to be inconsistent. And buying is kind of like gambling: success is far from guaranteed, but winning can pay off bigtime. Which in this case translates to brand new products at insanely low prices. But still… Buyer beware.
The great-great-great-granddaddy of all auction websites is still the biggest and best. You’ll find more Apple auctions here — for both brand new and used products — than anywhere else. The caveat is the same issue that comes with all online auctions: it’s a crapshoot. You never know what you’ll find from one day to the next. Also, there’s no dedicated Apple eBay “store,” though you’ll find departments for iPhone and iPad.
“Penny auction” sites offer a new breed of auction, very different from eBay. The action is faster, and you have to buy packages of “penny bids” upfront. And when an auction gets down to the final ten seconds, every new bid resets the clock to ten seconds. Which sucks just as much as it sounds like. On the other hand, if you’re victorious, it really is possible to score high-end Apple products at prices up to 80% off.
Know of another great resource for finding the best Apple discounts? Post them in the Comments!