Apple reveals Black Friday deals …but we've found better iPhone and AirPod discounts

Looking to treat yourself, a friend, or a family member to new pair of AirPods, iPhone or Mac? You’ve picked the best time of the year – with Black Friday fast approaching, this is easily the best time to bag a bargain. Unfortunately, it can be a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to Apple Black Friday deals. That’s because, while the company itself does take part in the shopping bonanza, you won’t actually get any money off its products. Instead, everything is sold at full price, but Apple will throw in a Gift Card up to £80 to spend on accessories from the Apple Store, or some new apps from the Mac or iPhone App Store. If you’d rather get cold hard cash discounts – you’ll need to look elsewhere. Thankfully, John Lewis, Amazon and Argos have all started cutting costs on a range of popular Apple products for Black Friday, so there are some incredible discounts to be had…

Apple has confirmed that it will be taking in Black Friday this year. The Californian company doesn’t specifically refer to the US shopping event, but instead refers to its limited-time promotion as the “Apple Shopping Event”. Just like previous years, the event lasts four days – covering Black Friday itself, the weekend, and Cyber Monday.

Like we’ve seen from Apple in previous years, some of its latest devices aren’t included in the deals. So, if you’re looking to buy a brand-new iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 Pro, which launched back in September, you won’t be eligible for the free gift card. However, those looking to buy an iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, or iPhone SE will get a free £40 gift card with their purchase. As mentioned above, this gift card can be put towards hardware purchases from the Apple Store (for a sizeable discount on a new pair of AirPods or a case, for example) or can be redeemed towards software in the App Store.

You’ll also get a £40 gift card when buying the Apple TV HD, Apple TV 4K, Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 3. For the first time, Apple is also offering a £40 gift card for anyone who buys its most popular accessories over the four-day event, including the second-generation Apple Pencil, Smart Keyboard Folio, MagSafe Duo Charger, a four-pack of AirTag trackers, or Apple Magic Keyboard for an iPad. 

In another departure from previous years, AirPods are also eligible for a free gift card. You’ll get £60 to spend in the Apple Store when you buy the AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, or the second-generation (£119) or third-generation (£169) AirPods.

While a number of other retailers have dropped the price of these wireless ‘buds, there are still reasons to buy direct from the Apple Store over the likes of Amazon and John Lewis. Apple offers free engraving, so you can add a custom message (or emoji) for a loved one when buying from the Apple Store. Coupled with the generous £60 gift card – that’s half the cost of the second-generation in the form of a gift card to spend on another Apple gadget! – this is easily the best deal of the bunch.

Elsewhere, buying an iPad Pro, with either the 11- or 12.9-inch display, will net you an £80 gift card to spend another day, while the purchase of a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13-inch or Mac mini will unlock the same freebie. Meanwhile, the iMac 27-inch arrives with a bumper £160 gift card for the Apple Store. Beats headphones round out the promotion, with a £40 gift card available with select models, including the Studio3 Wireless and Solo3 Wireless.

If you were looking to spend a load of extra cash on cases, charging cables, Apple Watch straps, Apple Pencils, or AirPods in the Apple Store anyway… it might be worth buying one of the above devices to get the gift card. If you’re only looking to buy a single Apple device this Black Friday, you might be better off looking at the high street retailers offering discounts on the products themselves.

While the Apple Store is currently the only place to get a free engraving on your AirPods, Apple Pencil, iPad or a number of other gadgets from the brand, there are advantages to shopping elsewhere too. For example, John Lewis offers an extra 12-months warranty than you’ll get from Apple.

While we don’t expect anything to go awry in the first two years of owning your shiny new Apple gadget, it’s reassuring to know that John Lewis will replace your new earbuds, iPad, Mac or iPhone if something does go wrong long after Apple will point you towards its out-of-warranty repairs price list.

When it comes to discounted Apple gear, AirPods is one of our favourite picks. These popular earbuds have dropped to their lowest ever price – with Argos, John Lewis and Amazon all offering these ‘buds for £99. Just a few short weeks ago, Apple was charging £159 for these AirPods. Since then, the third-generation AirPods have arrived, knocking this model (the second-generation pair with charging case) down to £119. In the Black Friday sales, that’s dropped down to less than £100 for the first time.

If you’ve been considering these convenient wireless ‘buds for a while, this is definitely the time to jump in. If you’re a Prime member, it makes sense to opt for Amazon as you’ll get next-day delivery for free. However, shoppers with an Argos on their high street might be able to pick up these popular ‘buds on the same day – so it’s worth checking stock nearby. And finally, John Lewis doubles the warranty period compared to Amazon, Argos and even Apple itself! With any luck, these earbuds will last a lot longer than two years, but John Lewis means you’ll have an extra 12 months without worry.

For those who have noisy commutes, the AirPods Pro, which boast active noise-cancellation to drone out all outside sounds, have dropped in price too. Usually priced at £239, Amazon has plunged the price down to £185. John Lewis will charge a little more (although still far below the original RRP) but ensure your new buds are protected against faults for an extra year. In other words, it’s exactly the same positives for each of these retailers from above still apply, so choose carefully.

If you’re looking for a new iPhone, Sky Mobile is offering double the mobile data allowance with its iPhone 13 and 13 mini – saving you money every month, while still ensuring that you have enough mobile data that you’ll be able to stream from Spotify, watch a few YouTube videos and answer FaceTime video calls while away from Wi-Fi.