The secret is to be patient. The new Apple device you have your eye on may not be discounted at the moment, but chances are that one of the major online retailers will cut the price next week or next month.
Some of the discounting is predictable. For example, Black Friday and the months before the year-end holidays. Other times, it’s completely unpredictable. Retailers like Best Buy, Amazon (now an authorized Apple reseller), B&H Photo, and Adorama often discount out of the blue for reasons only they know.
So, you have to be vigilant and keep tabs on the retail sites that most frequently discount, such as the ones cited above. You can also sign up for “deal alerts” or check weekly ads but it's a good idea to be proactive checking the major Apple retailer sites once a week for the specific product you’re interested in.
Used or refurbished Apple products are often sold at discounts as well and can be found direct from Apple here.
Among all of Apple’s hardware, MacBooks are discounted the most frequently and typically see the deepest price cuts.
Discounts typically come in two flavors, including sales on recently-announced MacBooks. For example, B&H Photo and Amazon have been consistently discounting the Apple's newest MacBook, the 2018 MacBook Air, by $100.
More common are discounts on the previous generation of MacBooks announced a year – or more – back. It’s common for B&H Photo or Adorama to discount 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros released the previous year (e.g., 2017) by $200 to $400. These are still never-before-used MacBooks, but they are a year old.
Practically speaking, the differences between the newest MacBooks and last year’s MacBooks are often small.
Discounts on iPads are also common and the same rules generally apply: less frequent discounts on recently-announced iPads and more frequent discounts on older models.
For most people, iPads are for media consumption and light work-related tasks. So, many consumers don’t need the latest and greatest high-powered, pricey iPad Pros and can clear the way for good deals.
The iPad Mini 4 is often discounted from the list price $399, often as much as $50. The svelte, light (0.65 pounds) 7.9-inch iPad comes with 128GB of storage. It's a bit dated – released in late 2015 with an A8 processor – but it's fine for the vast majority of consumers.
The 9.7-inch iPad was released in early 2018 and features a newer A10 Fusion processor. The 32GB model is often discounted by $50 from the regular price of $329. The 128GB model also sees frequent price cuts of $50 or more from the regular price of $429.
Or if you insist on an iPad Pro, opt for the 2017 10.5-inch model, which is often discounted by $100 or more.
Carriers and retailers are always pushing iPhone deals but there’s almost always a catch and the deal typically requires signing up for a two-year contract.
For example, Verizon is currently offering $300 off the iPhone XS, Apple’s newest phone. The catch is, you must add a new smartphone line and trade in a phone that’s on their designated list of trade-ins. You’ll see variations on this theme throughout the year at other carriers and retailers.
Occasionally, you'll see fleeting oddball deals like the one Apple has been offering directly on the iPhone SE: for a limited time priced at $299 for the 128GB model. The catch here is that it's not new but refurbished.