Owning a MacBook is, for many designers, the impossible dream. They're so thin and pretty and swish, but lord, they're expensive. The great news is that Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 are just around the corner, which means it's the perfect time to snap up a MacBook without getting stung for the full whack.
This week we've already seen retailers kick things off ahead of the Black Friday weekend, with some great early Amazon UK Black Friday deals already on offer. So the big question is, do you get a MacBook deal now if a good one crops up, or wait until the big day? It's a tricky one, for sure. Buy it now and you might find it cheaper nearer to Black Friday weekend, wait and you might lose out on a great deal all together.
The best advice we can give is to decide just how much you want to spend on a Black Friday MacBook deal and whenever you see one within that budget, go for it. We'll be keeping tabs on all the Black Friday MacBook deals for you this year so you won't miss a trick; read on for all the important details you need to know so that you're all set to drop your hard-earned readies on a shiny new Apple that's right for you at the best possible price.
US: The latest Black Friday MacBook deals
MacBook Pro (15.4-inch, 2017):
$2,799 $2,149 at B&H
Save $650: This full-fat 2017-vintage MacBook Pro features a Touch Bar, 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD, and you're not likely to see many MacBooks with this much knocked off the price.
MacBook Air (2017)
$1,000 $800 at Best Buy
Save $200: If you don't mind an older MacBook Air in the basic configuration, this Doorbuster deal from Best Buy is worth staking out; it's going to be available in limited quantities from 5PM on 22 November.
MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (2017)
$2,599 $2,149 at Adorama
Save $450: Another MacBook Pro offer, this time from Adorama, gets you a sweet deal on this nicely specced 2017 model complete with a Touch Bar.
UK: The best Black Friday MacBook deals
We haven't found any great deals yet, but we'll be updating this section with the hottest UK MacBook Black Friday deals as soon as they're announced, so check back!
The best Black Friday and Cyber Monday MacBook deals: what we expect to see
The standard MacBook is a popular choice, and it's easy to see why; if portability is your thing, it's worth noting that the most recent 12-inch MacBook is both thinner and lighter than the old 13-inch MacBook Air, with better specs and a Retina display.
What this popularity means, though, is that you're unlikely to see much in the way of massive Black Friday MacBook deals. Keep your eyes peeled and you'll spot some tasty discounts, but don't expect to get much more than 10 per cent off and be prepared to act fast, as these deals are likely to get snapped up quickly.
The best Black Friday and Cyber Monday MacBook Pro deals: what we expect to see
If last year's Black Friday MacBook Pro deals are anything to go by, you could make some major savings on the top-end models in Apple's MacBook range this year, especially if you're prepared to make do with an older model. On lesser laptops this might be an issue, but even an old MacBook Pro is ludicrously powerful compared to the average laptop, making it well worth taking a punt.
The MacBook Pro's high price – especially on, say, the Touch Bar models – means it's easier for retailers to deliver a huge temporary price cut and still turn a profit, so if you're looking for a powerful creative laptop it's worth bearing in mind. You'll still be paying out quite a bit for it, but it'll be worth the expense.
The best Black Friday and Cyber Monday MacBook Air deals: what we expect to see
The new, even lighter MacBook Air has recently been announced, and it comes with a brilliant Retina display, Touch ID, the latest-generation keyboard and a Force Touch trackpad. It's gorgeous, though still perhaps a tad too small for many creatives, but it's also unlikely to be on offer this year as it's so new.
This revamped model is a good sign for those looking for the older MacBook Air, however, as we expect there to be some fantastic Black Friday MacBook Air deals on offer this year as retailers clear out their old stock. And the first deals coming in suggest this is already the case.
The downside to plumping for an older Air is that it's the least powerful MacBook you can get, and it's not even the thinnest and lightest any more. However if you simply have to have that MacBook cachet but you're on a budget, it's the obvious choice.
How to get the best MacBook deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Preparation is key when it comes to getting good Black Friday MacBook deals, especially when you bear in mind that a lot of retailers can't wait for Black Friday, and so start shipping their bargains well in advance of the big day. In the run-up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday we'll be keeping tabs on new deals as they appear, so keep checking back for offers that you won't want to miss.
You'll need to decide whether it's a standard MacBook you want, an Air or a full-fat MacBook Pro. If you're planning to use your new MacBook as an all-round work machine then it's worth holding out for a good deal on a Pro as it'll be able to cope with just about everything you throw at it. If you're less of a power user then the ordinary MacBook should suit your needs, and while the older Air's more limited it should be the one to go for if you want a MacBook at rock-bottom prices. The latest Air may also be for you if you prioritise a portable and thin machine over screen size.
Beware of older models – they're likely to see the biggest discounts but they'll be packing less power than more up-to-date machines. Although you could consider getting an SSD to speed things up. And of course, use a bit of common sense while shopping; look out for cashback offers, always check the guarantee and make sure you keep your receipt in case of faults or buyer's remorse.
MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air features and specs that creatives should look out for
There might only be three main models of MacBook to choose from, but there are plenty of variations in the line that are well worth noting when you're looking for Black Friday MacBook deals. Firstly, the CPU: the MacBook Air's is the least powerful of the lot, although the brand new 2018 version improves things with an 8th-generation Core i5 processor. Older models feature an old Intel Broadwell chipset running at 1.6GHz, or 1.8GHz for more recent models.
Both the MacBook and MacBook Pro boast beefier chipsets; Kaby Lake for 2017 models and Skylake before that, while the just-launched Pro really turns up the heat: up to 2.7GHz quad-core Core i7 in the 13-inch Touch Bar model, while the 15-inch Touch Bar version goes up to a 2.9GHz six-core Core i9.
Lower end MacBooks – the older Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro – only give you 128GB SSD, which is likely to mean that you'll need to invest in some external storage; the new MacBook Air starts with 128GB but can be specced up to a whopping 1.5TB SSD if you have the budget. All other MacBook models feature 256GB SSD; bear in mind that if you work with large files then you'll probably burn through that pretty quickly.
If you're going to need to plug peripherals into your new MacBook, check the number of available ports; the standard MacBook only has one USB-C port, while most MacBook Pros have four. The latest MacBook Air features a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports, while the older model has three ports: they're USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 2, and while they shouldn't give you any problems, bear in mind you might need an adapter for more recent peripherals.
Display-wise, all the MacBooks apart from the original Air feature crisp Retina displays (the Air has a 1440 x 900 screen). And they'll all serve you well in terms of battery, but watch out for MacBook Pros with a Touch Bar; Apple claims that this makes no difference but our friends at TechRadar have found that the Touch Bar can take a fair toll on battery life.
3 MacBooks and MacBook Pros to look out for on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
01. MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid-2018)
The best MacBook money can buy
CPU: 6-core Intel Core i7 - i9 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 540X - 560X, Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: 16 - 32GB | Screen: 15.4-inch, 2,880 x 1,800 Retina display | Storage: 512GB - 4TB SSD | Dimensions: (H x W x D): 34.93 x 24.07 x 1.55cm
If you need all the power you can handle and don't mind paying for it, the 15-inch 2018 MacBook Pro is the only way to go. Powered by a six-core Intel Coffee Lake processor and with the option of AMD Radeon Pro graphics, there's little this machine can't cope with. Storage options go from 512GB up to 4TB of SSD, and you can have 16 or 32GB RAM. In short it's a mighty creative powerhouse that won't let you down, assuming you have the means to afford it.
02. MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (13-inch, mid-2018)
Entry-level MacBook Pro with plenty of power
CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Storage: 256GB – 2TB PCIe 3.0 SSD | Dimensions: (H x W x D): 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.49cm
You may have read complaints about the temperamental Butterfly keyboard on recent MacBooks; the latest MacBook Pro still features it, but it's an improved version with less noise and more reliability. This model also features a Touch Bar that'll give you time-saving, context-sensitive commands for various apps, as well as an up-to-date CPU and plenty of storage and memory options. If you want an entry-level MacBook Pro, this is the one to go for.
03. MacBook (2017)
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core m3 – Core m7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12-inch Retina (2,304 x 1,440) IPS | Storage: 256GB – 512GB PCIe SSD | Dimensions: (W x D x H): 11.04 x 7.74 x 0.14~0.52in
Don't need the power of a Pro? This vanilla MacBook should suit you nicely; it's super-portable and lightweight, with a 12-inch Retina screen, and as long as you don't mind paying the extra it's a much more attractive prospect than the ageing MacBook Air. It's low on ports, but that's the price you pay for such a slimline machine, and if you need a reliable MacBook that you can take anywhere then this is really the only choice in town.
Today's best pre-Black Friday MacBook deals
So, you've got all excited about MacBooks and you really can't wait for Black Friday? Don't worry, aside from the deals above, there are plenty of deals available right now; take a look through these offerings.