With Black Friday 2018 fast approaching, now's the time to start looking for the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday iPad deals. But you don't have to wait until 23 November – we're seeing all manner of retailers kick Black Friday off early, with some cracking discounts already on offer.
The reality this year is that retailers are actively choosing to move towards a longer sales period – and away from short bursts of extreme deals that crash servers and deplete stock levels. This gives consumers more time to make an informed decision when making a purchase, rather than resorting to impulse buying.
And that's great news, because it means there's more time to nab yourself a brilliant iPad bargain. However, as Apple products are notoriously hard to get hold of at a discounted price, it's unlikely we'll see anything higher (or even up to) 40 per cent off. But anything is better than paying full whack, right?
So what's the best plan for getting a great Black Friday iPad deal? Do you hang fire until the big day, or snap up a bargain if and when you see one? There's risk involved either way: you could miss out on a top deal, or find a better one when it's too late. The best thing to do is decide which iPad you want to nab this Black Friday, decide on a budget you're prepared to pay, and if you see a deal that fits your finances, happy days.
Of course you may be happy with another brand of tablet – if so, check out our guide to finding the best Black Friday tablet deals. Otherwise, read on to grab anything from an iPad Mini up to a hefty iPad Pro without paying full whack.
US: The best Black Friday and Cyber Monday iPad deals
What sort of Black Friday Apple iPad deals are we seeing this year so dar? Here are some of the best that are already on offer, note that a lot of these are part of Black Friday leaked ads and so are not live on retailer's sites just yet.
iPad Pro 64GB (10.5-inch, 2017) WiFi:
Save $74: Last year's iPad Pro is still a powerful productivity machine – if you're ok with the smallest-storage option, you can get a bit off the price right now from Walmart.View Deal
iPad Pro 256GB (10.5-inch, 2017) WiFi:
$799 $736 at Walmart
Save $63: Right now you can pick up a higher-storage version of the 2017 iPad Pro for over $50 less than usual. It can also connect to cellular services if you need to work (or browse) in the field.View Deal
iPad Pro 512GB (10.5-inch, 2017) WiFi:
Save $152: New iPad Pro models are on the market, so that means decent discounts on the still-speedy models from 2017. Jet has knocked 15% off the price of this extra-large 512GB version of the 2017 iPad Pro.View Deal
Apple iPad Mini 4:
$399.99 $249.99 at Target
Save $150: The Apple iPad Mini 4 is a nifty little piece of kit that is great for creating on the move, although it may be a bit small for all your needs. This is a fab discount from Target though. Live date TBC
Apple iPad 9.7.
$329.99 $249.99 at Target
Save $80: Target is also slashing the price of the Apple iPad 9.7 (2018). This is fantastic chance to save some money on one of the newer iPads. Live date TBC
The best UK Black Friday and Cyber Monday iPad deals
Here are this year's early Black Friday iPad deals from the other side of the pond. We haven't seen much coming in yet, but it's definitely worth keeping an eye on Very as it has some interesting discounts.
Apple iPad Mini 4, 128 GB (WiFi)
£419 £219.99 at Very
Save £119.01: This fab early deal from Very is probably the best price you'll see on the iPad Mini. There's also the option to pay in instalments with no interest. Deal available until 27 November
Black Friday and Cyber Monday iPad deals: what else we expect to see this year
Apple isn't exactly renowned for rolling out massive price cuts on its gear, so if you're hoping for some epic Black Friday iPad deals then you'd be wise to temper your expectations a little. That said, Apple has just announced some exciting new models, so what with Apple's new 11-inch iPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pros now on sale, it's a fair bet that you'll be able to snag some significant Black Friday iPad Pro deals on older stock.
There's also talk of a long-overdue update to the iPad Mini, with a faster chipset and cheaper display. Though we don't expect that to come before Black Friday, we still think you're in with a chance of getting a decent iPad Mini 4 Black Friday deal.
As for the standard 9.7-inch iPad, that received a major update earlier in the year, adding Apple Pencil compatibility among other things. We doubt you'll find much in the way of major discounts on this one, but if using a Pencil isn't high on your list of priorities then you'll be likely to save on a 2017 model if you shop around.
The best US Black Friday and Cyber Monday iPad deals in 2017
What sort of Black Friday Apple iPad deals can you expect this year? Here are some of the best from last year to give you a clue.
Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch 128GB: $649.99 (was $879.99)
This eBay Black Friday deal delivered a pretty sweet saving in the form of 26% off a 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro with 128GB, Wi-Fi and stunning Retina display.
Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch: $399.99 (was $729.99)
The iPad Pro 9.7-inch model is getting a little long in the tooth and its 32GB storage isn't up to much, but with 45% hacked off the price, you'd have been churlish to complain.
Apple iPad Mini 4: $369 (was $599)
The Mini 4's another model that's showing its age, but $230 off a 128GB model is hard to argue with. If Apple delivers a new Mini this year then you should be able to score even better deals on this model come Black Friday.
The best UK Black Friday and Cyber Monday iPad deals in 2017
Meanwhile, here are some of last year's iPad deals from the other side of the pond. Hopefully there'll be more options this time around!
iPad Pro (10.5-inch) Wi-Fi + 64GB: £726.53 (was £749)
KRCS was offering £22.47 off the then-new 10.5-inch iPad Pro in gold with 64GB of storage, with the saving available on on the silver, space grey and rose gold models.
10.5-inch iPad Pro Wi-Fi 64GB (2017) Silver: £556.45 (was £619)
This 2017 model iPad Pro featured 64GB storage and 4GB RAM, and with £62.55 off from Amazon, it was about as good an iPad deal as you were going to get last year.
iPad Pro 12.9 256GB: £869 (was £919)
The biggest iPad got a discount, too, and £50 off from John Lewis was a great Black Friday iPad deal in 2017. The 512GB model also got a similar discount, but do you really need that much storage?
How to get the best iPad deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
If there's one thing you can be sure of when it comes to Black Friday iPad deals, it's that they're going to be in short supply, and serious discounts are going to be even more rare, so you're going to need to be prepared to leap on a good deal as soon as you spot it. The best offers are likely to appear as lightning deals with limited stock available, so keep checking back here for news on them as soon as they come up.
For the best chance of finding great Black Friday Apple iPad deals, you'll need to keep an eye on as many retailers as possible; Amazon had some good deals last year and you can expect some more this time around, but you're also likely to find savings from eBay as well as major electrical stores. If you're in the USA, watch out for deals from Walmart and Newegg, while in the UK firms such as Currys PC World and John Lewis are likely to come up with the goods.
Decide in advance roughly what model you're after; do you want a standard iPad, a Pro or a Mini? And watch out for retailers shifting older models at knock-down prices; they'll look pretty much the same but you'll have to make do with poorer performance than the latest iPads, especially if you're running iOS 12 on aged stock.
Finally, try to overcome your Black Friday excitement and take the same care you would for any other major purchase. Check for cashback offers, make sure the guarantee's going to cover you if something goes wrong, and make sure you keep your receipt in case you need to return your shiny new purchase.
iPad features and specs that creatives should look out for on Black Friday
The beauty of the iPad range is that you don't need to worry too much about specs; the major distinction between models is the amount of storage you get, and whether they're Wi-Fi or cellular, and these options can make a big difference to the price.
If you're likely to fill up your iPad with photos, videos and music then you should naturally opt for as much storage as you can comfortably afford (up to 512GB on the iPad Pro), but do you really need to pay the extra for a cellular model? The smarter option is to tether a Wi-Fi iPad to your iPhone, and use that for a mobile signal when you're out of range.
None of the iPads currently on sale are particular slouches; however for the best performance look out for the 2018 9.7-inch iPad or the 2017 iPad Pros. These pack the A10 and A10X processors respectively, which clock in around 30 per cent faster than the previous generation A9 processor. The newer iPad Pros are even better, with A12X processors providing plenty of power.
And of course if you want to use your new iPad for drawing then be sure to plump for a model with Apple Pencil support. This used to mean buying an iPad Pro, but as of 2018 the standard 9.7-inch iPad has Pencil support, although whether or not we'll see much in the way of deals for that model is another matter altogether.
3 iPads to look out for on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
01. iPad Pro 12.9 (2017)
The biggest and possibly the best iPad to get at a bargain
Weight: 677g | Dimensions: 305.7 x 220.6 x 6.9 mm | OS: iOS 12 | Screen size: 12.9-inch | Resolution: 2048 x 2732 pixels | CPU: A10X Fusion | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB/256GB/512GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: 10,875mAh | Rear camera: 12MP: | Front camera: 7MP
If size matters to you and you're not bothered about getting the very latest model, then this is your only serious iPad choice. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the closest you'll get to a 2-in-1 touchscreen MacBook, and it's brilliant for both productivity and entertainment.
Its huge, sharp screen is ideal both for drawing with the Apple Pencil or for showing off images and video to best effect, and if you add a Smart Keyboard to the mix then it becomes just the thing for getting admin work done wherever you may be.
The massive screen could be a drawback if all you really want is a tablet, but if you're after something portable that can adapt to pretty much any scenario then you really can't go wrong with this model, just so long as you can afford the steep price.
02. iPad 9.7(2018)
A normal-sized iPad that works with the Apple Pencil
Weight: 469g | Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm | OS: iOS 12 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 pixels | CPU: A10 Bionic | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32/128GB | microSD: slot: No | Battery: Up to 10 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP
This surprise 2018 addition to the iPad range is ostensibly aimed at the student market, but its USP – it's the first non-Pro iPad to support the Apple Pencil, makes the new iPad a must-have for budget-conscious creatives.
Its big downside is that it's not compatible with the Smart Keyboard, making it less of an all-round workhorse than the Pro range, and the maximum storage you can get is 128GB. But if you can cope with these little drawbacks then this is absolutely the best standard iPad available. We're not convinced you'll get much of a discount on it though.
03. iPad Mini 4
It's getting on a bit, but this is a great compact model
Weight: 299g | Dimensions: 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1mm | OS: iOS 12 | Screen size: 7.9-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 pixels | CPU: A8 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16/32/64/128GB | microSD: slot: No | Battery: 5124mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP
The iPad Mini 4 is definitely showing its age; launched in 2015 it's saddled with an A8 processor rather than the the A10-series chipsets in the Pro and iPad 9.7 (2018), but that's just about its only disappointing area (and to be fair, the A8's still pretty powerful).
Small and light with a beautifully bright 7.9-inch screen, it's a lovely little piece of portable kit that can do just about everything its bigger siblings can, and if you're on a limited budget then it's definitely the iPad to opt for. However, bear in mind that an iPad Mini 5 is expected to launch pretty soon, and that might mean bigger savings on the iPad Mini 4 are around the corner, as retailers shift their stock. It's a gamble!