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Remember the days when Apple would launch a new product and people would line up outside its stores to be the first to buy it? Sure, it still happens when the company launches a truly new innovation (crowds amassed outside Apple stores for its AirPod Pros in 2019). But when it comes to MacBooks, iPhones, and iPads, people don’t wait for hours to be the first to buy them like they used to.
Some industry watchers chalk this up to the ubiquity of Apple products these days. At this point, practically everyone’s taken a bite, so to speak. Being the first to own the 12th or 21st version of an iPhone doesn’t hold the same cachet. People are no longer asking, “Will I be the first to get the next version?” Instead, they want to know, “When is the best time to buy the next one in order to get the lowest price?”
Of course, the most zealous Apple fans will shell out whatever amount Apple asks for its newest product. Right now on Apple’s site, the iPhone 14 is going for $799, and the iPhone 14 Plus is $899. According to Forbes, this price will probably stay the same for the basic iPhone 15, which releases in September, but the Pro and Ultra versions are rumored to start at $1,199 and $1,299 respectively.
But for those of us who aren’t following Tim Cook’s every post on Twitter — and who just need a new smartphone or notebook — knowing the best days or time of year to buy an Apple product is very valuable information. It could save you hundreds of dollars. Here’s what industry experts have to say about when those times are.
The Best Time To Buy An iPhone
Apple tends to drop its prices on older models just after the launch of the newest one. So if you’re in the market for a new iPhone — and you don’t need the newest-fangled version — hang on until the fall.
“One of the best times of year to buy an iPhone is in September or October, when new models are typically announced and older iPhone generations tend to go on sale,” Kristin McGrath, shopping expert with RetailMeNot, told Reader’s Digest.
And if you’re willing to buy it from Target or Walmart, you can wait a little longer for an even better price. Resellers often slash their prices between Black Friday and Christmas, according to MacWorld.
The Best Time to Buy an iPad
As for buying an iPad, McGrath suggests waiting for Amazon Prime Day. “Shoppers who shop on Amazon Prime Day will typically find deeply discounted tablets at this time,” she told Readers’ Digest.
But iPad deals also tend to come up during other major sales events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and even during Memorial Day weekend sales. Speaking of which, sites like The Verge and Tom’s Guide can tell you where to buy one for the lowest price this month. If you specifically want an iPad Pro, MacWorld has tracked the lowest prices for that model specifically.
The Best Time to Buy AirPods
McGrath recommends buying AirPods on Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Amazon Prime Day. “This year, we saw a good amount of AirPod deals on Amazon — including 32% off Apple AirPods Pro Wireless Earbuds,” she told Reader’s Digest.
CBS Essentials, the tech editors at CBS News, also suggest buying from Amazon. They’ve studied historical pricing data on the most popular Apple AirPod models and analyzed key data patterns. The upshot? They’ve found that Amazon runs sales on AirPods Pro 2 “fairly frequently (approximately once a month over the past six months).”
In fact, while the list price for AirPods Pro 2 is $249, Amazon is currently selling them for $199, which is 20% off.
The Best Time to Buy a MacBook
Are you buying the MacBook for a college student, or are you yourself in college? Take advantage of Apple’s annual back-to-school sale, which usually lasts about two or three months and generally starts in June and ends in September.
If deals in past years are any indication, you can get 20% off an Apple Care plan and free Apple gift cards up to $150 in addition to the Apple Education discount. (Apple’s Education Pricing is available all year round for “qualifying students,” which means you’ll be asked for documentation.)
If you’re not a college student, McGrath said that you still might find a good deal during this time. “Labor Day weekend intersects with some back-to-school electronics sales, so it’s a good time to shop for a laptop, tablet or desktop,” she told Reader’s Digest.
The Best Time to Buy an Apple Watch
According to Digital Trends, “Black Friday is traditionally the best time of the year to purchase an Apple Watch,” but the site also recommends checking for good discounts on Amazon Prime Day — specifically the Early Access Sale. “This event takes place a little more than a month before Black Friday, which means … you can make a purchase during Amazon’s event, and return it if you find a better Apple Watch deal come Black Friday,” Andrew Morrissey wrote on the site.
The tech editors at ZDNet have found that Apple doesn’t offer many deals on its watches. That said, they suggested looking to different retailers “like Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy” for discounts. And just between us, there are some cheaper alternatives to Apple Watches. (Just don’t tell an Apple super-fan we told you so.)