Apple's Black Friday Sale Offers Gift Cards Instead of Cash Discounts

Bah, humbug. As if crowds fighting yet again to get to Walmart doorbusters weren't bad enough to nearly ruin Thanksgiving, Apple zealots who have waited all year for a small sale on an iProduct are likely going to be let down by this year's Black Friday sale. Unlike years in the past, Apple isn't offering cash-off discounts on products. Instead, it's offering Apple Gift Cards as the discount. In other words, you'll still pay full retail for anything you buy from Apple today, but at least you'll have a bit of Apple cash to spend on more Apple gear in the future.

It's actually a pretty clever trick. A lot of folks will view it as a fair compromise, justifying it by reasoning that they'll eventually buy something else from Apple anyway. But the reality is that better Apple deals can be found elsewhere. Target is offering a $100 Target gift card with the purchase of an iPad Air, and at least in Target you can buy life's essentials, which makes the card feel a bit more like cash. Best Buy has bona fide cash discounts on many of Apple's new portable machines, and Amazon has a deal on Apple TV today.

Whatever you buy today (if anything), please remember: stay safe, and if possible, steer clear of the brick-and-mortar hustle.