It's basically unheard of for Apple products to be discounted right after they're launched. But that's exactly what's happening now if you preorder the new iPad from Walmart — where it's on sale for $299, or $30 off the $329 list price.
Apple introduced its latest lineup of shiny new devices early this week, including four new iPhone models, the Apple Watch Series 7 and a pair of iPads, standard size and mini.
The 2021 iPad mini, the sixth-generation in this series, is particularly intriguing. It's the first new iPad mini since the last version was released in early 2019, and it offers some compelling new features — like vibrant colors and crispness on a new 8.3" edge-to-edge screen and new "landscape" speakers for better sound no matter if the mini is propped vertically or horizontally. Like all the other iPad minis, this one is small enough to hold comfortably with one hand (it's only slightly bigger than some phones). The new version comes in four colors: pink, purple, starlight (pale gold) and the classic space grey.
The 2021 iPad mini does not come cheap. The 64GB version — the lowest price model — is listed at $499, and if you want 256GB iPad mini it'll cost $650. For the sake of comparison, not long ago we routinely saw the previous 64GB iPad mini on sale for about $350.
The base version of the 2021 iPad is arguably a much better value, especially with the extra savings offered at Walmart. With a 10.2" screen, it's significantly bigger than the mini. Perhaps most importantly, the 2021 iPad is much cheaper: It's being listed at $329 regularly, and Walmart is offering it at a special price of $299 for preorders.
Walmart is the only place we know of you can preorder the new iPad at the price. The new 64GB iPad is priced at $329.99 for preorders at Amazon, Best Buy and Target, and it's $329 directly from Apple.
Both new iPads are officially available as of Friday, Sept. 24. When we checked, Walmart's website was saying that customers could expect iPad preorders to arrive on Wednesday, Sept. 29, with free shipping.
Could shoppers see even better iPad deals in the months ahead, around the time Black Friday sales arrive? That's possible, though it's hard to say for sure. The fact that there are iPad deals available right from the get-go is an indication that discounts will be routine — and perhaps even very aggressive around the holiday shopping season.
Then again, the upcoming holiday season is one big question mark in terms of deals and availability. Industry experts anticipate major shortages of toys and other popular gifts, because many shoppers have money to spend at the same time that massive global supply chain problems are making it difficult for stores to keep items in stock.
Our advice is that if you are fairly sure someone on your list will want a new iPad under the Christmas tree, right now is a smart time to buy.