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For Black Friday, Apple favors gift cards over discounts

In an unusual twist that goes against its traditional Black Friday plans, Apple is offering gift cards up to $150 instead of straight product discounts.

Black Friday, Apple-style
Black Friday, Apple-style. Apple

Don't go to Apple's online and retail stores expecting to see the iPad maker's traditional Black Friday discounts. This year, Apple has thrown in a bit of twist to its holiday deals.

Today Apple is offering gift cards of up to $150 when you purchase a gadget through its US online and retails outlets. This is a divergence from years past, when it would discount the products themselves.

If you pick up a new iPad Mini or iPad 2, expect to get a $50 Apple Store gift card. The iPad Air is worthy of a $75 gift card. And if you buy a new iMac, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air, you can score a $150 gift card.

That's still less than what some other retail outlets are offering. Target, for instance, is touting an iPad Air for $479 (it's usually $499) with a $100 gift card to its stores. That's an in-store only offer. And at Walmart, you can get the iPhone 5S for $189 (its original price is $199) and the iPhone 5C (typically $99) for $45 with a two-year contract. After signing the contract, you'll get a $75 Walmart gift card.

Apple appears to be going the usual route in Europe, by offering standard discounts on its hardware as opposed to the gift cards. The gift cards offering is only in Apple's US and Australian online and retail stores.

We've reached out to Apple for comment on the Black Friday changes and will update this post when we hear back.