Apple doesn’t make a habit of big discounts, but it’s always worth shopping around as you can nearly always get a few quid off here and there – you just need to do the digging.
There are currently a few pounds off the Apple iPad mini, a tasty discount on the superb HomePod, a small but significant AirPods deal, and plenty of Beats headphones offers. And with Black Friday around the corner, it’s a good time to be keeping an eye out for bargains.
Ubiquity appears to have fostered acceptance, and AirPods no longer draw the slightly mocking glances they once did. In 2016, the originals introduced flawless true wireless technology and average sound quality. Now, though, we have a next-generation model, which sprinkles a little more pixie dust over proceedings. The 2nd-gen AirPods make improvements in sound quality and feature unbeatable Bluetooth usability, securing their four-star review and a solid recommendation for those after a combination of convenience, reliability and good performance.
Despite the release of the second-gen pair, the original AirPods are still knocking about – and at a £10 discount, too. While we’d go for the newer model at this nominal price difference, these AirPods are still an absolute marvel in terms of tech. For this price, they’re a pretty good deal for iPhone users.
The HomePod is our favourite smart speaker, garnering five stars when we reviewed it at its original price of £319, so its current £40 discount deserves to be noted. It may, predictably, be incredibly Apple-centric – it’s almost wholly reliant on an iPhone and Apple Music account – but it also delivers superb sound considering the size and money. A weighty delivery and compact styling, and Siri’s enhanced, music-specific skills, make for an enticing package for Apple lovers.
Apple TV 4K
The latest Apple TV box sees Apple embracing 4K and HDR – great news, because it shines a light on specs that we want to see become as popular as possible. What’s more, the Apple TV 4K box itself brings with it a whole load of 4K HDR movies to streaming for the first time. This box delivers all the key UK catch-up TV services, the biggest library of 4K HDR films available anywhere, Dolby Atmos – and great, all-round performance. Recommended – especially as it’s now available from some retailers with a £20 discount. Every little helps, after all.
Apple iPhone XS
The new iPhone XS doesn’t represent a seismic shift like its predecessor but it does still come with a smattering of upgrades. There’s a gold finish and upgraded rear glass, a new 5.8in Super Retina OLED screen promising 60% greater dynamic range than the iPhone X, and the zippy new A12 Bionic chip. The battery life has been bumped by 30 minutes, the speakers have been given a ‘wider stereo sound’ and there’s a new Smart HDR camera mode. Enough for an upgrade from the iPhone X? Possibly not for casual users, but power users will be tempted by the faster processor and upgraded camera.
iPhone XS Max
Like the sound of the XS but want a bigger screen? The iPhone XS Max is for you. It’s the biggest-ever iPhone, with a whopping 6.5in OLED screen. The bezels have been reduced, allowing Apple to squeeze a super-size screen on to a handset the size of the iPhone 8 Plus. The XS Max gets a bigger battery, too, claiming an extra hour of life over the new XS (90 minutes compared to the iPhone X). And that’s about your lot for differences. The choice, is yours.
The ‘cheap’ iPhone has arrived – and it’s not that cheap. It’s certainly cheaper than the flagship models, though, and with the XR sharing many of the same features, it may prove to be a popular choice. Available in a range of colours, the iPhone XR has the older glass and aluminium design and feels chunkier as a result. It has a 6.1in screen, crucially using LCD rather than OLED technology – hence the cheaper price tag. The camera is a lower spec, too, with a single sensor rather than the two on the XS models. The new A12 chip is here, though, and it promises a battery as long-lasting as the XS Max.
The iPad Pro is a productivity powerhouse, with performance that’s on a par with some laptop PCs. Skinny bezels and a superb display make it a fine choice, whichever screen size you choose (10.5in or 12.9in). You can connect a Smart Keyboard or use an Apple Pencil (both cost extra) and thanks to the rapid 64-bit A10X Fusion CPU chip, everything works smoothly. You can choose 64GB, 256GB and 512GB versions, with just WiFi or added cellular connectivity. The screen is great, sound is good from the speakers or the headphone connection, and thanks in no small part to iOS, this is simply the best tablet on the market.
The iPad mini is Apple’s most portable tablet. There’s a lot to be said for convenience of carrying around a 300g device that’ll fit in just about any bag, no matter how light you’re looking to travel. Nonetheless, its ample 7.9-inch screen won’t leave you disappointed. The display is vibrant with plenty of picture punch and the sound is reliably crisp and clear. Apple has also added support for the Apple Pencil although we suspect owners will more appreciate the A12 Bionic chip to help with their seamless media consumption. Available in 64GB and 256GB sizes, a choice of three colours and cellular models should you need, discounts are small but they are out there.
Beats by Dr. Dre has been a subsidiary of Apple since 2014 and its popular headphones and earbuds are probably the strongest rivals to AirPods when it comes to sheer ubiquity. We may not find them class leaders in terms of sound quality, but they’re no doubt among the more stylish pairs out there and feature some of the most interesting wireless technology courtesy of Apple’s own W1 Bluetooth chip. There is always discounts to be had on Beats’ wide range of headphones, from the sporty in-ears to both the budget and premium on-ears. A round-up of the cheapest prices on the most popular pairs can be found below.
Beats Solo 3 Wireless
The Beats Solo 3 Wireless push the boundaries of wireless headphones technology further than we’ve seen before. And while the sound quality may not beat the best headphones around, the extra battery life, range and close compatibility with the iPhone, mean the Solo 3 Wireless are well worth a look.
MORE: Beats Solo 3 Wireless
Beats Powerbeats Pro
We admire the Powerbeats Pro headphones for their build, their fit and their superb features. Thanks to the Apple H1 Bluetooth chip technology, they’re wonderfully easy to set up and use, and they’re virtually glitch-free in their delivery of wireless audio.
In terms of practicality, the Powerbeats Pros are an excellent set of headphones, they just can’t quite match the very best in terms of sound. But if you can find a really good deal, it might be tempting.
As the most Apple-centric wireless headphones not made by Apple, the Beats X are aimed squarely at iPhone owners. It’s all about the Apple W1 chip, which makes this pair slicker than your average Bluetooth headphone. They’re easy to live with, and Bluetooth performance is almost faultless whether they end up connected to an iPhone or Android equivalent.
MORE: Beats X review