Finding the best price for an iPad, iPhone, iPod, Mac or any Apple product is easy. Typically, you can do much better than the Apple Store. This article details how to find the best price for an iPad or any other Apple product.
Find the Best Price with Google Shopping
Originally known as Froogle, Google Shopping is a great way to find the best price for any Apple product. Microsoft has recently launched a negative ad campaign, contending that Google promotes retailers who pay them the most. This isn’t entirely true. Google Shopping allows the consumer to search for a product and sort by price, including shipping and tax. This is, by far, the easiest way to find the best deal on any product, even Apple products. Let’s try to find the best price for a 16GB iPad Air using Google Shopping.
First, go to the Google Shopping website. Next, type “ipad air 16gb” in the search box at the top of the page.
A list of search results will appear. Look for the one that represents the product you want. For the purposes of this demonstration, let’s click on “Apple iPad Air Wi-Fi 16 GB – Space gray”. Don’t worry about the color — most retailers will offer the option when you purchase the item.
Clicking on the link pops up an enlarged view of this selection. Click the link at the top to view the prices at different retailers.
As you can see, this result offers options from 10 different stores. To find the cheapest price, click on the Total Price link. This will sort the list from cheapest to most expensive.
Look at the result — you can buy an iPad for $107 less than the Apple Store! You can even see the ratings of different retailers. If you are concerned that a seller might be sketchy, go for the cheapest option with a highly rated seller. You’ll still save about $50 compared to the Apple Store. I own lots of Apple products. I’ve never bought one from the Apple Store.
Are There Even Lower Prices?
It is possible that Google Shopping won’t find every online retailer. You might want to try searching with the regular Google web search. This can be exhausting, however. You might not save much money, and spend hours trying to find the best deal.
I haven’t had much luck with Bing. Bing is a decent search engine, but I find that its shopping features don’t find as many results as Google. Regardless of Microsoft’s anti-Google campaign, Google Shopping is the best and easiest way to find the lowest price for any product.
Best Price for the iPhone
Unless you wish to purchase an unlocked iPhone, Google Shopping might not find you the best deal. It does return results for iPhones, however, you might get a better deal from your carrier. Most people already have a cell phone or smartphone. Most cell phone carriers offer deals on devices, in return for signing a two-year contract. They will typically offer reduced prices or even free phones, especially if you haven’t bought a phone in a few years. If you don’t want an unlocked iPhone, check with your current carrier. You might also get a good deal by switching carriers.
The two-year contract may seem intimidating, but you need service for your iPhone. For most people, buying an unlocked iPhone isn’t a good deal. The price of your iPhone is subsidized by the two years of service payments. If you buy an unlocked iPhone, you miss out on the savings and will have to pay for service anyway. If you are happy with your carrier, you will most likely get the best price on an iPhone by dealing with them directly.
Why Not Buy from Apple?
As mentioned, the Apple Store typically doesn’t have the best price. Sometimes they will offer gift certificates as a promotion. If you can get a $50 or $100 gift certificate with an iPad, Mac, or other Apple product, it might make it worthwhile. Typically, these offers are available during the Christmas shopping season — after Thanksgiving, starting on Black Friday.
Beware of Fake Retailers
Before you buy anything, make sure you are buying from an honest retailer. There are websites that look legitimate, but they are copies of other legitimate online retail websites. Their goal is to steal your money.
It’s easy to avoid fake online retailers. First, look at the URL of the site in the address bar. Make sure it is the correct site. The fake sites will look identical to a real site, but they cannot take the same URL. Google Shopping also lists “Trusted Stores”. These are well-known and trusted online retailers. These retailers are listed in Google Shopping search results. Some have a Google Trusted Store badge on their home page.
You can also click on the padlock icon in the address bar, if the URL begins with “https”. This is the SSL security certificate. Clicking on the padlock will show the certificate and confirm that the site is legitimate. Of course, a fake site can get a real SSL certificate, but it will have the URL of the fake site.
Finally, make all purchases with a credit card. If you are scammed by a fake site, you can report this to your credit card company, and you will get a refund.
NBC news covered this story and recommended calling the site’s customer service number. I don’t think this is a great idea. A fake site can have a fake customer service number. The website’s URL, or address, is the best way to confirm it’s real. If you are unfamiliar with the online retailer, do some research before you buy. Even if they are legitimate, they may have unscrupulous policies, such as high restocking fees or no returns.
Now that you know how to find the best price for the iPad, you can use this same method to shop for virtually anything. Google Shopping is a great way to find the lowest price. Just beware of shady online retailers and fake sites. Read reviews and confirm the website’s address to avoid these online shopping pitfalls. With a little knowledge and effort, online shopping is not only convenient, but will save you a bundle.