Black Friday, traditionally the day after Thanksgiving, and Cyber Monday, traditionally the Monday following turkey day, have morphed into a roughly month-long promotional event in recent years during which the latest tech products can be had for short money. This time around, expect the iPhone 6 and maybe the 6 Plus smartphones to be the focus of many sales.
If you're hankering for one of the newer Apple smartphones and have held off this long, you might want to give it another couple of weeks and see what sorts of deals emerge.
Among the first: Sam's Club is said to be offering the 4.7-inch, 16GB iPhone 6 for $99, which is $100 off the usual price of the phone, with a two-year carrier contract. That sale is for one day only -- Nov. 15 -- and for in-store purchases only, with limited quantities per store. 64GB and 128GB models will also be available for $100 off the regular price.
Those deals are "really just a preview of what is to come for Thanksgiving and Black Friday," says Eric Jones of deal watching site BestBlackFriday.com. "That price is going to be widespread among stores carrying the iPhone...The iPhone 6 Plus will be discounted, but not nearly as much ($20-$40)."
Michael Brim, a Black Friday deals watcher at BFAds.net, says he is "pretty surprised at the discount offered by Sam's Club, especially given the continuing demand for the 6/6+."
But like Jones, he expects similar deals at other retailers on Black Friday. Last year, he says, Sam's matched the big box retailers' pricing of the free/$1 Galaxy S4 on BlackFriday. He adds: "We might see the 16GB iPhone 5S for free (continuing the $100 discount trend)."
Apple typically keeps a pretty tight rein on retailers' promotions, but they often find a way around these restrictions by bundling phones with gift cards and other goodies.
Apple itself, not known for marking down its products frequently, has gotten into the habit of offering Black Friday price breaks itself. It usually can be counted on to knock about $100 off Macs and $50 off iPads (it's less clear what it might offer in the way of iPhone savings).
We'll be rounding up some of the more eye-catching Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals for this season (here's a sampling of last year's deals).