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Handhelds Businesses Media Music Technology (Apple) Apple Hardware Technology

Finding Holiday Discounts on iPods? 849

Posted by Cliff
from the getting-a-hold-of-a-real-bargain dept.
jeffy124 asks: "I was hoping to get an Apple iPod for Christmas. Alas, it's too expensive and out of the budget. So I'm forced into purchasing it for myself. Hoping to cash in on a holiday season bargain, I've been keeping my eye on the sales circulars that come in the newspaper. I've seen plenty of discounts for MP3 players of all kinds (Rio's, Dell's new HD-based player, etc), and the iPod has also shown up. Christmas does not yet seem very merry to me. They're always at the regular $299/399/499 price, never at a discount of any sort. You read that right, it's 'for sale' at the *regular* price. Stores guilty of this include Best Buy, Circuit City, Target, and CompUSA. Why do stores do this? How often? And does anyone know why Apple has been singled out while their competition has gotten their products discounted? Anyone know who *is* granting discounts on iPods this holiday season?"

"The other day came in the mail a 10% off coupon for various items at Best Buy, including 'MP3 Players' as indicated on the front of slip. Hoping this was how I was gonna get that discount, I set aside time this weekend to drive to Delaware in order to skip out on my local state sales tax too. I turned the coupon over, and in the legal disclaimer was the phrase 'Excludes Apple iPod Players.' Needless to say, a Merry Christmas is still aways off."

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Finding Holiday Discounts on iPods?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:11PM (#7663528)
    ...is after christmas. That is when all the best bargains are found.
  • by websensei (84861) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:12PM (#7663533) Journal
    because they can. (boring).

    next issue?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:20PM (#7663668)
      The parent got modded up as flamebait, but the statement is in fact true. There IS Apple price fixing for it's authorized resellers.

      I work at an Apple Authorized Reseller in Los Angeles, and Apple has made it pretty clear that if we drop the price by more than $50, we aren't going to be an authorized reseller much longer.

      Personally, I think it's terrible, because there is quite a profit made on Apple hardware by us, particularly G5 desktop systems, and iPods.

      Basically, we could knock a good 74-100$ off the iPod without losing money. And I think if we did such a thing, we'd get a pretty healthy customer base very quickly.
      • by Matthaeus (156071) on Monday December 08, 2003 @09:36PM (#7665194) Homepage
        Parent didn't just mean Apple. Retail stores will often advertise their price without discounting it any (the corporate bullshit version is that their prices are already so low that they can't really go any lower). I work retail at one of the companies mentioned in the article and I get asked at least once a week why they do that sort of stuff. Most people just don't notice, and figure that if it's in the circular, it must be cheaper.

        In a nutshell, it's corporations exploiting the fact that most sheeple don't think. I say, more power to them.
    • by YouHaveSnail (202852) on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:47PM (#7665923)
      From what I understand, Apple does essentially dictate the price. But not just because they can... after all, you'd think that if they could make the same dough per unit while consumers paid less, they'd do it, right? But it's more complicated than that, and there are a few reasons that keeping the price of a particular piece of hardware within a few bucks anywhere you go is attractive to Apple, and believe it or not, beneficial in some ways to customers.

      First, many Apple products are high margin items for retailers. As long as that's true, plenty of retailers will carry Apple products, and Apple has a decent shot at increasing both market share and mind share. If Apple lets the price float, retailers' profits on Apple hardware suddenly drop close to zero, and few retailers will continue to carry Apple stuff.

      Second, those high margins give Apple a lot of leverage with retailers. Apple needs to ensure that the way its products are presented reflect well on the brand. The "store within a store" concept that you see at CompUSA and others is one example of that. That all costs money. The high margins are Apple's carrot, and the threat of losing Apple authorized reseller status is Apple's stick in the effort to enforce its requirements.

      Third, consistant pricing lets consumers buy without worrying that they're missing out on some great deal. If you want an iPod, you go out and buy one at whatever place you like the best or is most convenient for you. It doesn't matter (much) whether you buy at the Apple store or from Amazon or from CompUSA or Best Buy or Circuit City.

      Fourth, most people perceive price as an indication of quality. A $300 music player must work better and do more than one that costs $130. (And in the case of the iPod, Apple can back this up: iPod is a better music player than the $130 model in every way other than price.)

      Fifth, the market that Apple is clearly targetting with iPod is that segment that doesn't mind paying a premium for a device that works well. These are the same people that might next buy an iMac or a PowerBook or a G5. As much as iPod has been a big hit for Apple, I have to believe that its most important effect has been to introduce Apple to new customers.

      What it comes down to is that dropping the margins on iPod gets Apple nothing but cheaper customers, less control over retailers, lower customer perception of quality, and less distribution. Why would they do that?
    • by morganjharvey (638479) on Tuesday December 09, 2003 @12:55AM (#7666177)
      Pretend for just a moment that we were talking about cars.
      Now, let's take a BMW sedan that sells for what, about $35,000? Compare it to, say, a Kia sedan that sells for about $20,000. They're both cars, and yet one costs $15,000 more than the other one... And I'm pretty sure that both of them have quite large restrictions on when their dealers can discount certain items.
      But why? Both have engines that make you go forward and reverse, steering, etc.. But one's a luxury model. Leather seats, nifty spiffy in-dash computer, all that kind of good stuff. Do you need it? Probably not. Is it something that could make your drive a little more pleasant? Yeah, maybe.
      Now, let's look at the iPod. Do you need the nifty Apple-style design, the metalic casing, the laser engraving, etc.? No. Are they fun/nice to have? Yeah, if you're a person who enjoys things like good design. But, the same way with the car, it's not for everybody. These are also usually features that cost extra. But I can guarantee you that apple isn't the only one dictating prices on their mp3 players.
  • by Cyno01 (573917) <Cyno01@hotmail.com> on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:12PM (#7663538) Homepage
    Until they day after you buy one, Apple will annouce price breaks of $50-$100 and new larger capacity models.
    • Re:Just wait... (Score:5, Informative)

      by rworne (538610) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:31PM (#7663784) Homepage
      Then buy it via Apple or the Apple store. They offer a 14-day price protection policy for just this very reason.

      BB, CC and their ilk will beat prices or match them. I have never had a problem getting them to match a price up to 30 days from the purchase date.

      • Best discount I found:

        Nomad Zen NX [dealtime.co.uk] [not a commission link]

        50% more storage than the 20GB iPod, at 2/3 of the price. There's a 60GB version, at less than the cost of a 30Gb iPod.

        It's got replaceable batteries, and unlike the iPod, you don't have to remortgage your house to buy a replacement battery. 14 hour claimed battery life. (that's between charges, not 14 hours until you need a new one ;-)

        It's got a big-screen, it's small, light, has a charger. No GNU support. No OGG. No remote control.
        • by tdemark (512406) on Monday December 08, 2003 @08:09PM (#7664621) Homepage
          It's got replaceable batteries, and unlike the iPod, you don't have to remortgage your house to buy a replacement battery.

          If you have to get a loan for $49 [ipodbattery.com], you probably shouldn't buy an iPod.

          Or any MP3 player for that matter.

          - Tony
        • Hey, mod this post up. (I don't see how it's off topic people!!) If apple isn't going to cut prices, another competitor will - and sounds like they did. The Zen isn't made by Apple, and all the Apple "loyalists" will ignore it as a result, but for the average consumer, this product competes very nicely. The iPod is built well, very well that is, but with the battery problems it has, the Zen has that advantage of removeable batteries and a lower cost. The only thing the Zen doesn't do is sync up with iTu
        • by linuxguy (98493) on Monday December 08, 2003 @11:04PM (#7665704) Homepage

          I have about 5 of their products, including a
          hard drive based MP3 player. What a waste of
          money. I am not buy another Creative product.

          I have owned an Apple ipod also. Nice mp3 mplayer.
          I am loving my new Rio Karma though.
      • by Dascen (19119) on Tuesday December 09, 2003 @12:17AM (#7666017)

        Then buy it via Apple or the Apple store. They offer a 14-day price protection policy for just this very reason.

        I think you missed the point. If you got the 14 day price protection, the price would drop on the 15th. Thats how it works.
    • by Pyrosophy (259529) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:54PM (#7664025)
      I bought mine and the same thing happened, but then I noticed my school's bookstore had it for 25% off. Apparently there is an education discount on these suckers.

      So get yourself to your local college bookstore and either find an oblivious checkout clerk or contact a friend who has a friend who is still in college.

      You save at least $40.
    • Shop at Best Buy (Score:5, Informative)

      by jonahark (649146) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:59PM (#7664066)
      Check for iPods that are "Open Box." They are usually returned by someone who upgrades or downgrades size. They can't be sold as new, so must be marked down. Just bought a 20GB this past weekend - $339. Added in the 4-year Best Buy warranty for $40 to cover the battery and basically anything else that goes bad within 4 years. Also persuaded a fellow customer to take the iPod over the Nomad, even though it still cost him more and had a smaller hard disk. I don't think that Apple needs to drop prices to increase demand.
      • best buy warranty (Score:4, Informative)

        by citmanual (2002) on Monday December 08, 2003 @07:58PM (#7664537)
        It used to be a little known clause in Best Buy's store policies that any item purchased as Open Box was given a free 4 year warranty. A lot of times the sales guys would try not to give it out, but when reminded of the policy, they would.

        Bought a tv, vcr, stereo, speakers, car gear of the same and a couple other random things that way from them a few years back. Never got a chance to use the warranties.

      • Good Job (Score:4, Informative)

        by geekoid (135745) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `dnaltropnidad'> on Monday December 08, 2003 @08:02PM (#7664562) Homepage Journal
        Most people will scoff at you for getting the extended warranty. I have found it is a good deal on some very specific items.

        The iPod is a great example, do to the cost of replacing the battery.

        Full computer systems are also worth it. The only IBM clone I ever bought, I had an extended warrenty 5 years, 50 bucks. after 4 years, the monitor went, they shipped me a new one, the even paid postage. A month later my mobo died, the sent mye a new one, and a substantially beefer proc. and RAM. Basically upgraded my complete system for 50 bucks.

        All this assumes a reasonable price one the extended warrenty, naturally.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The day after Thanksgiving Apple retail stores and the Apple online stores had iPods at 10% off for all buyers.

      Apple discounted them on the busiest shopping day of the year. What more do you want?
  • Blame Apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EricWright (16803) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:12PM (#7663541) Journal
    AFAIK, Apple is the one keeping prices up. If you look at third party Mac sellers, they will often give you a memory upgrade, HD increase, free accessories, etc., but almost never a price break. My guess would be that Apple exerts similar influence regarding price controls of other product lines, too.

    If you want a cheaper ipod, your best bet is most likely going to be eBay.
    • Re:Blame Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pizzaman100 (588500) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:22PM (#7663690) Journal
      AFAIK, Apple is the one keeping prices up.

      Yeah, this is pretty common. Microsoft does this all the time with their retail software and the X-BOX.

      What annoys me Mail-In-Rebates. It seems like all of the advertized prices for Best Buy, Comp-USA, Staples, yada yada, require rebates. Some require two or more. Rebates suck because you have pay up front, go to the trouble of mailing them in, and then you have to wait 4-6 weeks and hope. Plus you get nailed for the full price on the sales tax.

    • On Amazon, they have them for 15-25 bucks cheaper than the standard price, but to see the price you need to add one to your shopping cart. The obvious explanation is that they're legally prevented from advertising the discounted price.

      Either that or they're hoping to cash in on dumb hipster-wannabes who forget to remove it from their cart.
    • Re:Blame Apple (Score:3, Informative)

      by Leto2 (113578)
      Bose does the same thing, no matter where you buy your noise-reduction (QuietComfort) headphones, they're always, always $299.
  • Ebay? (Score:5, Informative)

    by aero6dof (415422) <aero6dof@yahoo.com> on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:13PM (#7663543) Homepage
    ;) of course, you may find yourself needing to replace a battery.
  • by Space cowboy (13680) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:13PM (#7663544) Journal
    I can't believe there isn't some collusion between the retailers and the manufacturers over Xmas, which has an effect on the 'sale' price. Perhaps Apple said 'No'.

    I don't think it's morally right to say that a product is 'on sale' unless there's been a reduction in price though - at least in the UK, there must have been an immediately preceding period at which the product was priced higher for it to be marketed as at a 'sale' price...

    Simon.
    • by Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:16PM (#7663591) Homepage Journal
      But a sale merely means that objects are being sold. "New sale price" means that I am selling a product for a new price. "Sale price" merely means that the cost of the product in my sale (which I have every day, as the operator of a store - hypothetically speaking) is this price. In fact, "new sale price" doesn't even imply that the price is lower than it was previously.

      I think people forget that any time any person or business sells anything, they are having a sale. "Sale" has come to take on the meaning of reduced prices but I don't think people's inability to recall the original meaning of words needs to be legislated.

      • by Malc (1751) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:40PM (#7663893)
        Oh come on, don't be so obtuse. We all know that a shop says it's having a sale to indicate that it's selling things at a discount from their normally selling price. In N. America, shops try to play on this with psychology by having continuous sales... they're trying to convince buyers that there's currently a discount and if they don't hurry they will lose out. Of course, as the sales seem to go on all the time, they're not really having a sale. The other sly practice is to rotate the sale through different items from week to week in the hope of catching a consumer by their unawares.
      • Sale (in French) means dirty. The French offered a discount on dirty (dent and ding) items and then the English picked up on the word. Or it's just a funny anecdote I just pulled out of my ass
        • by spasm (79260) on Monday December 08, 2003 @09:05PM (#7664991) Homepage
          no joy. from the OED:

          1. a. The action or an act of selling or making over to another for a price; the exchange of a commodity for money or other valuable consideration. Also, with qualification: (Ready, slow, etc.) disposal of goods for money; opportunity of selling.

          etmology: late OE. sala, prob. a. ON. sala wk. fem. (ON. had also sal neut.) = OHG. sala, MHG. sale, sal str. fem., f. root sal- of *saljan to SELL.

          So it's from old english or old norse root words meaning 'to sell'. Your story is more fun though : )

  • by Dixie_Flatline (5077) <vincent DOT jan DOT goh AT gmail DOT com> on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:13PM (#7663546) Homepage
    Find someone that's willing to buy it for you through their higher education discount. In Canada, a $439 10GB iPod goes for about $379 if you use an educational discount, if I recall correctly.
  • Price Limits (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sirmikester (634831) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:13PM (#7663552) Homepage Journal
    I bet it sort of works like the Gamecube price. The company selling the product sets an artifical price limit. In order to be able to sell the product you have to sign a contract agreeing to the price point. So best buy must have signed some sort of agreement with apple and it cannot lower the price. Simple.
  • by BonrHanzon (411856) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:13PM (#7663553)
    Just because it's listed in a circular doesn't mean that there's any sale price. We are just conditioned to believe that.
    I haven't seen ipods for anything less than MSRP at any B&M either, probably due to the demand being so high.
  • by BortQ (468164) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:14PM (#7663557) Homepage Journal
    Those familiar with Apple products will tell you that discounts are few and far between. I believe it has to do with Apple's unique relationship with distributors. Stores don't have as much leeway to discount Apple stuff as they do with other brands.

    The only time you will find Apple products for sale is when Apple passes along end-of-life discounts. (i.e. right before the new model comes out)

  • by bconway (63464) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:14PM (#7663567) Homepage
    I recently upgraded from my iPod to the Rio Karma, and it is THE iPod killer. More reviews can be found here: article [slashdot.org].
  • Capitalism 101 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoraLives (622001) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:15PM (#7663577)
    Why do stores do this?

    To make money.

    How often?

    As long as the market will bear.

  • Supply and Demand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moehoward (668736) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:15PM (#7663583)
    Supply and demand, baby. Deal with it. You don't WANT an iPod competitor. You want an iPod. Don't try to pass the competitors off as equivalent and then bitch about a price differece. Go buy the competitor if you don't like it.

    Step 1) Create product
    Step 2) Sell it at market price based on supply and demand
    Step 3) Profit

    It's so easy, even Microsoft can do it!
  • What about a refurb? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kranium (211344) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:15PM (#7663585)
    Have you considered a refurb unit? Checkout the Apple Store [apple.com] and look for the big red "SAVE" tag on the left. I used a refurbished iBook for quite a while and it never gave me any trouble..
  • resellers are forced (Score:5, Informative)

    by sublime (38124) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:15PM (#7663586)
    I used to work for Apple, and I know first hand that Apple forces resellers to their pricing structure.. You won't find any apple products for less than they sell for at the apple store.
  • Why not a Rio Karma? (Score:3, Informative)

    by jkeyes (243984) * on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:16PM (#7663592) Journal
    You can find them for about here [shopharmony.com] for $289 and there's a fun $20 rebate available also. So you can get it for $269 AR and there is also free shipping. So it's below the iPod it's 20 GB AND it supports Ogg and FLAC. It also has unofficial support for Linux so you lose the apple 'coolness' but your pocketbook and open source will thank you!
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:16PM (#7663597)
    Why do stores do this? How often? And does anyone know why Apple has been singled out while their competition has gotten their products discounted?

    Because Apple does not allow you to sell Apple products below the pricing offered by Apple themselves.

    Apple does, however, let you bundle things- so your best bet is to look for the best bundle(free case etc). Smalldog and MacConnection are among several catalog companies who regularly do these deals, because it's the only way to be competitive(and not a terribly good one, either.)

    Do get a case; mine was scratched all over within a half week, and I was excruciatingly careful with it. Also, DO get an extended warranty, and DON'T GET IT FROM APPLE, it's shorter and MORE expensive than Best Buy's(for example.)

    FYI- don't bother looking for an iTrip. I placed my order two months ago with Griffin and they have yet to ship me mine. It's getting cancelled tomorrow, I'm fed up of waiting, and I hear the FM adapters all suck anyway.

  • by Osrin (599427) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:17PM (#7663605) Homepage
    Your scenario is driven by demand, my local CompUSA is generally out of stock of them, not by choice but because demand is so high.

    They're maintaining the price and pushing a huge advertising campaign, it's a good strategy, higher price & lower volume = bigger profit & lower manufacturing cost.
  • Me too (Score:3, Informative)

    by slashdoter (151641) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:17PM (#7663611) Homepage
    I ran into the exact same problem, it looks like Apple is doing thier best to control the price while they think they are on top. In other words just cashing in as long as they can. In the end I bought a dell DJ for my brother, it's the same in almost every regard ( cept geek value, and it doesn't matter to him he's high on jock value) except it's price (lower at dell) and it's battery life (twice as long). In the end Dell won out and it's already here.

    If you don't like apple's game do as I did, don't play it.

  • by kwerle (39371) <kurt@CircleW.org> on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:17PM (#7663614) Homepage Journal
    ...They're always at the regular $299/399/499 price...

    The other day came in the mail a 10% off coupon for various items at Best Buy, including 'MP3 Players' .. 'Excludes Apple iPod Players.' Needless to say, a Merry Christmas is still aways off.


    Looks like "still a ways off" is $29.90 .

    Finally:
    http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/ WebObjects/A ppleStore.woa/70702/wo/Lh7my7TA0KCr3f9EhEZxWPiry53 /0.0.7.1.0.5.13.0.3.0.0.0.0.3.1.1.0?51,37

    (special deals page):
    Refurb iPod 10GB (Mac & Windows) Dock not included: $229.

    You didn't look very hard, did you?
  • Wild conjecture, but maybe it's just because they have such a strong brand name (kid wants an *iPod* for xmas, not an mp3 player) that they feel that their product is unique and that sales wouldn't drastically increase if they cut their prices (or conversely sales wouldn't drop that much if they kept prices high, because their customers don't see the cheapo competing mp3 players as valid substitutes for an iPod.)

    Kinda like toy fads -- what kid would want to accept a cheap knockoff "Fondle Me Herbert" doll when all their little pals have "Tickle Me Elmos"? :P

    -fren
  • They don't need to (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alcimedes (398213) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:17PM (#7663619)
    You don't put your product on sale unless you have some need to put it on sale.

    They have marketshare, and they have a product that's selling like mad. Why lower the price when people are buying as many as you can make anyway?

  • - - redundant - - (Score:5, Informative)

    by jafac (1449) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:19PM (#7663646) Homepage
    It's called Minimum Advertised Price.

    Apple sets it. You can't re-sell Apple products below this set level. Nobody can.
    Yes, Apple has been sued for this. (not successfully IIRC).
    In fact, Apple HAS successfully sued resellers for selling under MAP. They put some of them out of business - they were called "Grey-market" MACs, they were bought overseas, and sold into the US market. (some people ended up frying the power supplies because they were set to 240 instead of 120).

    Other industries have also been sued for MAP, and gotten their asses handed to them. But since Apple is *NOT* a monopoly, they can get away with it. Don't like it? Buy a competitor's product.
  • by supertbone (624441) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:19PM (#7663651)
    if you buy a VW bug
  • by b17bmbr (608864) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:19PM (#7663655)
    i am in the market for a digital camera. no matter where you go, they are all the same price. exactly the same price. it's been afew years since i worked retail, but this is a defense mechanism of sorts. one, since nobody is the low price leader, and everybody price matches, then nobody gets screwed, everybody sells some. besides, that way, store A doesn't run out, while store B gets screwed, which also pisses off customers. and it encourages people to buy now, because they ain't gonna find it cheaper next door. it also allows the stores to add on their own deals and warranties. this is where they make the big bucks. you even see this trend with cars. the price is the price. the real difference is in service. i for one will not shop in best buy, etc., because their sales drones don't know shit. i would rather go to ritz camera, and i know that the price is the same. manufacturers have been trying to do this for some time. there was a famous case a number of years ago with browning shotguns. they wanted all dealers to price them the same. went to court and lost. but, if you look at the hardware market, the markup is almost nil. as for ipods, you bet your ass that if you sell it for $1 less than apple without their approval, you'll never get another shipment. macmall sells their hardware for $5 less, but i guess they got a deal from apple. and besides,l they always throw more memory, etc., in with the deal. just don't expect things to change. and truthfully, i think customers like it better. if you want a good deal, go to ebay.
  • The Apple brand (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jetkust (596906) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:21PM (#7663675)
    Part of Apple's pricing strategy is that "it cost's more, so it must be good.", backed up with Apple's general image of creating superior products. I just wonder what will happen if Apple ever releases a $200 or $300 pc. Complete Mayham?!?
  • by fatwreckfan (322865) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:23PM (#7663694)
    If you're worried about price, why not look at other cheaper options? I have a Creative Zen [nomadworld.com] which was much cheaper than an iPod, with considerably more storage. Also, the iRiver iHP-120 [iriveramerica.com] looks amazing. Check around for reviews, and you'll find that both of these products are held in high regard. Don't fall for the Apple hype!
  • by msimm (580077) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:24PM (#7663710) Homepage
    If your looking at getting the best price possible you'd do well to wait until the end of the busiest buying season of the year.
  • "For Sale" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RandyF (588707) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:27PM (#7663746) Journal
    You've got to remember the oldest trick in the salesman's book: "For Sale" or "On Sale" only refers to the fact that they are selling it, not that it is discounted.

    You've also got to remember that Apple is plenty proud of their products and doesn't tend to discount much.

  • by supabeast! (84658) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:33PM (#7663812)
    Apple hardware prices are damned-near set in stone. This is because, unlike most manufacturers, Apple does not head out looking for the best price on manufacturing, design, support, etc.. Apple picks better business partners, who pay higher wages to employees. So to keep profit margins high, Apple locks its prices pretty high.

    Also, don't forget that Apple has its own retail and online stores, because very few retailers have ever done a good job at selling Apple hardware. Keeping those stores profitable is key to keeping the company aflot. The last thing Apple wants is for everyone with an Apple store and a Best Buy near home to go get Apple hardware at Best Buy at a discount.
  • by spotter (5662) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:34PM (#7663813)
    Dell has discounts in their S&P store all the time. Dell sells IPods. 2+2 = 4

    Dell had a 20% off all purchases in their home store coupon this past summer, so I was able to get my 30GB ipod for $400 w/ no tax ($500 * .8). If the coupon is only good at the small business store, then you'll most likely have to pay sales tax (small possibility at home store as well)

  • by Ephemeriis (315124) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:35PM (#7663834)
    Alright, maybe I should just keep my mouth shut... But I work retail (at EB) and this has always been an annoyance - especially over the holidays.

    On sale means that items are being sold...for example, "On sale now!" means that the product is currently available in stores for your purchase. Not necessarily that it is available at a special, lower price.

    Yes, I realize that "on sale" can also mean that you've got a new, temporarily lower price...but it doesn't have to.

    We get signs up all the time for new games and products that say "on sale now", and then people get upset when we're charging the same price as our competitors.

    yrs,
    Ephemeriis
  • by banks (205655) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:36PM (#7663843) Homepage
    At the risk of being modded redundant, a more indepth explanation of this phenomenon:


    What you are seeing is an example of "price control." Price control is a relatively common practice, especially for companies that create higher-end products and have limited (or no) direct-to-customer distribution. Essentially, Apple has the ultimate discretion as to which retailers it will sell iPods too. In order to qualify to carry an iPod, that retailer, be it Best Buy, Circuit City, or any other, must enter into a binding agreement with Apple as to the pricing of the unit. Under that agreement, discounting of the units is generally either completely disallowed, or allowed only with manufacturer approval. Thus, the Best Buys and Circuit City stores HAVE to sell the iPod at whatever price Apple tells them to.


    Where it starts to get shady is when a retailer that hasn't signed a price control agreement with the manufacturer gets their hands on the price controlled units, and starts selling them at a price below the manufacturer's price point. This generally happens when a retailer that has an agreement with the manufacturer unloads some overstock or demo units, when a retailer goes bankrupt, or when a shipment "falls off of a truck." Many manufacturers that use price controls get very, very unhappy when this happens. Most price controlling manufacturers will cut off sales of product to retailers that sell overstock to discounters. This can lead to shady, under-the-table dealing, units with serial numbers ground off so the manufacturer can't trace who sold it to whom, and general malaise. Most manufacturers won't honor the warranties on items purchase through third-party discounters.


    If you think Apple's price controls are nasty, take a look at the high-end watch world. Companies like Rolex won't even allow retailers to advertise the prices of their watches AT ALL. Take a look at a jeweler's ad in the newspaper for Rolexes- they'll always say something to the effect of "call or visit for pricing." Watch companies are also well known for forbidding internet sales. And they put out propaganda to the effect that all watches sold by discounters are counterfeit.


    It's the manufacturer's world. We're just here to consume.

  • Refurbs (Score:3, Informative)

    by blackmonday (607916) * on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:39PM (#7663886) Homepage
    Apple sells refurbs on their "special deals" section of the store.apple.com site. They are discounted, but come in plain packaging, not the cool box you get on a new one. Didn't matter to me.

    I bought a 10gb iPod refurbed for 249 a while ago. The unit was not cosmetically refurbished. There were scratches and dings on it. I had to return it once for further repair. Still, I saved a few bucks and now the unit is OK.

    Just know that a refurb may not be a walk in the park, and if it's a gift for someone else, they may get a very used-looking one.
  • Apple Discounts (Score:3, Informative)

    by MachineShedFred (621896) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:42PM (#7663912) Journal
    Here you go:

    1. Education Discounts - Find a kid or a teacher.
    2. Apple Consultants Network - http://consultants.apple.com
    3. Apple Employees - that's some good action if you can get the hookup. I'd rather not say much about that for fear of an Apple Lawyer shoving a sock down my throat. (It's where I scored my iPod from, and I'm a certified ACN member)
    4. CompUSA employees - they can buy at CompUSA's cost.

    The discounts are out there, you just may have to put yourself in indentured servitude or buy a bunch of beer for someone (especially in the case of the CompUSA employee, Apple employee, or the kid).
  • by ljavelin (41345) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:43PM (#7663921)
    I bought a 10gb model at Target.

    I signed up for the Target credit card and got an instant 10% off. That saved me $30 right there.

    Then they gave me a smart card reader, and another 10% off my next credit card purchase, plus another 10% off any on-line purchase.

    Wow. I'm done. It was easy, and to be honest I haven't used their card since. Maybe I'll start using it if my current "favorite" card continues to screw me with their crazy rules.
  • by MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:44PM (#7663933)
    Join AudibleListener for 12 months and get an iPod for $100 less [audible.com]. Naturally you'll spend $14.95 per month on the AudibleListener account for 12 months, but you'll also get one audio magazine, newspaper or radio program plus one audiobook each month. What, you expect something for nothing?

    Oh yeah. Tell 'em sdmb sent you.
  • by Malc (1751) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:45PM (#7663938)
    Why are you letting society put so much pressure on you? You're running around like a headless chicken trying to get something that you can't really afford. Don't let society do this to you, and you will be so much happier. If you really are going to find a use for an MP3 player, get a cheaper one and spend the money you saved doing something social with your family/friends. If they shun or pressurize you for not having the coolest gadget, that's their problem not yours, and they're probably not worth having as friends (family's another issue).
  • by mschuyler (197441) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:50PM (#7663992) Homepage Journal
    Reminds me of my neighbor, Richard Abrams, who is in the paper distribution business (which is huge). He owns West Coast Paper company. His big, yellow trucks ply I-5 all ove rthe place. I was buying for my org, so I asked Dick for a discount.

    "Sure!" he said. "How big a discount do you want?"

    "You mean I get to choose?" I asked. Wow! Nice neighbor. It must pay to know people in high places.

    "Sure!" he said again. "You tell me what discount you want, then I'll tell you the retail price!"

    Guess there's a reason he's still in business.
  • by UpLateDrinkingCoffee (605179) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:50PM (#7663993)
    Keep an eye out for Dell's stackable coupons... they often have $35 off $350 and $45 off $450 pretty regularly. Many times, they will have these in addition to a blanket %10 off all peripherals. As of a few months ago, they were not excluding the iPod although they will occasionally exclude some items. Keep an eye on this [techbargains.com] site, as they usually report any Dell deals on a regular basis.
  • by vwjeff (709903) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:53PM (#7664014)
    Apple has always controlled prices on their products even if you do not buy the product directly from Apple. You would think that Apple would sell more iPods if they allowed their stores to control pricing however that could undercut Apple's direct buyer market. They control hardware, software, and prices which can be positive and negative depending on how you view Apple.
  • by teridon (139550) on Monday December 08, 2003 @06:58PM (#7664058) Homepage
    The Apple Federal Store [apple.com] offers discounts of $30, $40, and $50 on the 10-, 20-, and 40-GB models respectively.
  • Great deal! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dimer0 (461593) on Monday December 08, 2003 @07:00PM (#7664071)
    I know this probably won't happen for many of you, but I swear this to be the truth..

    I sent my wife up to Best Buy when they were having their 10% off thing this weekend. I already saw on the coupon it said mp3 players 10% off (except Ipods). I told her to take it anyways, but then she lost it, ah well - so she did take the double-your-best-buy-reward-zone coupon.

    She picked up the 40G ipod, a armband case or whatever, and the extended service plan.

    At the register, she gave them her coupon, and the girl working the register said "Do you have your 10% off coupon as well?", and my wife said she didn't, so the girl went to a couple other registers to find one!!! She let it go through, too.

    And, my wife doesn't know what happened after that, but she started talking, walked away, and found another 10% off coupon.

    So, everything we bought only cost about $520 after tax. Ahhh.. And I was going to be content getting my 800,000 reward zone points. :-)

  • by Sebby (238625) on Monday December 08, 2003 @07:06PM (#7664112)
    Rebates exist to drive up sales of a product. Since the iPod is already selling very well, and is still in high demand, there's no point for Apple/Resellers to offer a discount.

  • by mgbastard (612419) on Monday December 08, 2003 @07:21PM (#7664264)

    A longtime mac bloggish site is linking to amazon, and offering actual discounts on a variety of apple hardware. Including the iPod.

    Click on over to MacInTouch [macintouch.com] for a little bit off. It's linked off towards the bottom of the home page. It's not a huge discount, but the only one I've seen:

    iPod 10GB: $284.05
    iPod 20GB: $379.05
    iPod 40GB: $474.05

  • I Just Asked Froogle (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zastrossi (603991) on Monday December 08, 2003 @07:26PM (#7664306) Homepage
    I just asked Froogle, Google's product search engine, and it offered these results [google.com] for a 40 GB unit. The best price on a new iPod it found was $464.00 [yahoo.com], which is about 10% off.

    http://www.darrenbarefoot.com [darrenbarefoot.com]
    Words. Words. Words.
  • by blankmange (571591) on Monday December 08, 2003 @07:33PM (#7664367)
    As I read the postings here, one theme keeps coming up -- "I can't believe Apple (or any other corporation) would sttop to price fixing on a popular consumable."

    Please - why the shock and surprise? Apple doesn't have to lower the price, for Christmas or any other reason. The ipod is a hot item - for whatever reason. Apple will get the sales, whether or not the 1/2 dozen of you who think that they should lower the price or you just won't buy one continue to have your little coniptions....

    Apple has very strict price points they sell and have their resellers sell their products. Best Buy/Circuit City/whoever contractually cannot lower the price without Apple's say-so.

    So suck it up: pay the man or don't .... and get on with your lives already...
  • Sooooo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by /dev/trash (182850) on Monday December 08, 2003 @08:03PM (#7664571) Homepage Journal
    Celebrating the birth of Christ or giving gifts or whatever this season is supposed to mean, actually means nothing because you can't afford an iPod?
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Monday December 08, 2003 @08:13PM (#7664650) Journal
    I just bought myself a 40GB iPod as my big Xmas gift to myself. Yeah, I was bummed that I missed the day after Thanksgiving sale Apple was running -- but then again, that was also a horrendous day to try doing any shopping. All the crowds and hassles with parking, waiting in lines, etc. probably made it worth waiting and paying the extra 10%.

    Another little tip I've heard, though, is to find a buddy working at a CompUSA store. Supposedly, their employee discounts on Apple products (of all types) come pretty close to the same thing as Apple's educational discounts. One of them should be able to buy you an iPod for at least $40 off or so.

    Also, don't forget, Apple offers a number of discounts similar to the "educational discount". They have a lesser-known military discount, and a discount for govt. employees too. So you should be able to find *someone* who qualifies for one of those.....

    In the grand scheme of things though, I figure an iPod is a pretty pricy little toy, any way you look at it - and if I was going to take the plunge and buy it, I'm not going to incur a bunch of extra hassle just to save less than $50 on the thing. I just paid what they were asking, got my instant gratification, and figure I'll make up for it by avoiding the urge many folks seem to have to waste money on useless iPod accessories (leather cases and the like).
  • by djupedal (584558) on Monday December 08, 2003 @09:04PM (#7664989)
    SmallDog.com [smalldog.com] - Good people...great prices and service.

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. -- Albert Einstein

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