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Apple to kick off holiday deals at midnight Friday

Expect discounts of 7% to 9% on Macs, iPads again this year, reports analyst

Apple will again offer discounts this week on "Black Friday," the mega shopping day after the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S.

A notice today on Apple's online store touted the one-day event, which is to start Friday, Nov. 23, at 12:01 a.m. PT on the Web, and at the company's retail outlets later that morning.

Apple did not disclose any details of the deals it will offer, but if it follows past practice, the company will reduce prices on select hardware by up to 10%.

Last year Apple discounted most Macs by $101, which represented cuts of between 4% and 10%, depending on the model. Apple also reduced the price of the then-current iPad 2 between 8% and 9%, the second year in the row that it discounted its tablet.

Brian White, an analyst with Topeka Capital Markets, told clients in a note today to expect the same this year.

"Apple offered discounts across the portfolio (not all products) that averaged ~7-9% last year and we expect similar discounting this year," wrote White. "We believe this holiday season will belong to Apple as the product lineup has never been stronger."

As White noted, Apple refreshed most of its product lines in September and October, introducing the iPhone 5, new iPods and iPads, a 13-in. MacBook Pro with a Retina display, and redesigned iMacs.

Although the iMacs were introduced, their debut has been seriously delayed, Apple said, by supply constraints. Last month Apple promised that the new 21.5-in. iMac would ship this month and the larger 27-in. iMac in December; the former is still not available.

Many of Apple's brick-and-mortar stores will open early on Friday, as they have in the past. U.S. stores have posted extended hours for the holidays, with most open on Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time; others will open at 8 a.m. local time.

It's unknown whether Apple will trim prices of the just-released iPad Mini and fourth-generation iPad. Although the company has discounted iPads before on Black Friday, this is the first year where it's launched new models close to the holidays.

If Apple does discount the iPad Mini 8% or 9%, as it did the iPad 2 last year, the sales prices for the least-expensive 16GB device would be $303 and $299, respectively. A 10% price cut would result in a 16GB iPad Mini selling for $296.

It's likely that other resellers will again match or beat Apple's Black Friday sales. In 2011, for instance, Amazon sold the entry-level 11-in. MacBook Air for $150 off the list price, a 15% discount.

No surprise: Apple plans to reprise its one-day Black Friday sales. But resellers will probably beta its best deals.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is [email protected].

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Read more about macintosh in Computerworld's Macintosh Topic Center.

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