Apple today cut Mac prices up to 10% in a repeat of the last two years' stingy "Black Friday" deals, which authorized resellers again trumped.
For the second year in a row, Apple also sold the iPad at a discount.
Apple's one-day sale reduced most Mac prices by $101, a 10% cut on the entry-level 11-in. MacBook Air, which sold for $898 on Friday. The across-the-board $101 translated into discounts of 6%-8% for 13-in. MacBook Airs, 4%-8% for MacBook Pros and 5%-8% for iMacs.
The Mac Mini and the Mac Pro were not included in the deals.
Apple's Mac discount was identical to those of the last two years' Black Friday sales, although unlike in 2010, Apple did not exclude its lowest-priced notebooks this year.
"The most popular Apple Mac product this holiday season will be the MacBook Air," predicted analyst Brian White of Ticonderoga Securities, in a message to clients today.
The iPad 2 was reduced between $41 and $61 depending on the model, a discount of between 8% and 9%, and for the priciest iPads, slightly more than in 2010. Apple also dropped the price of the iPod Touch between $21 and $41, and cut prices for the iPod Nano by $11.
Apple's prices were good at both its online and brick-and-mortar stores through the day. Many of the latter opened at 6 a.m. local time in the U.S., several hours earlier than usual.
Some rival online sellers, however, beat Apple's sale prices.
Amazon.com, for example, listed the least-expensive 11-in. MacBook Air at $849.99 and the entry-level 21.5-in. iMac for $1,049.99.
Apple also discounted several software packages today, including the three-license edition of Microsoft's Office for Mac Home & Student 2011, which was priced at $128. But others beat Apple's sales price on that product, too: Amazon listed the application suite at $99.99, or 33% below list.
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 e-mail address is email@example.com.