Tech giant Apple has ingrained itself into mainstream Black Friday sales. That’s not so much for its price-slashing, which has been rather mundane, but for the simple fact that it is the most valuable brand on Earth, according to Forbes recently. It’s hard to think of a company that has captured the continued attention of hundreds of millions around the world for so long.

Heading into this Black Friday, it appears Apple will again be near the top of most wish lists. Despite gloom and doom predictions, the company sold a record 33.8 million iPhones in the third quarter with impressive figures for other products, as well. All right, PS4 and Xbox will also be high on many lists, but they simply don’t have the customer base Apple currently has.

So, chances are someone, or perhaps everyone, on your list wants at least one Apple product this holiday season. Will Apple play nice and offer good deals? Here’s what to expect.

Better Deals at Third-Party Retailers

Unfortunately, the trend of modest discounts at the Apple Store will most likely continue this year. In better news, Apple products can still be bought for excellent deals at third-party retailers.

Stores like Best Buy, Target, and Wal-Mart, as well as office supplies stores like Staples, Office Max, and Office Depot, will be selling mainstream items this season such as the following:

  • Apple TV: $84.99 at Best Buy (currently $99 at Apple Store)
  • iPad Air: pay $479 and get a $100 gift card back at Target (currently $499 at Apple Store)
  • iPad Mini: pay $299 and get a $75 gift card back at Target (currently $299 at Apple Store)
  • iPhone 5C: pay $45 and get a $75 gift card back at Wal-Mart (currently $99 at Apple Store)
  • iPhone 5S: pay $189 and get a $75 gift card back at Wal-Mart (currently $199 at Apple Store)
  • MacBook Pro with Retina Display: $1,099 at Best Buy (currently $1,299 at Apple Store)

As you can see, you can save substantial amounts by purchasing Apple products from third-party retailers. Chances are slim that Apple will try to match any of those offers, so don’t hold out too much like for getting cheap products from the “big” Apple Store itself. And although their ads haven’t been released as of this writing, keep online retailers such as Amazon, MacMall, and Tiger Direct on your list if you’re not satisfied with the mentioned retailers, or would prefer to not worry about safety concerns during Black Friday.

But there is One Caveat…

With other retailers selling plenty of Apple’s products, Apple Stores have struggled as of late. Its most recent quarterly sales were down 3.3 percent after a 9.6 percent decline in the previous quarter. This trend is expected to continue, according to Apple Insider.

Perhaps declining sales in its own stores will cause Apple to think twice about its ho-hum Black Friday deals. There’s the possibility the company will cave to competitive pressures and attempt to roar back as a model retailer. After all, as long as competitors are offering lower prices, customers will continue to flock toward those.

In the long term, the competition could drive Apple out of the retail business altogether, so it will have to change its approach at some point to survive. Although chances are slim that it will do so this Black Friday, there’s always a possibility it will change course to generate positive press and holiday sales. So, if history repeats itself, the irony will continue: the best deals on Apple products will be found anywhere but at Apple Store.