Apple publicizes holiday ordering deadlines

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If you’re going to buy an Apple product this holiday season, you’ll be wise to plan your purchase in advance unless you can cope with broken hearts on post-Christmas deliveries. But holiday shoppers needn’t worry too much as Apple is feeling your pain.

This morning, the company has refreshed its U.S. Online Store with a handy guide specifying the important ordering deadlines for Macs, iPads, iPhones, iPods and accessories for delivery by December 24, 2013.

Deadlines vary from one product to another. For example, Apple’s Next Day Shipping is available for many, but not all iPads. Specifically, if you’re buying an iPad mini with Retina display, your best bet is to place an order with Apple by midnight on December 5 for delivery by December 24.

The full breakdown follows right below…

If you’re more of an iPad Air type of person, order your full-size tablet by December 9 for December 24 delivery. Apple is well-stocked with older iPad models so, for example, the cut-off date for both the iPad mini and iPad 2 orders is December 18, or December 17 if you’re planning on buying an iPad 2 with free laser engraving option.

Those in the market for an iPhone 5s must place their orders by December 12. Note that Apple does not offer Next Day Shipping for the flagship iPhone. For all iPhone models, ordering deadlines are “for qualifying customers only,” Apple warns.

For all products ordered through December 22 and later in the month Apple will treat you to free shipping with no minimum order value. Normally, free shipping requires a $50 minimum purchase.

Images top of post and below depict ordering deadlines.

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As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to buy built-to-order Macs as early as possible.

These systems are delivered straight from factories and usually take a day or two to assemble. “You can find out when your items will be delivered at checkout,” cautions Apple. Deadlines for custom Macs are for configurations that ship within 1-3 days.

The fine print adds:

Gift cards can be sent via 2-3 day shipping or Next Day Shipping by selecting the 2-3 day shipping or Next Day Shipping method and paying the additional charge.

iPhoto Print Products are not available for free shipping.

Next day shipping is not available on engraved iPads and iPods, custom Macs, iPad mini with Retina display and iPhone 5s.

As for Apple’s music player and set-top box, all iPod models and Apple TVs should be ordered by December 18 for delivery by December 24. For all other accessories, “order deadlines vary,” writes Apple – again, you’ll want to see delivery estimates at checkout.

All deadlines listed on Apple’s website assume standard shipping and are for in-stock products that ship within 24 hours. Holiday shoppers should also check out Apple’s web page listing gift ideas.

Just out of curiosity, what were you planning to buy from Apple this holiday season?