2012 marks the second year of Apple’s downgrade from a free iPod to a $100 gift card with the purchase of a Mac during back-to-school season. This year, they’ve added a $50 gift card with the purchase of an iPad.
Now, you may remember that Apple’s decision to stop giving away iPods didn’t go over too well last year. It seemed that Apple fans preferred receiving an actual free tangible item, especially since the dollar value of the promotion dropped from around $200 to a $100 gift card. After years of free iPod giveaways, the shift to gift cards felt like a shock. Even though all of us Mac users love the innovation and creativity that accompanies Apple, truth be told, we like stability too.
This year, Apple’s gift card can be redeemed at the iTunes Store, iOS App Store, Mac App Store, and iBookstore. It is available to students, faculty & staff and parents of college students buying a Mac or an iPad (certain computers don’t qualify). The screams of protest aren’t as loud this year, possibly because expectations were lower, or maybe because Apple did make a positive move by adding the $50 gift card to an iPad.
The purchasing process is relatively simple. Just go to the online Apple education store or visit an authorized campus store. If you use the online store you choose your school and start shopping. Apple basically uses the honor code for verification. If you prefer, you can visit an Apple store and show your school ID. Students and educators still receive their usual educational pricing in addition to the free $100 gift card.
- More generous offer than last year. They added a $50 gift card with an iPad purchase and offer the $100 gift card with select Macs.
- Apple allows parents of college students to use the discount
- Gift card is nice for students that prefer electronic textbooks
- Some people who still remember the free iPod offer feel like they aren’t getting as good a deal
- Apple’s verification system allows people who shouldn’t be receiving the offer to redeem it
All in all, this offering seems like a step up for Apple compared to last year. Of course, it would be a much smoother process if they found a reliable third party vendor (ahem!) that could help verify student status. This would ensure that customers who receive the back-to-school offer are indeed students. Reducing fraud and increasing their margins would allow Apple to offer back-to-school deals that get bloggers and journalist abuzz again but in a good way this time.