Apple’s Back to School Promotion has been an annual event since 2006 when it began offering special promotions and discounts to students, faculty, and staff. When buying your brand new Macbook, you could chose from a free printer or an iPod at point of purchase. When the coveted iPod Touch came out, it, too, was offered up as a freebie to help accessorize your new, expensive toy.
This year, the promotion runs from June 16 to September 20 and Apple has changed up its offer. Now, qualifying purchases will receive a $100 gift card that can be used at the Mac App Store, the App Store, iTunes, or with iBooks. If this is an effort to help students focus more on their education, I’m highly doubtful of its success.
Yes, that $100 would be great to help pay for a textbook in iBooks but really, what does everyone do when they buy a new computer? You play with it and fill it up with shit… your photos, music, movies, anything.
Not everyone thinks this is a smart deal, citing that over its lifetime, an iPod Touch would not only be more valuable to the consumer, but it would bring in more money because you’d buy stuff for the iPod. However, I think this is a genius move in strategy for Apple. Ultimately, many buy content on their computers and just transfer it over to their iPod Touchs, so there isn’t a whole lot of extra money to be made here.
Maybe Apple finally realized how many of these free iPod Touches are given to siblings, parents who don’t use them, or are sold via the black market and eBay. Most of us have iPods already, so the free iPod isn’t a super big deal and if you have an iPhone, then it’s really not that exciting. By offering $100 gift cards, Apple is guaranteed to see the return on the incentive because you can only use it on other Apple products.
To stay competitive, Best Buy will be offering the same deal except you get a $100 Best Buy gift card. With the announcements in June of iOS 5 and the now infamous iCloud coming, rumors are circulating about the promotional change’s ties with Apple’s overall marketing plan. Experts are anticipating that as excitement builds for iOS 5’s release, there will finally be some confirmation on the release of iPhone 5 in September.
They are seeing this change in promotional offerings for the Back to School campaign to be a positive indicator that along with iOS 5, there will be a long-awaited revamp of upgrades released for the iPod as well as Mac computers. Only time will tell if the promotional changes are foreshadowing omens for the future of Apple’s marketing structure and until then, take your pick: music/movies vs real cds/dvds/video games. Either way, wouldn’t it be nice if we could all get new Macs?