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Apple's back-to-school deal gets download focus

Instead of offering a free gadget with a Mac purchase, Apple's dolling out $100 to use on iTunes or the Mac App Store.


Instead of offering student Mac buyers a free iPod--as it's done for the past several years--Apple this morning launched its annual back-to-school promotion with a $100 credit for digital downloads.

That $100 can be spent in iTunes, the iBookstore, and in the iOS and Mac App Stores. One trend you might notice there is that Apple's found a way to get a return on that $100, which could be the whole amount if someone ends up buying Apple's own software like iWork and Aperture, which can be found in the Mac App Store. Apple makes 30 percent on sales made on all those stores, with the exception of iTunes.

As part of the deal Apple is heavily promoting that $100 be spent in the Mac App Store. The company's curated a special back-to-school collection of apps in the Mac App Store, though not yet in its other stores. That collection includes Evernote (which is pictured above), Things and Scrivener. There are also "apps for study breaks," which are mostly made up of games.

Details on Apple's deal leaked out earlier this week. A rumor near the end of May incorrectly suggested that Apple would be offering $229 towards an iPod model, or $200 off the purchase of a new iPad to those making Mac purchases.

To qualify for this year's deal, Mac buyers need to be college students, or students who have been accepted to college. The deal is also good for parents of those students, as well as faculty and staff members. The deal runs from today through September 20, 2011.

Worth noting is that Apple plans to release the next major version of its Mac OS X software next month, which will only be delivered through the Mac App Store. Apple has said it will be giving everyone who's purchased a Mac between WWDC last week and its release a free copy of the upgrade.

Competitor Microsoft launched its back-to-school program last month, offering students who buy a new PC at $699 or more a free Xbox 360 console.