Apple Kills Back-To-School iPod Freebie

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News Posted: Thu, Jun 16 2011 7:02 PM
Not too long ago, we covered news that Microsoft--in an apparent bid to steal Apple's thunder--was offering a free XBox 360 with the purchase of any qualifying PC. Apple has offered a "free" iPod Touch for several years. The company didn't actually ship an iPod with each system; students were required to order both, then submit a rebate to Apple for the cost of the iPod. In the past, these rebates have been worth as much as $299, making them an attractive treat.

Apple's new strategy is to offer all students a $100 gift card for use in the Mac App Store, iBookstore, iTunes, or the App Store. This is a lousy move for several reasons. Not only does it chop up to $199 off the value of the original offer, the card can only be used to purchase content of one type or another. As enticements go, it's significantly weaker than what's been available in years past.

We doubt Apple's diminished incentive will have a serious impact on sales amongst the Mac faithful, but anyone on the
fence may well choose to stay there. The iPod/iPhone are typically thought of as gateway products; they introduce consumers to Apple products at a relatively low price. Killing the free iPod Touch nixes this advantage. The second problem is that the iPod Touch has an intrinsic value--anyone who opted for the original program and then didn't like the iPod could resell it and actually end up making money on the deal. The gift card is only valuable if the purchaser actually buys content. Apple's various content sale centers are obviously extremely popular, but popular doesn't equal 100 percent customer usage.

Microsoft appears to have a decisive advantage over Apple in the wake of the company's decision. The XBox 360 that's being offered has just 4GB of storage as compared to the 250GB XBox 360 S. While that's a bit of a bummer, MS does offer an external hard drive (albeit at the unattractive price of $129). Toss in the fact that PCs tend to offer better performance then their equivalently positioned Apple products, and the ball is in Redmond's court. Obviously the appeal of an XBox 360 isn't universal, nor particularly valuable to anyone who either doesn't like the XBox or already owns one, but the tempting value of the resale option is, well, tempting.

Whether or not either option will sway purchase decisions from either camp is another point entirely and difficult to estimate. We'd love to hear from readers who have either opted for Apple's previous iPod Touch or intend to go for the $100 gift card. Similarly, is there anyone out there whose decisively persuaded by the XBox 360?
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Inspector replied on Thu, Jun 16 2011 7:09 PM

Im not in to the 360 or the $100 gift card :D. Rather order a custom laptop :)

So both Microsoft and Apple won't get my business anytime soon in terms of laptops or full desktops :).

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Apple faithful IMO are getting a raw deal as the gift card can only be used to purchase Apple products so the $100 stays in house. Good for Apple bad for you.

As far as that rebate they make money off the interest by the time they pay out, so Apple still comes out ahead on the deal.

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I think Apple is making a big mistake in taking the iPod touch deal away. I agree with the article they are gateway products and the fact of the matter is by giving the iPod touch away they are likely to see much more in sales from iTunes and the App store from those users purchasing content for it. Neither deal convinces me to go either way with Apple or PC of course I don't have any cash to spend anyways so they are not targeting me.

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jonation replied on Thu, Jun 16 2011 9:22 PM

only $20 more to have the ipod classic! I agree, it made a difference in the young crowd. I know plenty of friends who bought macbooks because they also came with an ipod.

that being said, the market is probably saturated with ipods due to this, seems like smart business tactics.

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Manduh replied on Thu, Jun 16 2011 9:40 PM

I would have preferred the iPod for sure!

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imAcpufan replied on Fri, Jun 17 2011 12:51 AM

Last fall I got a free xbox 360 4GB with my HP laptop. It definitely factored into my purchase decision, since even though I had no time to play games on it (and I use my desktop PC for gaming anyway), I sold it through for $200, brand-new and unopened.

Worked out to be a nice rebate for the laptop.

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The iPod Touch is pretty redundant for Apple fans that already have an iPhone. So I understand why they would do away with limiting the freebie to an iPod Touch, but reducing the value doesn't make sense.

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Apple will do this sort of thing as long as it stays ahead of the curve. If it ever starts falling, look out, it'll fall hard.

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maybe you can use that $100 gift card for the Anti Virus apple will start selling in the next few

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rrplay replied on Fri, Jun 17 2011 11:35 PM

nope ! not going to be affected by either.And think the move by Apple is more based on greed rather than providing something slightly better than a diminished credit & at a lesser value. an Xbox 360 is not going to anything for me as a perk.but think the MS offer is a more viable freebie [value] even though it's not for me.

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