As a kid, or even as a university student, if anyone had mentioned back-to-school shopping, sales, gear, or anything else this early in the game, I’d definitely have lost it on them. The summer has yet to begin, just let me get my bearings!
Still, if I were to make an exception, I’d make it for Apple’s (s aapl) annual back-to-school promotion, during which the company offers a free iPod to all education customers when they purchase a new Mac.
The iPod in question, or at least the most expensive one that qualifies for the deal, is the 8GB iPod touch (which is probably nearing end-of-life, but hey, it’s free, and it’s still great hardware), which you buy along with your MacBook when you make your purchases. When you receive both items, you fill out and submit an online claim (which must be done by Oct. 8 to qualify), and Apple will reimburse you for the total amount of the iPod — not quite as insidious as a mail-in rebate, but not nearly as straightforward as a complete freebie, either.
If you’re not keen on the iPod touch, or for some reason you just want to save Apple some money, you also have the option of getting any iPod of lesser value, including an 8GB or 16GB Nano, a 120GB Classic, or a 4GB Shuffle with rebates of varying amounts according to which you choose. On top of that, you also get the standard education customer discount on whatever model Mac you’re buying, so the total savings end up being pretty significant.
Not all Macs are eligible for the promotion, so hopefully, you didn’t just read the first half of this article and then go buy a Mac mini and an iPod touch. The mini, along with any refurbished Macs, won’t get you the free iPod, although any other model will, including all notebooks, the Mac Pro, and the iMac. Offering the relatively inexpensive Mac mini along with the discount probably cuts too close to the profitability line for Apple’s comfort.