Apple Launches 2024 Back to School Deals

Apple Back to School promo 2024
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Following a report early this week of its imminent arrival, Apple has officially launched its 2024 Back to School promotion — and it’s pretty much what we were expecting.

It looks like the days of free AirPods are gone for good, as Apple is once again sticking with giving away Apple Gift Cards with the purchase of qualifying products. Of course, you can still use those gift cards to buy AirPods if you like, but you also have many more options.

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Still, that flexibility comes with a tradeoff. The gift card values are slightly lower than the value of the AirPods and Beats headphones that Apple once offered as part of these promotions. At the pinnacle of its Back to School deals, Apple offered a $200 set of Beats headphones with the purchase of a Mac. Now, the best you’ll get is a $150 gift card, and that’s only if you opt for a MacBook or iMac.

Specifically, you’ll get a $150 gift card with the purchase of any MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or iMac, which isn’t a bad deal considering that the M2 MacBook Air starts at $899 with the educational discount. In essence, you’d be getting that model for $749, assuming you have something else to spend the Gift Card on.

However, it’s not hard to find a use for an Apple Gift Card. If you don’t need or want any accessories, an Apple Gift Card can be used to pay for any digital purchases through Apple, whether that’s an Apple Music or iCloud+ subscription or even in-app purchases in your favorite games. Simply load the gift card into your Apple account and it becomes a credit balance that purchases will draw from instead of hitting your credit or debit card.

Apple is also offering a $100 gift card with the purchase of a Mac mini, iPad Air, or iPad Pro. Sadly, there’s no love for the standard iPad or iPad mini, although you can still score educational discounts on those models.

The Back to School promotion runs until September 30 and is available on Apple’s online Education Store and at retail Apple Store locations for students who are or will be attending a higher-education institution in the fall or parents purchasing on behalf of a qualifying student. Faculty, staff, and employees of most educational institutions also qualify. You can view the full terms and conditions here.

In addition to the standard educational discounts available year-round, Apple is also offering 20% off the purchase of AppleCare+ with any qualifying product. In most cases, AppleCare+ must be purchased as a full two- or three-year plan rather than a monthly subscription to qualify for the discount, although Apple notes that some recurring payment plans may be available “in select retail stores.”

Are There Better Deals Elsewhere?

While other retailers frequently offer deeper discounts on Macs and iPads than you’ll find on Apple’s Education Store, adding the Gift Card promo into the mix can yield some good savings.

For example, the latest M3 MacBook Air starts at $999 in Apple’s education store, which is $100 off the regular price. However, Amazon has it on sale for $949 — a discount that’s available to everyone, not just students. However, add in Apple’s $150 Gift Card and the net price drops to $849.

Nevertheless, it’s still worth shopping around, as many retailers may still offer better deals over the summer — especially if you don’t need the latest and greatest Apple devices. For instance, right now, Best Buy has the 12.9-inch 2022 M2 iPad Pro for $550 off — a pretty hard deal to beat for what’s still an extremely capable tablet. The 2022 M1 iPad Air can also be had at Best Buy for as little as $400.

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