Apple Back to School 2013 kicks off (now with iPhone and iPad included)

Apple has begun its "Back to School" promotion, offering education users App Store Gift Cards if they buy a new Mac or, new this year, an iPhone or iPad. As with last year's campaign, picking up a new Mac or MacBook nets those headed off to college $100 in credit to spend on software in the App Store.

However, Apple is also offering those who buy an iPad or iPhone a gift card as well, though only for $50 rather than the full $100. It's worth noting that there's no educational pricing option for either of the iOS devices, either, though Apple says it will discount Macs by up to $200.

If you're in the market for a Mac, then you can buy it between today and September 6 2013 from either Apple or a participating Apple Authorized Campus Store in order to qualify; the same goes for an iPad. However, iPhones must be bought from Apple itself if you want the card; those bought from Apple Authorized Campus Stores won't count.

Apple used to offer iPods as its "Back to School" temptation, but changed the strategy back in 2011 to instead offer software. It's arguably a cleverer option for the Cupertino firm, since it takes a 30-percent cut on all paid software downloads through the iOS App Store and the Mac App Store. So, in effect, the $100 card is only costing Apple $70 instead.

Still, $100 is enough to buy Pages, Keynote, and Numbers for Mac, and still have more than $40 left over. You'll need to qualify as a college student, a parent of a college student, a teacher, a homeschool teacher, school administrator, or staff member in order to actually take part in the promotion.

Thanks Simon!