Apple "Back to School" promo opens: $100 software gift card on offer

As expected, Apple has kicked off its "Back to School" promotion for 2011, and rather than cheaper – or free – iPods as in previous years, the company is offering a software deal instead. Qualifying students, their parents or faculty members buying a new iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air between now and late September will get a $100 Back to School Card to use on the Mac App Store, the App Store, the iTunes Store, and the iBookstore.

Of course, there's also educational pricing deals on the Mac hardware too, so you're saving there as well. That could amount to $100 on a MacBook or iMac, or up to $200 on a MacBook Pro. The promotion runs until September 20 2011.

$100 gets you a copy of iWork – with Pages, Numbers and Keynote – with some left over for a few tracks to entertain you while you work and an ebook or two to lull you to sleep before bed. You could alternatively spend it all on thrash metal from iTunes and games for your iPhone. Best of all for Apple, because it takes a 30-percent share of any purchases from the Mac App Store, App Store, iTunes store or iBookstore, it's only really subsidizing $70 on the $100 card.