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Did Apple Quietly Cancel Its Annual Back-to-School Sale?

Normally it debuts in June or very early July.
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Apple School

Apple's back-to-school sale has been around for over a decade, and traditionally it starts in June or early July, then winds down in September. This year, however, it seems the Apple Store is breaking its tradition altogether; there's been no mention of the sale at all.

The back-to-school sale is not to be confused with the everyday educational pricing that Apple offers. Typically the sale will offer additional Apple Store gift cards on top of those discounts, for students and teachers.

The Timing Has Varied in the Past

To be fair, Apple has been known to experiment with the debut of this sale. For instance, from 2006 to 2012 the sale debuted in May or June, whereas in 2013 and 2014, the promos kicked off in early July. But from what we can tell, this is the latest we've gone without the sale debuting.

Likewise, the discounts have also changed throughout the years. In 2011, Apple switched from offering Mac buyers a $199 rebate on the 8GB iPod touch, to offering a $100 App Store gift card instead — a move that elicited criticism from customers who were accustomed to receiving the more valuable bargain. Apple apparently took it to heart because in 2012, it began bundling a $100 Apple Store credit (instead of the more restrictive App Store credit) with its back-to-school promo.

Back-to-School Sale Still Happened Down Under

If it's any consolation, earlier this year Apple did celebrate its back-to-school promo in Australia and New Zealand, as reported by 9to5Mac. While that gives us some hope that we may see something State-side, it's still too early to tell. We've reached out to Apple for comment and will update our story if necessary.

You Probably Shouldn't Shop Apple's Sale Anyway

Despite the fact that Apple has curiously neglected to roll out its annual sale, we've always been wary of the promotion. While we're sure it has benefited many students and educators in the past, we've consistently been able to find better deals on Mac products from Apple resellers like Amazon, MacMall, and Best Buy. Best Buy in particular has been known to undercut Apple's back-to-school sales by as much as $200.

Readers, what do you think? Is this a sale you'll miss? If Apple does indeed skip it, what do you think this means for Apple's Black Friday sale?


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With over a decade of experience covering technology, Louis Ramirez has written for CNET, Laptop, Gizmodo, and various other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @louisramirez.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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3 comments
Yeoman007
@pmurrary63: I couldn't care less about the products having non-upgradeable RAM, HDD, or whatever *if* the RAM, etc. was already maximized. However, if it's not, you're stuck with a base model that cannot be improved and that will need to be replaced sooner rather than later.

*Note* I'm talking about Apple products that can be upgraded by Apple at ordering time, but not by the customer after they're built.

So, no, my problem really is with WHAT is on sale, not with a product's upgradeability or lack thereof. A bigger sale on something I don't want does not trump a smaller sale on the products I do want.
pmurray63
Perhaps the problem is not the sale, but the non-upgradeable nature of the products.
Yeoman007
Those sales at Best Buy and elsewhere are almost always for the non-upgradeable, least expensive -- and least desirable -- base model Apple products. I don't want a MacBook Air with only 4 GB of RAM and is not upgradeable. I want an 8 GB model that will be suitable for longer. Same with the iMac. Apple's sales are on all the line-up, not just the base models. I'll take a $100 sale on everything any day over a $200 sale on nothing I want.
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