Apple’s back to school promo is both better and worse than ever

You’ll probably end up spending more.

apple airpods
IDG/Adam Patrick Murray

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For the first time ever, Apple has sweetened its back to school promo with something everyone wants: AirPods. However, the maximum savings are a lot less than previous years.

Apple’s Beats-centric back to school promo has never been all that enticing, but it did offer big savings on headphones. For example, Mac buyers last year could get a free pair of Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones worth $400, while iPad Pro and iPad Air buyers got $250 in credit toward the same high-end headphones. This year’s credit is capped at $159 no matter which product you buy.

Like previous years, the promotion applies to all new Mac purchases except the Mac mini, as well as the iPad Pro and iPad Air.

But here’s the fine print: While you’re basically getting a pair of AirPods for free, you’ll need to spend an extra $40 to get the model with the wireless charging case and another $90 for the AirPods Pro.

That’s not terrible but it’s a little nickel-and-dimey. If Apple could offer $250-$400 in savings on Beats products last year, it could at least give buyers the AirPods with the wireless charging case his year. Making students pay an extra $40 just seems cheap. But at any rate, we’ll certainly take AirPods over Beats any day.

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