For the past several years, the way Apple promoted itself on Black Friday was with discounts on some of its more popular products.
Not this year.
This year, Apple gave away gift cards to the Apple Store with every purchase.
For example, on Friday, my brother bought an Apple TV for $100 and he got a $25 gift certificate to the Apple Store to go along with it.
He doesn't mind that Apple gave away gift cards instead of giving discounts. But he does think Apple blew it giving away gift cards to the Apple Store instead of giving away gift cards to the iTunes/App Store.
He thinks iTunes/App Store gift cards would return greater value to Apple over a longer period of time.
"Gift cards effectively inject millions of dollars into the app ecosystem to the direct financial benefit of developers, making the most appealing platform (iOS) for developers – particularly those who make paid applications – that much more appealing."
"Paid applications – even if bought with gift cards – have a lock-in effect; any consideration about switching is likely to be weighed against the worth of purchases you have made."
"Gift cards encourage exploration and risk-taking in the app store, significantly increasing the chance users discover apps that make their iOS device magical."
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