Apple Education Store

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Apple has an education store in the US, and many other regions (the United Kingdom included), that caters to students and teachers of colleges and schools. By providing the same products to this customer base at a reduced price, Apple helps enhance its reach into this important segment and also provides great software and hardware for this segment to use for their projects and day-to-day work. For some schools/colleges, the Apple Education Store takes the user to a school/college specific login page that only authentic users from those institutions can get through. Eligible customers can purchase products from the education store online or from Apple retail stores.

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Eligibility

The eligibility requirements for purchasing products through the Apple Education Store are mentioned in the education store website. Note that Apple may request for proof of eligibility once an order is placed.

Advantages of using the education store

  • Price: The price of almost everything that Apple offers is lower (in many cases substantially lower). This factor alone makes it very appealing, especially for hardware.
  • Common Feature set: When it comes to Apple software, Apple provides the same applications for education customers as it does for other customers. There is no "feature segmentation" (like Microsoft Office Student Teacher Edition that has a smaller feature set than Microsoft Office Professional). So students who use a particular Apple application at school or college won't have to go through a bigger learning curve at work, because the features are the same in the Academic and the Retail versions. This also makes learning easier and better!

Disadvantages of using the education store

  • Software Upgrades: Although the lesser price of education store applications may seem tempting, if you're a student or teacher who regularly uses Apple applications at home, you would want to upgrade once in a while. Unfortunately, Academic editions of Apple software are not eligible for upgrade pricing. So if you buy an Academic edition of an application, you would have to buy a new copy of the application (paying the full education store price at that time) if you want a newer release. This is different for retail customers, who get a (much) reduced upgrade pricing. Depending on your usage and needs, you would have to calculate which would be worthwhile for you.
  • Price: How could price be listed as an advantage and disadvantage? There are instances where you could get a price that's substantially lesser than what the Apple Education Store offers - mainly for high end computer hardware (Mac Pro's, for example). You could get a much better discount if you buy it through the Apple Developer Connection. For students, the annual fee for becoming a student member of ADC is US $99 (there are no special criteria for what you ought to be studying at school/college) - this gets more than offset by the deep discounts available at the ADC store. It should be stressed that this is usually worthwhile only for high end hardware costing a few thousand dollars, and you are only entitled to a discount on one machine in your lifetime. Additionally, the machine should be used for development purposes. For smaller hardware, the education store may be a better option. If you're an eligible student, make sure you compare these two before deciding which one to buy from.
  • Item wise limits: This shouldn't be an issue normally. The Apple Education Store has certain limits on the number of items of each kind that you're allowed to buy in an academic year (the academic year starts in June). For most people, this wouldn't be an issue at all, unless you have some devious ideas in your mind (which is what this seeks to thwart, to some extent).

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