While college is sometimes good for nothing more than keeping a new generation of quick-thinking, technologically-advanced individuals out of the work force for four years, there are some benefits to being a college kid. Co-eds, spring break, and discount software are three immediately come to mind. For many, pursuing a degree after primary schooling means the opportunity to buy software at crazy cheap prices. Adobe Illustrator for non-card-carrying college students costs approximately $599, but for those still in the world of academia, it can be easily had for under $200, for example. Similar deals are generally available for educators as well.
In the past, Apple has been no exception to the "cheap stuff for students" mentality. The company regularly offers discounts on software and hardware, and until last fall, offered discounts on its iPod line. But one of the best times of the year to take advantage of Apple's educational discounts is when that pesky OS upgrade tax rolled around. While mere mortals were spending $129 for their .1 upgrade, students were paying $79 for a full-featured copy. $50 was nothing to sneeze at, but Apple has decided with Leopard that you really don't need your Ramen money after all.
This year, if you are a student (or some other way connected to academia), you will be paying $116* per copy of OS 10.5 Leopard. That translates to a mere $13 savings, for you communications majors. At this point, there is no real explanation for the raised cost. One could speculate that, with delays and possible extra R&D time, Apple was persuaded to make the move. But one has to wonder: just how many copies of a new OS are sold to educational customers? At this point, one can nab a better price on Leopard through Amazon than through the .edu store.
This made us curious, so we began digging through the .edu store; wait, this isn't a new occurrence at all! iLife which, if our memory serves us correctly, used to cost students under $50, now costs $71–a paltry $8 savings from the retail price of $79. And we've already mentioned the elimination of the iPod discount. What's next, no more hardware discounts? Will the MacBook's $100 educational discount be reduced to $6?
(It is important to note there are still some really good deals to be had in the .edu store. For example, students can get Final Cut Studio for $699, which is regularly sold for $1299.)
So what's the big deal? Why do students even deserve a discount? Depending on your point of view, they may not. However, things do seem to be changing in the Apple Store.
* We have heard some reports of various campus bookstores planning to sell Leopard for $79