Apple just dropped the $50 minimum to earn free shipping at their online store. This coincides with a Father's Day marketing campaign. (Do my kids read this blog? hint, hint...) Since the average kid isn't likely to drop $50 or more on their dad, this might be the extra incentive needed to shop at Apple.com.
Amazon raised their minimum dollar value from $25 to $35 to get free shipping, and they raised their fee for an Amazon Prime subscription fee, which grants free shipping on most orders of any value. So it's nice to see the pendulum swing back in favor of consumers. Given that Apple operates nationwide, and must therefore charge sales tax, unlike several smaller competitors, it can be more expensive to purchase from Apple.
For more savings, students and teachers should leverage the Education Store discounts, between $50 and as much as $200 on Macs. Finally, the refurbished and clearance sections at Apple.com are great sources for deals. Apple's refurbished units come with new warranties and the difference is often just brown cardboard packaging instead of Apple's fancy white boxes.
The free shipping promo could be Apple's way of clearing out inventory ahead of WWDC, which starts June 2. I have attended several WWDC events and two years ago, I rushed out of the keynote to order my new MacBook Pro with Retina display that had just been announced. That laptop is getting old, so I'll be watching WWDC with my credit card out!
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