Apple's annual Back to School promotion for Macs -- which could start this week -- will not include a free iPod, claims 9to5Mac. The company is instead expected to offer $100 iTunes gift cards, even though the standard in recent years has been to offer up to an 8GB Touch, which lists for $229. As an alternative Apple has typically offered discounts off of other iPods.
If accurate, the claim could be foreshadowing unusual developments in Apple's fall schedule. The company normally unveils new iPods in early September, but only after using the Back to School promotion to clear out old inventory. Distributing iTunes cards could be a quiet admission that new iPods (or perhaps at least Touches) will not appear in September, but rather a few months later. Such a delay would be consistent with reports that the next iPhone is only due in September, since Apple commonly separates iPhone and iPod launches and bases the Touch on scaled-down iPhone technology.