Since April 2008, Apple and Starbucks have served up free music tracks each week as a reward for purchasing a drink or snack in over 11,000 Starbucks locations nationwide. Loyal patrons typically receive a "Pick of the Week" card with a code that "unlocks" a specific downloadable track from iTunes. Now there are reports that the duo are throwing free iOS apps into the mix as well.
According to reports, Starbucks will now be offering a free iOS app to those who come in and puchase a drink or snack. As with the music track offering, patrons will be given a card with a code on the back that "unlocks" a specific app from the App Store. To start things off right, Apple has authorized the $5.99 Shazam Encore app (iTunes) as the first free offering (seen right).
So far there's no indication that this Pick of the Week program for iOS apps will replace or simply join the current music track of the week offering. There's also no indication that customers have a choice of either the track or app if both are provided: will Starbucks offer both simultaneously so that patrons can decide between the two, or will it offer a free app one week and a free app during the next week?
Distributing free apps to Starbucks customers is rather surprising news for Apple. Most of the time, iOS apps are bit pricier than the standard $1.29 music track purchased from iTunes. But it's highly unlikely that the new Starbucks program has anything to do with Amazon's Free App of the Day on the Android Appstore... although Amazon did make the Shazam Encore app available free for a day in recent months.
CNET reports that both Starbucks and Apple declined to comment. There's also no indication if Shazam Entertainment will lose any revenue due to its app being offered free for a week, or if Apple will provide the developer with some type of compensation during the promotion. Unfortunately, there's also no indication that the free iOS apps will be available in Starbucks stores outside the United States.