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How to get student discount on MacBook Pros and iPads for music making

MacBook Pro resting against a pile of books in front of a blackboard
(Image credit: Getty/Witthaya Prasongsin)

We all know going back to school, college or university can be a stressful - and expensive - time, particularly if your trusty old laptop or tablet has seen better days. When you head into education, you want to make sure the equipment you’re learning on isn’t going to get in the way of your studies, particularly if you’re studying music production or similarly tech-reliant subjects.

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Find the right machine for you with out guide to the best laptops for music production in 2021

In this guide, we’ll outline how you can save money by getting student discount on Apple products, from M1 MacBook Pros to iPads. Best of all, it’s a relatively painless experience as long as you’re eligible, which, if you attend a recognised education provider, you almost certainly will be. What's more, Apple is offering free AirPods with certain purchases, too. 

Apple is notorious for charging premium prices for its hardware, but if you’re a student - or a teacher - then you could find things about to get a bit cheaper for you. From entry-level iPads up to powerhouse workstation computers, Apple’s Student Discount Programme is one of the best ways to access amazing discounts across the entire range.

It’s great news for musicians too; Apple’s range of MacBooks, iPads and Mac Minis have been powering the creative pursuits of musicians and producers for decades now, and there’s a lot to love about them. From the powerful technology which will burn through renders in no time, to the achingly cool design which still has the power to turn heads, Apple is the creative student’s dream machine. Best of all - it doesn’t matter what subject you’re studying or teaching. If you’re a budding musician who happens to be attending uni to study agriculture, or psychology, or anything - the discount is still available to you. 

What should I buy?

There are plenty of ways you might want to take advantage of this scheme. The obvious one would be to upgrade your old laptop to a shiny new one. There are plenty of options here, from the entry-level MacBook Air, right up to the all-powerful MacBook Pro models. The new Mac models all have something pretty special up their sleeve too, in the form of the new M1 chips. Essentially, Apple brought production of the chips used to power the processor and graphics in-house and, Apple being Apple, the results are pretty spectacular.

Not only are the M1 powered Macs much more capable in terms of raw horsepower than their Intel equivalents, they also boast incredible battery life and are optimised to within an inch of their lives for running Logic Pro X, Final Cut Pro and more. Third-party developers, including Ableton, Native Instruments and Avid are also cottoning onto the extra power these new machines offer, which means the future is looking bright for musicians and producers. Read our full Apple M1 13-inch MacBook Pro review for the full lowdown.

Maybe you already own a Mac, or are happy with your current laptop. No problem - the sweet savings on offer through the student discount scheme still apply so you might want to take advantage and add an iPad to the collection. All iPads are included, from the nifty iPad Mini range right up to the all-powerful iPad Pro. We’ve seen plenty of examples of musicians making use of the iPad as a fully-featured studio recording device, making it more than just an accessory or something to watch Office re-runs on. In particular, the iPad Pro models come equipped with USB C connectivity, meaning you can hook up most class-compliant audio interfaces or midi control devices to them, making them formidable portable studios. 

Couple shops for iPad in an Apple Store

(Image credit: Apple)

How much can I save?

In terms of discounts, a good example comes with the Apple MacBook Air M1. These capable little laptops retail regularly for £/$999 but take advantage of the education pricing and you’ll get a cool £/$100 off that price. Elsewhere in the range, the superlative MacBook Pro is also available with student discounts. Prices start at $1,119/£1,299 for the 13” M1 model, and go right up to $2,199/£2,149 for the epic 16” powerhouse model. 

For musicians and studio users, this model represents the pinnacle of music production and recording, with enough power to capably handle pretty much any musical application without breaking a sweat. 

Overall, discounts range from $100 off MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models and $50 off iMacs and Mac Minis in the US, while UK discounts vary from around £130 off a MacBook Pro, to £70 off a Mac Mini. To check out the full discounts you’ll need to sign up for the Education Discount.

Is Apple Care available at a discount?

If you’re looking to invest, we’d always recommend taking out an Apple Care plan to protect your squeaky clean new Mac or iPad. It’s not the most exciting purchase you’ll ever make, granted, but it’s one you may end up glad you did. The good news is that education pricing also counts towards Apple Care, meaning you’ll get 20% off that too. 

Pair of Apple AirPods on a white background

(Image credit: Apple)

Buy Apple gear, get free AirPods!

There’s also an additional bonus running currently in most territories where, as well as the discount, you will get a free pair of AirPods worth $/£159 when buying most products. You’re probably not going to be using AirPods for hardcore mixing and mastering sessions but as a way of streaming your favourite tracks on your journey to campus, they’re pretty darn good.

Trade in your old gear

Another way to add even further firepower to your spending pot is to look at trading in your old computers and laptops, which Apple will then recycle safely on your behalf as part of its GiveBack initiative (US and UK). This applies to models from other brands too, not just Apple, and payment comes in the form of Apple gift cards which can be applied to your purchase. So if you’ve still got that old iPad lying around, or maybe a dusty, ageing laptop with an old copy of Fruity Loops on it, then it could go towards your dream laptop if you use the GiveBack scheme. 

Am I eligible for student discount at Apple?

Proving your eligibility for the Apple student discount programme is fairly straightforward, whether you’re a student or a member of staff at a school, college or university. All you’ll need is your eligible email address, which Apple will verify before granting you access to the discounts on offer. The instructions on the site are pretty self-explanatory, meaning there are fewer hoops to jump through on your way to receive your discount. 

Parents can also apply for the discounts on behalf of their children, while teachers, lecturers and support staff can also take advantage by providing an ID card, payslip or another form of identification to prove employment at the facility in question. 

Man works on a laptop on some grass

(Image credit: Getty/Aleksandr Zubkov)

How do I sign up for Apple education discount?

The process to unlock student discounts with Apple is simple. Providing you’re eligible, visit the Apple for Education site (US and UK) and see the deals which are currently available. Select your chosen devices, and verify your status using Unidays. You can do this by clicking ‘get started’. Simple, right?

There are some conditions, mainly around how many devices can be ordered, which rules out your entire band taking advantage of one of you being eligible. This currently stands at one desktop per academic year, one Mac Mini, one laptop, two iPads and two pieces of software. 

The latest Apple deals on Amazon

Of course, you don’t need to rely on Apple’s education discount to get money off a new MacBook Pro. There are plenty of savings to be had over on Amazon right now, too. 

UK deals

US deals

Chris Corfield

Chris Corfield is a journalist with over 12 years of experience writing for some of the music world's biggest brands including Orange Amplification, MusicRadar, Guitar World Total Guitar and Dawsons Music. Chris loves getting nerdy about everything from guitar gear and synths, to microphones and music production hardware.