Starbucks giving out free iPhone apps, expanding Apple partnership

Here’s another reason to get your caffeine fix at Starbucks: It might come with a free iPhone app. The Seattle coffee retailer has expanded a partnership with Apple to offer Starbucks customers a premium iPhone app for free. CNet News, which discovered the new promotion, notes that cards are displayed at Starbucks stores with a special code that customers can use to get the free app.

The promotion is starting out with the popular music ID app Shazam Encore, which typically sells for $5.99. Getting that app for free is not a bad deal considering that it costs more than most coffee drinks at Starbucks.

Starbucks and Apple have offered a similar promotion on music tracks, displaying “Pick of the Week” cards in stores since 2008. But offering premium apps for free is a new move, and a particularly savvy one for both companies. Not only could it drive more customers into Starbucks, but Apple could use this as a way to strengthen its developer community and brand.

The promotion also may be a counterweight to Amazon.com, which has been offering a free Android app of the day.

We’ve yet to see the free iPhone app promotion in a Seattle area Starbucks, so if you do let us know in the comments. I’m planning to hit a Starbucks later today to see if I can try it out.

Fans of tech history may recall that Steve Jobs is a pretty big Starbucks fan, as evidenced by this prank call he made to the coffee retailer in 2007.

  • Guest

    Congratulations to Starbucks on this partnership! As a man addicted both to coffee and to apps, this is a winning move.

  • Guest

    Congratulations to Starbucks on this partnership! As a man addicted both to coffee and to apps, this is a winning move.

  • Guest

    With iPhone being about 10% of the total mobile market (not just smart phones) and Starbucks catering to about 10% of the population, it’s a perfect fit.  The fact that Jobs likes the predictable, consistent UX of Starbucks is no surprise.

    Once upon a time, they were both innovative, independent and fascinating companies.

  • Guest

    “Once upon a time, they were both innovative, independent, and fascinating companies.”

    It wouldn’t be a Seattle blog without a passive aggressive, snarky and anonymous comment!

    I’ll go anonymous too, keeping the trend alive!

    P.S. Did anyone else get the impression that Schultz has been reading a little too much “Atlas Shrugged” lately? Did you see that CBS interview where he proclaimed his largess wouldn’t be going to the Beltway in the form of campaign contributions until Washington got it’s “fiscal house in order”? How about the part where NASDAQ was forwarding on his e-mail!

    Way to stick it to those parasites, Howie! How are the Sonics, by the way?

    See, snarky and anonymous. Seattle style.

  • http://twitter.com/Michael_Paulson Michael Paulson

    I think this is a great promotion – now just waiting for it to hit Seattle. My local baristas haven’t heard of it yet.