By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
June 2, 2008

Details of Apple’s 2008 back-to-school promotion have already leaked out and they sound like a smart way to spread interest in Steve Jobs’ growing family of hand-held wireless Internet devices.

According to both AppleInsider and MacRumors, the No. 1 incentive is a free 8GB iPod touch for any college student who purchases a qualifying Mac. That’s a $299 value to the student – in addition to the usual educational discount. Alternatively, according to AppleInsider, the student can apply $299 credit toward purchase of a higher-capacity player or, for whatever reason, settle for a $199 iPod nano (last year’s top incentive).

Qualifying Macs, according to MacRumors, include the MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac and Mac Pro.

The promotion, which runs from June 3 to Sept. 15 and is expected to be announced Tuesday, is particularly well-timed. Not only will it seed campuses with multi-touch devices that tend to be their own best advertisements – especially in environments rich with free Wi-Fi – but it will, as MacRumors points out, give developers getting ready for the 3G iPhone launch an even bigger installed base for their games and other apps.

And remember, although the device is worth $299 to the student, it costs Apple AAPL a whole lot less to build.

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