Coffee and apps are two things that have always been connected in some tangential way. The prices of apps are often described as being "less than a cup of coffee," often spoken in derision at the people who think that a $0.99 app is too expensive to acquire legally. As well, people who use apps (and especially people like myself who write about them) often find themselves in need of caffeine. After all, that level in Angry Birds isn't going to 3-star itself, even if it is 3:00 in the morning. What helps people feel awake and alert after these long nights of intense app usage? Caffeine! What does coffee contain copious amounts of? Caffeine! Someone at Starbucks has finally noticed this connection between apps and coffee, and decided to harmoniously bring the two together.
Starbucks is giving out cards with redemption codes for apps, along with various other iTunes content, that are available at Starbucks locations. The first app in the program is Shazam Encore, which is available for $5.99 regularly. This promotion isn't going to be limited to older, already-existing apps, either; starting on August 30th, Starbucks will be giving away copies of SPY mouse from recent EA acquisition Firemint, which releases this Thursday.
What will be interesting to see the effect this has on apps offered in the promotion; Shazam Encore has jumped up to #6 in the App Store recently, which may be due to this feature. This could be due to each redeemed copy going toward the app's sales, or it could be because the promotion is working exactly how it's intended; by giving the app away for free, people are talking about it and recommending it, causing other people to pay for it. The question will be just how often apps are actually featured in this program, or if 2 of the first 3 promotions being apps are just an anomaly. It will be interesting to see how other apps perform with the Starbucks promotion, especially new releases like SPY mouse that have a big-name publisher behind them. As well, will apps from smaller independent developers make any kind of appearance in the program, and will apps share in the kind of sales bump that Shazam Encore is enjoying?
Still, any time a big-name company like Starbucks gets involved in the app business, it's news worth paying attention to because of the effect they could potentially have on the business of selling and promoting apps. Starbucks appears to be offering a new free app every Tuesday, but it isn't in all locations yet, so keep hunting, weary caffeine and app addicted traveler!