Apple quietly improves loyalty pricing for businesses, educational institutions

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Apple recently made a change to its loyalty program for organizations that spend upwards of $5,000 per year on its products, offering better discounts on Macs, iPads, accessories and, for the first time, unlocked iPhones and Apple TVs.

According to a report from TechCrunch, Apple last week improved discounts on Macs, iPads, accessories and more by one to three percent. In addition, the iPhone is now part of the loyalty program, the first time Apple has brought its hot-selling handset into the fold.

Apple's program is broken into three tiers depending on how much money users or organizations spend per year. The first "red" tier starts at $5,000, followed by the $35,000 "green" tier, topped by the $200,000-and-up "blue" tier.

The company metes out discounts depending on the tier in which an institution falls and the recent program changes have brought enhanced savings to nearly all product categories. For example, the publication notes Mac discounts for red tier customers have been bumped from 5 percent to 6 percent, while higher tiers net savings of around 8 percent.

The iPad is seeing discounts between 2 percent and 4 percent based on model and quantity purchased, while savings on third-party accessories have jumped from 5 percent to 10 percent for the lowest red tier.

Of special interest to educational institutions, Apple is now applying discounts to the Apple TV. With Apple's iPad in Education initiative, schools have been using the set-top device to stream class materials to larger screens via AirPlay.

Apple's loyalty program changes come on the heels of substantial changes to iOS mass deployment and management services. Along with changes at the system level now active in iOS 7.1 that allow for granular security and device settings management, Apple rolled out a new "Deployment Programs" webpage to streamline verification and enrollment processes for IT teams.