Apple’s opting to celebrate the 12 days after Christmas by rewarding some of its customers with free tokens of its appreciation.
The company has offered the promotion -- which allows Apple customers to download a freebie such as an app, song or book, on each of the 12 days — to some overseas customers in the past. But this year, U.S. consumers can get in on the act, as well, provided that they’ve upgraded to iOS 7. (That’s about 75 percent of all North American iOS users, according to recent numbers from the online ad network Chitika.)
The gifts will start showing up on phones and tablets from Dec. 26 through Jan. 6, but excited Apple users can already download the “12 Days of Gifts” app, which for now just counts down the days until the first freebie launches.
Gifts will appear at midnight in each time zone and will be available for download for 24 hours before getting replaced with the next promotion. The app gives users a rundown of other rules about the promotion, such as the limits on free movie rentals, which are available to watch for 30 days after download but valid for just 24 hours after you start watching.
The company also notes that, in order to take advantage of any free books, users have to have the iBooks app.
Apple customers planning international travel during the promotion may find themselves unable to download the freebies because users must be in a country or region that matches the billing address for their Apple ID to take advantage of the promotion.
If you’re more interested in pre-Christmas deals, Apple says that customers can get a free engraving on any iPad and get the package in time for Christmas if they order by Dec. 11. It’s a sweet thought — but remember that engravings almost always counts against you if you ever want to resell your iPad in the future.