iBook, iPod Lead $10 Billion Back-To-School Spending

Electronics are playing a bigger role than ever when it comes to Back To School purchases, the Associated Press reports, with such sales expected to top $10 billion this year. Among the driving forces are Appleis iBook and iPod.Laptop sales are up 30 percent over last year, analysts say, and the iBook is one of the most popular models for college students. Whereas computers have been a necessity for most college students in recent years, many nowadays are also clamoring for the latest gadgets, not all of which can be tied to better grades."The iPod phenomenon makes up the huge majority in that category," said Stephen Baker, an analyst at NPD, which tracks retail store sales. "People used to bring 6-foot-high speakers to their dorm rooms, but now all their music just fits in their back pocket." Fancier cell phones and PDAs are also more popular than ever.A recent USA Today story noted that Appleis "Cram and Jam." promotion, which offers students a $200 rebate when they purchase an iPod and iBook or PowerBook, has been extremely successful. The University of Oregon and the University of Arizona, for example have both seen Macs account for almost two-thirds of computers sold this year.