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Starbucks will soon begin offering free iPhone apps, just like it does for music from iTunes, at its checkout counters, CNet reports.

The coffee chain will use the same “Pick of the Week” cards it’s been using for free iTunes music since 2008. The news is yet another sign that the app economy has finally hit mainstream. I couldn’t imagine Starbucks doing the same for free PC software years ago. Apps, on the other hand, can be downloaded instantly and enjoyed while you’re sipping your favorite Starbucks drink.

The music-identifying app Shazam Encore will be the first free app offered. Considering the app normally retails for $6.99, it certainly seems like a steal compared to a free music track, which typically sells for $1.

I could see the free app deal taking off with consumers — after all, apps have much more lasting value than free music tracks. I generally ignore the free music cards when getting my Starbucks fix, but the prospect of a free useful app would be much harder to ignore.

We’ve sent a comment request to Apple and Starbucks about the free app deal and will update if we hear back.

Image via CNet

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