First, there was the pick of the week song on iTunes that you can redeem when you visit Starbucks. I like to think it was a success and now it looks like Apple and Starbucks are working closer together for other give-aways.
Now, we can expect iBooks, TV shows, and even iOS apps that are given away on a regular basis.
I find this kind of symbiotic relationship among vastly different companies (maybe not their philosophies) that can come together and make some magic.
But if you consider just how deeply in tuned both companies are in mobile, you cannot help but not be surprised. Maybe Apple should so something and forge an even closer relationship with something like the iPod touch or the iPad. Go to any Starbucks and you'll find it difficult to not see an iOS device or a Macbook at the coffee tables. In some areas, they outnumber even PCs.
This has the feeling of something that Starbucks pursued and Apple quickly see value in this. You want to drive traffic and free content is definitely something that will work. These days, apps, music, and video are the bulk of media consumed on mobile devices.
On top of that, if your user can pay $4 for a drink a few times a week you want those kinds of customers come back for more.
For Apple, this is a very important step to further step into the mobile mindset of the average user. And this is particularly important with iBooks selections. So far, they'll be offering excerpts from iBooks. Maybe this is what the future bookstores are about? Go into a coffee shop to browse books.