Yesterday, we reported that Apple’s annual Back to School promotion will start this week with free $100 iTunes gift cards instead of iPods. Now, we have independently pinpointed that the Back to School promotion will begin tomorrow (Wednesday) – based on new signage spotted by sources – and have reconfirmed that $100 iTunes cards will be this year’s free item. Additionally, various sources say that store layouts will be changing tonight, with a couple of sources pinpointing up to an 80% change in the store’s software product layout.

In addition to the layout change, Apple will be updating their iPad Smart Signs, which were exclusively revealed by 9to5Mac, to include new options and information regarding the new Back to School initiative. This Smart Sign update is being referred to as “Smart Sign 1.01.” Also, we have confirmed that Apple has, in fact, partially removed software walls from a number of their retail stores. This is in a move to promote the Mac App Store and move completely to a download-only enviroment. This change comes ahead of Apple’s download only next-generation Mac software: OS X Lion and Final Cut Pro X.

On a final note, tipsters in the U.K. say that Apple’s Back to School promotion will begin there, too, tomorrow and custom gift cards for iTunes worth £65 will be the grand prize – instead of iPods. The U.K. part is not yet confirmed, though. Also, for anyone expecting new products tomorrow: prepare for disappointment.

Update: Although Apple retail stores across the nation have received the visual materials for the 2011 Back to School promotion, Apple has pushed the day back for unknown reasons. The rest of the story still stands.


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