12 days 1

Last week, Apple updated its ’12 Days of Gifts’ app for the 2013 holiday season. The update was a fairly significant one, because for the first time ever, the company opened up access to the application for folks in the United States.

And Apple is celebrating the occasion by giving away a free gift early. While the actual 12 Days of Gifts event isn’t scheduled to begin until December 26, users with the app installed right can pick up Lorde’s new single ‘No Better.’

Again, from the App Store description:

“From 26 December – 6 January, you can download a gift each day—songs, apps, books, movies, and more—with the 12 Days of Gifts app. Each day’s gift will only be available for 24 hours, so download the free app to make sure you don’t miss out. Please note: Not all content is available in all countries.”

Folks with the iOS app installed can find the free Lorde track, which was just released, by tapping the just-added ‘A Gift to Get You Started’ link at the bottom of the main page. This will bring up album art with the option to ‘View Gift.’

Doing this will populate an iTunes Store splash page with a link to download the song for free. You’re not taken out of the app, even if you decide to accept the gift, and of course you’ll be able to access it later via iTunes in the Cloud.

This should give first-time participants in Apple’s 12 Days program a good idea of what to expect when it goes live later this month. In past years, Apple has given away songs, music videos, apps, games, iBooks and TV episodes for free.