During its third fiscal quarter earnings conference call, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer revealed the three month period was the best ever for education iPad sales and nearly doubled in the K-12 market.
"The iPad continues to be a great success in the U.S. education market," said Oppenheimer. "Even though, as I mentioned earlier, we achieved all-time record Mac sales to U.S. education institutions during the quarter, we sold more than twice as many iPads as Macs."
This is the second consecutive quarter where the iPad doubled sales of Macs in the education market.
Driving the iPad's high education adoption rate was the cheaper iPad 2, a carry-over model priced at $399 targeted at entry-level consumers and students. Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that while the third-generation iPad was the quarter's top seller, the legacy tablet sold just under 1 million units to educational institutions during the second calendar quarter.
Overall, Apple sold some 17 million iPads during the quarter ending in June, up from 84 percent from 9.25 million during the same period one year ago. Institutions purchased two iPads for every Mac during the three months, signaling a shift away from traditional computing to more interactive touch-based learning.
Cook goes on to say a more affordable tablet was key in garnering sales at the education level and gives much of the credit to the legacy iPad 2's new pricing scheme.
"The adoption rate of iPad in education is something I've never seen from any technology product in history," Cook said. "Usually education tends to be a fairly conservative institution in terms of buying, or K-12 does, and we're not seeing that at all on the iPad."
In describing the iPad's education potential, Oppenheimer gave an example of how schools are using the iPad in classroom mentioning that the Mansfield Texas Independent School District purchased 11,000 units slated to be used by teachers and students. MISD plans to rollout the tablets as part of its "Power Up!" initiative that aims to convert the traditional pen-and-paper learning environment to a completely paperless model.
According to the Power Up! website, over 200 high school teachers and administrators have registered for iPad deployment workshops as of July 6. As part of the program teachers will upload class materials to the internet where students will be able to access the data at any time through their iPads, thus negating the need for paper handouts. Power Up! also grants students the freedom and responsibility to work collaboratively both in and out of school.
MISD's initiative is similar to a program created by the San Diego Unified School District which purchased 26,000 iPads worth $15 million in June.
Apple also announced on Tuesday that iTunes U saw over 14 million downloads during the quarter as the now-dedicated app added 700,000 new schools and 750 new courses.
The Cupertino-based company has always been aggressive in the education market and regularly offers student and teacher discounts as well as institutional discounts for bulk purchases. In 2002, Apple released an more affordable education-minded computer called the eMac which stayed in production for only three years before being axed in 2005 in lieu of across-the-board product discounts.
Apple in February unveiled a sub-$1000 13-inch MacBook Air model to take the place of the venerable white MacBook which was aimed directly at students buyers. The basic thin-and-light's pricing is offset by bulk purchases and the unit can only be ordered in batches of five or more.