Though Apple's contract with the Los Angeles Unified School District to put iPads in the hands of every student was canceled this week, the company still has a shot to win out in the end, bidding once again on the troubled $1 billion project.
Both Apple and Pearson had their contracts severed by Los Angeles officials this week, but they will be supplying new bids as the nation's second-largest district looks to regroup, according to The Wall Street Journal. Still, the canceled contract essentially sets Apple back at square one, more than a year after the company had publicly touted the deal as a coup for the iPad in education.
The original plan called for a $1 billion rollout of iPads sporting digital textbooks from Pearson to all public school students in the Los Angeles area. But the project quickly ran grossly over budget, and more recently the deal was scrutinized as accusations arose that top employees at the district had improperly close ties with Apple.
Specifically, Superintendent John Deasy and Deputy Superintendent Jaime Aquino were found to have had regular contact with executives at both Apple and Pearson well before they won the contract, which gave some the appearance of a potential conflict of interest. Deasy insists that the bidding process was conducted properly, but agreed to cancel the contract to "take advantage of an ever-changing marketplace" and also give "time to take into account concerns raised" about the project.
As of now, there's no timeframe as to how the future re-bidding process will work. So far, Los Angeles had spent about $61 million on tablets and laptops for about 40 schools, or 4 percent of the district.
Though Apple will apparently remain a part of the bidding process, the company has remained silent on the nixing of the contract, and has not responded to accusations that it worked improperly close with the district superintendent in order to secure the deal.
While Los Angeles got cold feet, other schools around the country have been embracing Apple's iPad, including an announcement this week from Minnesota's St. Paul School District, which plans to roll out 40,000 iPads to students in 37 schools around the city. Rather than purchasing the tablets, the school district plans to lease them from Apple.
Apple revealed in its last quarterly earnings call that more than 13 million iPads have been sold for education globally. The company also said it currently sells 2 and a half iPads for every Mac sold to kindergarten through 12th grade institutions.