updated 07:16 pm EDT, Tue July 24, 2012
Large single-purchases, iPad price reduction credited for gains
During its latest financial conference call, Apple emphasized that the last quarter was its best ever for Mac sales in the education market, with K-12 and higher-education institutions accounting for a significant portion of overall shipments. Further boosting Apple's standing and sales numbers in education further, the company sold twice as many iPads to educational customers than Macs.
Apple touts great interest by educational institutions in the iTunes U area of the iTunes store, and it is borne out by sales and subscription figures. The iTunes U app has been downloaded 14 million times, with 700 new K-12 schools and districts enrolled in the program. Colleges are joining as well, with 125 new institutions joining. Over 750 new courses have been added, including many that arrived this week.
Highlighting the quarter's Mac sales to educational markets, Rutherford County, NC purchased 6,000 MacBook Air portables, and Pueblo, CO is in the process of converting all high school students and K-12 staff to the MacBook Air as well. Apple's Macintosh educational sales fell for most of the last decade, with recent gains spurred by the synergy between the iPad and OS X-based computers.
As strong as Mac sales were in the educational market, the iPad was stronger. Exemplifying the trend, one single school district in Mansfield, TX purchased 11,000 iPads. Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said the price drop of the low-end iPad 2 helped boost sales to the market.
Tim Cook added that Apple has "been very aggressive in this space, and I don't see changing that" in regards to educational sales. The executive also addressed educational systems as typically being "conservative" with technological spending, but Apple is "not seeing that at all with the iPad."