Just finished listening to the latest edupunks podcast about etextbooks and the impact of this slick move of Apple’s into the textbook market.
Once the initial hype has faded it seems likely that this won’t be quite the revolution Apple is predicting. Some reasons:
- iPads are closed systems and Apple wants to closely control what goes on an iPad. That’s where the real revenue is generated, through content.
- Compatibility may be a problem. The education system is mostly populated with Windows machines and infrastructure, because that’s been the most cost effective way to go for the last 15 years. My school board wifi doesn’t support Apple devices newer than 3G. Spec. Ed. classes are getting iPads on a trail basis, but they won’t be able to connect to the wifi.
- The economics of K-12 textbooks may not support it. University texts are more expensive and go out of date very quickly. An elementary math text should cost about $10/year, and maybe less if it gets used for longer. Throw in the cost of iPads for all students and the savings aren’t huge.