Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

How much of the school tablet market belongs to Apple?

January 20, 2012: 6:33 AM ET

100% according to a survey of educational technology directors conducted in October

Image: Apple Inc.

In the wake of Apple's (AAPL) iPad textbook announcement Thursday, it might be useful to take a second look at Piper Jaffray's October survey of 25 school technology directors. The sample is small, concedes Gene Munster, who conducted the survey, but so is the population IT decision makers in U.S. schools.

Among his findings:

  • Apple has a virtual lock on the school tablet market. 100% of the schools represented (serving about 30,000 students) used iPads. 0% of respondents deployed Google (GOOG) Android tablets, although there must be a few Xooms or Galaxy Tabs out there. At the time of the survey, Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle Fire had been announced but not yet shipped.
  • A third of the schools represented expected to eventually deploy one tablet per child; one of them already did.
  • The chief benefits of tablets, according to these tech specialists, was "access to information" (48%) and "personalization,¬†flexibility" (44%).
  • The chief hurdle to getting tablets into the schools, according to the IT folks, was not cost (20%) but "device management" (64%).

In a note to clients Thursday, Munster said he expected Apple to introduce "enhanced device management tools" -- presumably a way to allow multiple user accounts on a single iPad -- within the next several months.

And although he didn't ask the tech directors about textbooks, Munster believes Apple may have put its finger on an unfulfilled need:

"While there are over 20,000 apps for education in the App Store," he writes, "we believe that trusted learning content (textbooks) has largely been missing from Apple's ecosystem. With Apple's announcements today, we believe the company is well positioned to solve the content solution."

Below: The details of Munster's survey results.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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