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Apple Lands Mammoth iBook Deal: 23,000 iBooks Sold To One School District

Apple Lands Mammoth iBook Deal: 23,000 iBooks Sold To One School District

by , 3:10 PM EDT, May 1st, 2001

Apple has announced what they say is the single largest education sale ever, and we believe them to be correct. The company has sold 23,000 of their new iBooks to the Henrico County Public School district. Henrico County is just outside Richmond, Virginia. Apple's press release does not specify a price, and it also does not specify over how long a period the sale will take place, but to put things in perspective: in all of Apple's 2nd Quarter (ending in March), the company sold 55,000 iBooks. This one deal to the Henrico County school district is 41.8% of the that total. According to Apple:

Apple® today announced an agreement with Henrico County Public Schools to supply 23,000 iBooks™ to the district. This initiative will give every middle and high school student and teacher access to their own laptop computer with plans to eventually provide every teacher and student throughout the district with an iBook.

"This is the mammoth–the single largest sale of portable computers in education ever," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Apple is thrilled to partner with Henrico County Public Schools in their revolutionary initiative because when every student and teacher has access to wirelessly-networked mobile computing, learning reaches far beyond the classroom."

"Students, teachers, parents and the community will now have the best technology tools in the world at their fingertips every day," said Dr. Mark Edwards, superintendent of Henrico County Public Schools. "We chose Apple's iBook because our experience has shown that it costs significantly more to support other platforms. Apple's iBook is the best product available to meet our instructional needs."

According to leading market research firm International Data Corp. (IDC), Apple was the leading supplier of portable computers to the U.S. education market for calendar year 2000. In 2000, Apple captured an 18.2% share of the U.S. education portable market and had the largest annual growth in this segment of any vendor. From 1999 to 2000, the portable growth in the U.S. education market was 37%, more than twice that of desktops (15%). In 2001, IDC forecasts that the rate of portable growth in the U.S. education market will continue to significantly outpace the rate of growth for desktop computers.

You can see the new iBook at Apple's Web site. You can also read our coverage of the new release.

The Mac Observer Spin:

Where to start. Let's assume the school district is going pay US$899 for each iBook (that's likely a tad low), and that makes this a US$20,677,000 sale. There is likely to be some support services included in there as well, and maybe a few G4 servers thrown in for good measure. Above and beyond the one-time sales involved, this is a big PR score for Apple. They are demonstrating that they are still a force to be reckoned with, and they are drawing a line in the sand for Dell that says your one-time quarterly King Of The education Sales title was an aberration. They are also showing school districts everywhere that they are serious about educations sales, and that they can meet the needs of the biggest districts. There are a lot of unsaid messages in this announcement.

What's interesting is that Apple negotiated this deal before they had announced the product. This was probably the source of the leaks concerning the make-up of the new iBooks as well as the price point that turned out not to be correct. Note that some online publications had said the new iBook would be priced at US$999, while the actual retail price is US$1299.

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