Today, Apple revealed to TechCrunch that the company has sold more than 8 million iPads to educational institutions worldwide, accounting for some 6.6% of total iPads sold, with 4.5 million of those to U.S. based schools.
In a number of Apple's quarterly earnings calls over the past couple of years, Apple executives have repeatedly shared details of large transactions to educational institutions and of an iPad adoption rate by educational institutions that was unlike any Cook had seen before.
In the Q3 2012 conference call, the company noted that a school district in Texas purchased 11,000 iPads, and then went on to talk about the recent price drop of the iPad 2 to $399:
I think it’s particularly helping in K-12. The adoption rate of iPad in education is something I’d never seen from any technology product in history. Usually, education tends to be a fairly conservative institution in terms of buying or K-12 does and we’re not seeing that at all on the iPad.
Though the 8 million number is impressive, Apple has been in talks with the Turkish government over a $4.5 billion deal that would provide as many as 15 million tablets to schoolchildren in that country.
Apple today said that 1 billion pieces of free content have been downloaded from its iTunes U service since its inception.