Los Angeles’ school system, the second largest in the United States, is ordering iPads for all its students, handing Apple a major success in its quest to make the tablet computer a replacement for textbooks.
The Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday approved the purchase of $30 million worth of iPads as the first part of a multi-year commitment. It found that the iPad was the least expensive option that met its specifications.
The initial order is for more than 31,000 iPads, Apple said. The Los Angeles Unified School District has more than 640,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
The textbooks will be delivered through an application from Pearson, a major publisher, rather than through Apple’s own iBooks. Apple and its publisher partners launched a suite of textbooks for iBooks in early 2012.
According to biographer Walter Isaacson, changing the textbook market was a pet project of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, even in the last year of his life. At a dinner in early 2011, Jobs told News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch that paper textbooks could be made obsolete by the iPad. Jobs wanted to circumvent the state certification process for textbook sales by having Apple release textbooks for free on the tablet computer.
Apple said 10 million iPads are in use in schools today. The company said that when the rollout is completed, Los Angeles will be the largest school district in the nation to provide each student with an iPad.