As expected, Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) has started to send out invitations to an event in New York, and now we know what it will be about: education.
The event, on January 19, will be held at the Guggenheim Museum, and the invite, designed to look like a chalkboard with a drawing of the New York skyline, reads, “Join us for an education announcement in the Big Apple.”
Early conjectures about what Apple would reveal were around advertising and/or publishing, as well as various…um…educated guesses about an education-related announcement, possibly around iTextbooks.
Apple has made significant inroads into the education market already in terms of its device strategy. That has included discounts for students and teachers on its computers, and it has even donated 9,000 refurbished iPads to the Teach for America program covering impoverished communities. In other cases, such as in France, the operator France Telecom (NYSE: FTE) teamed up with the government for a subsidized tablet program for students in the country: that gave students a choice of either an iPad or a Samsung Galaxy Tab.
There are a number of other tablet players that are looking at the educational and childrens’ markets, acknowledging how resonant the devices have been with kids so far, and what kind of potential that can hold. Among them, the One Laptop Per Child group is aiming for a $100 Android tablet; and Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) is now publishing children’s books.
While there are thousands of educational apps in the App Store and its devices are used extensively in schools, Apple has yet to launch any educational content of its own — or formal facilities to enable others, such as publishers, to deliver educational content. Some have guessed that January 19 could bring news of its first moves here. But it could be something else altogether — we’ll find out more concretely on the 19th.