Slideshow: 10 Killer Mac Applications
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The App Store Volume Purchase Program was introduced Monday on the site for iOS developers. iOS is the operating system that ships with the iPad and the latest iPhone and iPod Touch.
The new program lets U.S. educational institutions buy apps in volume for distribution to students and faculty. In addition, developers can elect to offer special education pricing for their apps, when purchased in volume.
Schools are a major customer base for Apple, which has offered discounts on Mac computers to students and faculty for years. While the small screen of the iPhone and iPod Touch limits their use in the educational market, the iPad's nearly 10-inch diagonal display makes it a potential alternative to hardcover textbooks and documents handed out by professors.
Indeed, Apple has reportedly pitched the iPad to the education market, believing the device can be used to easily share information with others. In fact, the company has hired a former executive at textbook publishers Cengage Learning and Pearson Education to help drive growth of Apple's online education store.
While the new app-buying program does go beyond school, the iPad is gaining traction among businesses, which could also be interested in volume app purchases in the future. Fully, half of the Fortune 100 have begun deploying or testing the iPad as a business tool.
Released in late April, Apple sold 3.3 million iPads in the first three months, making it the company's most successful product launch. By comparison, the iPhone, which was also considered a hit, didn't hit the 1 million mark in units sold until it had been available for 20 months.