With over 15 million iPads sold to date, we might see its ubiquity as a matter of time. With the launch of the iPad 2, Apple will continue its push to democratize technology through anticipated lower costs, proven utility, and product "stickiness". Tablets have generated a lot of buzz in the last year for their educational potential, but the iPad 2 has the capacity to disrupt education in even more drastic ways. Lower cost, mobility, and intuitive design mean schools will be interested in the new iPad, but what is more significant is use among a more "overlooked" or "underestimated" constituency in education -- families. As education technology advocates, my colleague Rafael Corrales and I brainstormed ways in which the iPad 2 might have a unique impact on education.
Democratization of Techology
I have to be careful here because I do not wish to say that the iPad 2 will be in the hands of every person in the coming years, nor do I think that is necessary for student achievement. What I do foresee, however, is Apple's emphasis on user adoption and retention continuing to be extremely successful. The iPad was a hit for those daring and wealthy enough to leap into the world of the tablet. The iPad 2 will undoubtedly expand adoption with lower prices and additional features. Like the iPod, eventual price reduction will launch the iPad into more homes across all socioeconomic lines. With added features, it will become more than a toy for wealthier consumers, and with comprehensive networking features, it may supplant traditionally more expensive computer systems for lower-income families. Thus, while I don't think iPads will become the salient learning tool in all schools -- affluent private to urban and rural -- the second edition does show promise in delivering great technology to a much greater population.