Tomorrow's Apple event might bring one thing in addition to a new, smaller iPad -- it might bring millions of new sales for the device to cash-strapped school systems around the country.
Bloomberg reports that the iPad has made huge inroads in the education market where the Mac couldn't. In many cases, school systems that would have preferred Macs simply couldn't afford the "Apple Tax" and bought systems from Lenovo, Dell and other manufacturers instead. When the iPad arrived, those schools suddenly had a way to buy Apple gear at a much lower price point.
It's expected that Apple will make education a focal point of tomorrow's event as a result. Bloomberg notes that the educational IT market accounted for US$19.7 billion in sales in 2010-2011, and with school systems dropping desktops and laptops for mobile devices, Apple has a sterling opportunity to increase sales in the market.
Many educators believe that a device priced in the $200-$300 range would drastically increase purchases of the iPad in schools. Since the launch of the third-generation iPad earlier this year, many school systems have embraced WiFi iPad 2s, which are available on educational discount for as little as $370 loaded with educational apps.