Students with their iPads
School Students with their iPads (source : BarbaraLN)

I was flipping through the Newspaper and something caught my attention. It was a small insertion in some middle page but it was intriguing enough for me to give it a thorough read. And for the love of my life, I've never been successful searching effectively on many popular Indian Websites, go figure - Times of India.

The article was about an Indian School - Mumbai's Podar International School instructing their students to get iPads (iPad 2 to be precise) as a mandatory tool of learning. It was, of course, aimed for mid to high (Classes 6 to 12), who were all pretty used to Smartphones, gaming consoles, Laptops.

Personally, I'm not sure if this goes as a good move or someone at the school took a big bet on something s/he truly believed can benefit and enhance learning capabilities of the Students. The interesting thing is that we're talking about India where Apple products are sold at a premium - they're costlier ranging anywhere from a markup of 10%-30% as against the US$ price. The cheapest Apple products you can get are the iPods, which are costly enough compared to the ones marked on the default Apple Store (US). We don't even have to talk about the recent introduction of the iPhone 4S which literally cost a month's salary of a high-end developer in a big IT firm.

The other part was, that the School went for an iPad, and not one of the many alternatives that India have been flaunting recently - $35 Aakash Tablet or something similar. Had it been that, I'd have just brushed it as a publicity stunt to get parent's attention during this Admission Season.

The school is proposing Rs. 40,000 as cost of the iPad which the parents can buy from the school or on their own, or even get it on monthly installment. This will be for 800+ students.

Assuming this is a good option for the students, I'd rather propose a better solution.

For these Students, they won't need more than the 16GB variant of the iPad 2 with just the Wi-Fi option.

# 16GB iPad 2 -- If they ask for more than 16GB, they're loading 'em up with movies and photos and useless App-crap.
# Wi-Fi only -- It will be more manageable to screen students and give them the right Internet content sources if the school maintains a central Wi-Fi to support the 800+ students with a decent Internet Connection and well managed Wi-Fi infrastructure. 3G is un-reliable and with 800+ students jamming in at a time in a closed area would be un-predictable. I'd also assume most of the time, students will be using Apps and not hooked to the Internet.

As for the price, the last time I check, iPad 2 16GB, Wi-Fi was sold for leads than Rs. 30,000. With such a huge bulk order and for Students, the school can strike a deal with a retailer or even approach Apple directly for a direct order of the iPads. I'm sure, they can get it at good discount for the bulk direct order and for academic reasons - Apple always have a discount for students. And I won't be surprise if that turns out to be the biggest order by any single Indian entity beating other Indian retailers.

That's pretty much it. Best wishes to the school on their daring endeavor.