To outfit a student body of 700 students at current prices schools would need to spend approximately $350,000, and that’s just for the hardware. To outfit one particular class, say Chemistry, with the needed textbooks—at Apple’s quoted $15 per book price—would likely cost a little over $10,000, to outfit the entire school with every textbook they needed for every course would cost significantly more than the hardware itself.
All told, an average size school would need to find approximately $500,000 to equip its entire study population with iPads and digital textbooks, and with most schools struggling to find funding for programs like art, music, and physical education, current financial priorities may be elsewhere.
My vote: an expensive money pit. Unless, of course, schools start deferring costs by requiring parents to pony up and pay for expensive Apple iGear. I’m sure parents would just love that extra expense of $500/year in hardware costs. I bet replacing damaged screens, stolen devices, and so forth will also improve parents’ sunny dispositions towards school systems that adopt Apple’s digital textbook extravaganza.