Apple may have just scored a breakthrough deal with China Mobile to sell its iPhone in the country, but it’s certainly not stopping there in its quest to establish itself in markets around the world.
A report this week suggests company boss Tim Cook is planning to visit Turkey early next year to discuss a deal with its government which, if inked, could result in the sale of as many as 13 million iPads in a contract worth some $4 billion.
The tablets would be used as part of Turkey’s FATIH Project, which is set to modernize the nation’s classrooms with the introduction of tablets, smartboards, and other computing devices. The project’s initial phase involves the roll out of 10.6 million tablets, followed by a second phase comprising between 2 to 2.5 million tablets.
Cook’s meeting with officials from the Turkish government, expected to take place in February, will be the latest in a string of encounters over the 12 months, indicating that the two could be moving towards some kind of deal.
In February last year, John Couch, Apple’s vice president for education, met with Turkish president Abdullah Gül to discuss the same deal. And then in May, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Apple’s Cupertino headquarters in connection with the FATIH Project.
Of course, it could also be that an agreement is still some way off, with other tech giants also thought to be preparing bids for the business. This would certainly go some way to explaining why boss Tim Cook is apparently making a personal visit, in a push to secure the highly profitable contract.
With a population of 74 million and a growing middle class, Turkey certainly has the potential to become a lucrative market for Apple. Indeed, the tech giant is set to open its first Apple store in Istanbul in the coming months, with Tim Cook expected to drop by during his visit to the country.
Apple’s eagerness to exploit the education market has also been evidenced back home. However, the $30 million deal struck earlier this year with the Los Angeles Unified Schools District to supply thousands of students with iPads has been beset with issues, with many students quickly removing security features designed to prevent them from accessing sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, and an ongoing debate over whether parents are responsible if a tablet is lost or stolen. Inadequate IT training for teachers has also been cited as a concern. A recent survey showed that only 36 percent of teachers involved in the roll out were happy with its implementation.
Though the LA roll out may not have been the smoothest, it’s early days for tablets in the classroom, and once the difficulties are ironed out they could become a regular fixture in schools and a useful tool for teachers and students alike. Apple, for one, will certainly be hoping so.
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