We learned from Apple's financial call that iPad to Mac deployment in the education market has reached 1 to 1 and some schools are starting the kids on Apple's tablets as young as kindergarten. For the most part, however, Apple is about selling hardware and has created an ecosystem of apps and services to help them do just that. But I think if anyone can challenge Apple in that market, it would be Amazon's Kindle tablet that everyone knows is in the works.
And Amazon could benefit from it in the way others are likely going to fail, including Microsoft.
Amazon has captured a large portion of the ebook and ereader market with the Kindle. It's a well known brand. However, Amazon is looking to sell goods and services with the Kindle as a means to that end. It's the complete opposite of what Apple is doing. And this week, Amazon released a plan for library book borrowing. This is exactly the kind of area that Apple doesn't want to get its hands dirty in. Steve Jobs is quite content to let others have this. But that could be its undoing.
By working closely with publishers and libraries, Amazon have inserted the Kindle ecosystem into the mindset of educators, parents, and students. Somewhere a long the time, some time in the future, Amazon will create an ecosystem that will rival or even surpass the iTunes. No one stays on top forever.
To add fuel to my speculation/analysis, there are rumblings in some quarter that Amazon has partnered with Samsung to make the Kindle tablet. To go one step further, Apple's lawsuit against Samsung's supposedly "copy-cat" of Apple's iPhone and IPad could be a shot across the bow to the rest of the market.
Going forward, it'll be interesting to see if Amazon can fulfill what I think they can in the education market and then use it as a launching pad to make the Kindle more of a mainstream tablet. How successful Amazon will be depends on its ebook strategy and general flexibility and how quickly Apple recognizes the threat Amazon possess.