A new milestone for Apple’s iTunes U, the company’s vast catalog of lectures from colleges and universities around the world.
Apple said Thursday that since it debuted in 2007, iTunes U has served up more than one billion downloads. That’s a nice big number (Stanford University alone has seen more than 60 million downloads). But a perhaps more impressive figure is this: Apple says that some iTunes U courses boast enrollments of more than 250,000 students.
Even accounting for Apple hyperbole, the idea that there are virtual lectures being attended by anything close to 250,000 students is pretty astonishing. Also of interest: 60 percent of iTunes U downloads originate from outside the United States. Apple now offers the service to more than 155 countries, including Brazil, South Korea and China.
It’s worth noting that the last time Apple disclosed iTunes U metrics — back in 2010 — the service was desktop-only, and the big number of the day was 300 million downloads. So, in less than three years, downloads have more than tripled. What’s driving that growth? The iTunes U app for iOS and the iPad, most likely. Apple tells AllThingsD that, to date, more than 4.5 million iPads have been sold into U.S. education institutions.