Apple Takes iTunes, Podcasts to School

Having conquered the digital music and video industries, Apple has set its sights on a new market that should be familiar to the company: education. Apple has introduced "iTunes U," a new service that makes course lectures and materials available through the iTunes software.

Over the past year, Apple has run a pilot program with six universities across the United States. Last week, the company decided to open the program up to any university or college that wishes to sign up.

Schools have been allowing students to access course information over the Internet for years, however access to audio lectures is fairly new.

Universities in the pilot program said the ubiquity of the iPod played a large part in the decision to sign up for iTunes U. Also, Apple's long-standing relationship with the educational community has also helped the company market the service to schools.

Each school is able to customize a version of the iTunes software to their specific needs for both Windows and Macintosh computers. For example, Stanford University uses its version of the software to allow the public to listen to lectures, as well as pre-recorded broadcasts of the school's sporting events.

The service is available for free to any school that wants to use it, and at least one institution in the pilot program, The University of Missouri, switched from their own in house solution to iTunes U specifically for that reason.

A request for comment from Apple had gone unanswered as of press time.

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