Back before the iPhone 4S was released, I suggested that it would be a free release, having Apple allow itself to instead rely solely on the software sales that came afterward - that happened, to a degree, and it's looking inevitable that Apple's textbooks will make the next generation of iPad devices free as well. When the iPhone 4S was released, the iPhone 3GS was made free on-contract across the USA, and across the world at this point, the iPhone 4S itself is free on contract (outside of the USA). Apple has caught a bit of flack this week for releasing a suite of Education-based announcements without mentioning how they bring the price of the textbook down to a level that would "revolutionize" the Education world as they hope they will - here's how they will.
Apple makes the iPad, the iPad 2, and will soon (as in sometime this year) will release another iPad unit, be it an iPad 3 or an iPad 2S, containing a software upgrade not unlike the update made to the iPhone 4 with the 4S. What will happen then is the price model will be adjusted yet again to the point where the least powerful iPad, the original iPad, will be nearly free. It wont be free to all customers though, it'll be subsidized, as it always should have been, to school classrooms across the United States and perhaps across the world.
If Apple wants to start a real revolution in the world of Education, they need to make a move that will actually change the way we work with computers, something as big as the release of the iPad or the iPhone itself. Price is key at this point, not specifications, and Apple has the power to make the classroom a place of the future while at the same time building themselves up as the Education-focused group they've said they were since their inception.