Great Question! (Thanks) Let’s imagine a scenario:
I’ve purchased 40 iPads for my classroom, and as I prepare to introduce them to my students and begin using them in regular instruction, I need to choose apps that will support my instruction and get copies on each of the 40 iPads. For the sake of argument, let’s use the apps I mentioned in my last post:
Pianist Pro $9.99
Mozart HD $9.99
Nota HD $7.99
Pitch Primer $9.99
If I want to create an iTunes account on each iPad and download each app separately, this will cost me a total of $1,918. Not to mention, creating an account on each iPad will take a great amount of time, and I’ll have to sync each iPad to a computer separately to back up my data and ensure the safety of my purchased apps in case of any problems which erase my iPad’s memory.
This brings me to the question raised in the title of this article: How many iPads can I sync with a single iTunes account?
Simply, If I can sync all 40 with a single iTunes account, I can download each app once, on my computer, and then sync each of the 40 iPads with my computer. A slow process, to be sure, assuming I can only do one (or maybe two) at a time, but certainly a money saver. You see, in the research I’ve done so far, there are conflicting reports of how many iPods (and thus iPads) one can sync with a single iTunes account.
According to this Apple Support Article regarding downloaded iTunes videos:
“You can authorize up to five computers to play purchased videos, and you can sync the video to as many iPods as you like”
The definitive answer may be found in the iTunes App Store Terms and Conditions:
“9. (iii) You shall be able to store Products on five iTunes-authorized devices at any time.”
So, with this information, it seems to maintain a lab of 40 iPads, I will need to establish 8 separate iTunes accounts, and purchase each app 8 times, one for each account. This means to load the above apps on 40 iPads will cost a total of $383.60. Lets see those numbers again: $1918 vs $383.60. That’s a huge pile of money my school is saving and developers (and Apple) aren’t getting. And it’s possible that the license agreement isn’t enforced by iTunes, but is simply a legal limit, making syncing more than 5 iPads possible.
Let’s make this clear: I’m not complaining! However, I can’t imagine Apple letting all that money slip through their fingers. Maybe the iPhone OS 4.0 announcement scheduled for April 8th will address lab-pack purchases, but in the mean time, this really is a great discount for schools.
One more thing: When evaluating app purchases and their per-iPad cost, the rule seems to be “Divide by 5.” Until the user agreement changes, that is.