Put simply: this is perfect ... for universities.
Here's how it works:
- The institution buys a "volume voucher" on a purchase order.
- Apple mails the vouchers to the school.
- A "program facilitator" at the school decides which apps and how many.
- The "facilitator" then gets a number of coupon codes - a bit like promo codes.
- The coupons are distributed to students, who then redeem the coupons in their own iTunes accounts for a 'free' copy of the app.
It sounds like a great system for any organisation that wants to distribute copies of a third party app to a certain clientele.
In a university situation, I imagine that the students own their iPad and manage it with their own iTunes Account. The App Store VPP seems like a great way for the university to give the students access to specific apps.
There are a few problems for schools:
- Pupils don't own the iPad, we do.
- If pupils manage their iPad through their own account, they're presumably syncing it at home and we can't then offer any backup facilities in school.
- When a pupil leaves, they take their iTunes account with them and we have to re-buy the app for the next pupil to use that iPad.
- The majority of pupils are under 13 years old and can't have their own personal iTunes account.
- A reasonable proportion of the school are not capable of managing their own iPad appropriately - most because they're too young but, sadly, some because they're too irresponsible.
What I'm looking for in school is a way for the school to own a certain number of licenses and to deploy them to iPads rather than to individuals.
A few readers were unhappy that our current setup results in us paying for three copies of an app, which then gets distributed to 115 iPad users. I share those concerns and would be delighted to deploy a more appropriate number of licenses if we had flexible enough DRM tools to let us do what we need to do.