Apple has acquired education-centered startup LearnSprout, which specializes in developing a dashboard for teachers and school administrators.
According to Crunchbase, LearnSprout, currently based in San Francisco, has already raised $4.7 million from ventures with firms such as Formation 8, Andreessen Horowitz and Samsung Ventures.
Founded in 2012, LearnSprout's main goal is to help K-12 educators track students' performance. On its website, it says, "Transform your student data into actionable insights."
On top of that, the startup aims to help schools analyze collected data, as well as discover trends in student attendance, student health, college readiness, and so on. According to its website, LearnSprout's software is already used in more than 2,500 schools across the United States.
This might be particularly helpful for Apple, which is working on developing educational tools for the iPad.
LearnSprout's tools will provide students with interactive lessons through a dedicated Classroom app, where teachers can guide their students; follow the students' progress through an Apple School manager that easily manages student accounts and courses; and allow the students to share the iPad with their classmates and friends.
"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time," said Colin Johnson, Apple spokesman. "We generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."
Apple's plan to develop educational tools for the iPad might also be meant to compete with Google's low-cost Chromebook laptops, which in recent years have been rapidly "taking over" schools. According to Google, educators were purchasing 1 million Chromebook laptops per quarter since the summer of 2014.
Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said the Chromebook laptops are merely "test machines." The company has heralded its strong iPad sales to educators. However, a CNBC report in December last year said Chromebooks now make up more than half of the devices used in classrooms.
In contrast, Apple's share of classroom purchases fell by more than half between 2012 and 2015, the report said.
Meanwhile, the deal between Apple and LearnSprout was supposedly closed last summer. "What happens when someone tips off reporters to old deals for their business gain," tweeted a source from Bloomberg.
LearnSprout is up against Clever, which has raised more than $40 million from investors such as Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital, among others.