Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) today announced that the company's iTunes U content has crossed the threshold of 1 billion downloads.

Apple offers a wide range of free educational content through its iTunes U store for the benefit of teachers and students alike. Online services exec Eddy Cue said there are iTunes U courses with more than 250,000 students enrolled in them.

Apple has steadily grown the number of colleges and universities that utilize iTunes U, with the number now at more than 1,200. On top of that, there are 1,200 K-12 schools. Apple said that more than 60% of iTunes U app downloads are coming from outside the U.S., which broadens the reach of the educational material.

Some of this growth is being driven by strong adoption of the iPad in educational environments, and Apple's strategy in this sector reflects its approach to the consumer market where it offers complementary content in order to increase sales of devices.

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