An interesting story in Apple Insider yesterday suggests that Amazon is actively courting Apple iOS developers, encouraging them to port their apps to the Kindle platform. That's hardly a surprise, as I'd argue apps are quickly becoming one of the most important and necessary "features" of a tablet (and I will lump e-readers in with tablets here).
And although Apple Insider mentions it just in passing, the article suggests that it's specifically educational apps that Amazon is after, citing the developer of Atomium, a periodic table reference app, who's currently being courted to make the app available for Kindle.
Kindle does have quite a few apps available already, although they're primarily games and flashcards.
The move to lure more iOS developers (and their apps) to the Kindle platform will certainly help the device compete for that educational market. While the iPad is clearly in the lead there, many schools are still hesitant to commit to the Apple devices. Price is a big hurdle, and the Kindle is far cheaper. And some schools are less interested in the full functioning whiz-bang awesomeness of the iPad (whatever that means) than they are in simply handing out dedicated e-readers to students.
The Kindle also needs to fight off competition from the Barnes and Noble Nook, which is reportedly planning on opening up to more apps later this year. As this great NPR story this weekend pointed out, the Nook is really an Android tablet, and can be rooted to function as such. Many schools are waiting for a viable Android tablet option, and it could be the Nook.
Amazon likely hopes not, and by getting more educational apps for Kindle, may be trying to stay in the race.