In 2018, Apple aggressively attacked its interest in education: It presented a new iPad at a Chicago Business School, announced a number of educational initiatives and wrapped up the year with a media event at a Brooklyn Music Academy. Yesterday, despite the threatening threat of new tariffs on iPhone and laptops, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited an Idaho school in addition to Presidential Consultant Ivanka Trump, who collectively portray Apple's $ 100 million donation in hardware to low income districts.
Cook's Looks Did not Make me remarkable because of something he said or did while in Idaho, but rather because of what happened outside school during the visit. Apple's 2016 donation was spread over 1
14 schools in 29 states, reported Idaho Statesman, focusing on "district where the low income student population is at least 96 percent." Two years later, Cook was greeted at a recipient of Idaho school with crowds of supporters and protesters, including one who criticized Apple's donated iPads as a bad replacement for "real education."
It's tempting to write this off as a "damn if you do it, damn if you do not." Instead of ignoring a school with low literacy levels and little money for education technology, Apple jumped in, and some students, parents and teachers appreciated donations. Sure, a handful of people criticized the company after it literally handed iPads to each student and learned in a low-income school area, but what could it have done better?
If there is any correct answer to that question, it's this: Apple needs to start offering alternatives that most grade schools can afford on their own. After growing up during Apple's upturn and fall, I experienced the first-hand company's efforts to regain its foot in the K-12 education market. No matter where and when it failed, the reason was the same, that it had been subjugated by lower competitors with "good enough" solutions. At one point came "good enough" instead of "insanely big" to legitimize school district technology expectations.
Over: iPad 2017 9.7-inch with a third-party keyboard that requires separate charging. About 30 years ago, Apple II computers dominated class computer labs, but as personal computers became both powerful and common, Apple's expensive Macintosh was fought to take up the classroom from IBM- compatible PCs. After Dell and Compaq flooded the market with Windows PCs, Apple tried to convince price-focused administrators to see its products as long-term investments. Nevertheless, the iMacs and eMacs never have displaced PCs, and in the MacBook / iPad era, the schools are instead equipped with students with affordable Chromebooks.
Apple faces a bigger challenge today than it did decades ago, when schools only bought dozens of computers for "lab" classrooms, and teachers were given similar or slightly better models. Computers have become essential enough for modern education that self-school schools purchase Chromebooks by hundreds or thousands, and sometimes distribute them on a student basis.
As a result, Apple's current problem is any fifth grade matte student able to understand: multiplication. Students need laptops with physical keyboards, and the entry price for a Chromebook keyboard is around $ 200. Several times 500 students and the school's cost is $ 100,000. By comparison, Apple's least expensive laptop is $ 999, which costs almost 500,000 dollars for 500 students. Even if you go down to the most basic iPad model with a third party keyboard case, a school will still pay $ 400 per student – twice the cost of a Chromebook.
I'm the first to admit that having trouble is as easy to fix as they look superficial and just to say "it's about price, stupid" does not mean it's actually that simple. But after the release of this year's iPads (as I reviewed in March), it should be more obvious that Apple's pricing strategy does not work for schools. The company marketed its latest 9.7-inch iPad directly to students and teachers, adding a faster processor and pencil support. But if you look at the results of your marketing efforts, iPad unit sales barely changed from last year's figures. I want to say that sales remain stagnant because the iPad entry price was the same, and keychain schools were looking for – a physical keyboard – was still not included.
Over: Apple's new iPad Pro has a "Smart Keyboard" accessory – if you're willing to pay almost $ 1000 for your tablet and keyboard.
There is no doubt that Apple's latest iPad entry level is a better and more versatile device than a basic Chromebook. It has a better processor, twin cameras, enhanced reality support, one million games, support for the first Apple pencil, and so on. But most schools do not care more about these things than the price, and to the extent that they do, they will buy hundreds of Chromebooks and allow students to share a handful of iPads.
A partial solution, and an Apple is undoubtedly considering, is to add an iPad Pro-style Smart Connector to the next entry level iPad. It would make use of a keyboard case even easier than it is today and if Apple dropped its current Smart Keyboard pricing a bit, an iPad could sell with a physical keyboard for around $ 400. It would not really solve Apple's price problem, but It would address an important feature gap better than the options available today.
Donation of hardware to low income students was a wonderful gesture, and regardless of whether the parents in Idaho appreciate the gifts the children were given, Apple deserves credit to use their significant resources to improve the technology of over 100 schools. However, unless Apple continues to donate iPads, the only way to dramatically improve its position in the education market is to start producing products that most school districts and young students can afford on their own.
If it means that it compromises an iPad's materials or have a bit to beat a lower price point, please. Apple's industrial designers and engineers are all up to the task, and nobody – especially cash-tight school administrators – will think. But it does not make sense for the company to continue repeating the same experiment again and again expecting different results. Given the experiences through 2018, I hope Apple will try something new and dramatically different early in 2019.