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Why Apple struggles to get more iPads in schools

It's going to take more than saving frogs from a grisly death for Apple to take over schools.The company annou...

Posted: Mar 29, 2018 5:20 PM
Updated: Mar 29, 2018 5:20 PM

It's going to take more than saving frogs from a grisly death for Apple to take over schools.

The company announced its latest iPad update at an education themed press event on Tuesday inside a Chicago public school.

The flashiest news was that the $326 iPad now works with the $99 Apple Pencil stylus. Apple wants schools to buy these products at a slightly discounted rate so students can create art, immerse themselves in history and, yes, dissect virtual frogs.

The vision looks good on stage. But between the prevalence of cheaper Chromebooks in schools, and tight public school-budgets, it might not be enough to help Apple reclaim the education market.

Chromebooks are laptops and tablets running Google's Chrome operating system, and they are cheap. A low-end model can cost $150. They also entice schools with free access to Google's G Suite for Education and unlimited cloud storage. School IT departments like them as well.

"Chromebooks are much easier to get started with and more forgiving of mistakes. They are also much less demanding on the schools technology infrastructure," said Hal Friedlander, CEO of the non-profit Technology for Education Consortium.

Friedlander, who formerly served as chief information officer for New York City's Department of Education, now helps schools choose and buy technology. He says the recent announcement won't change how schools think about the cost of deploying iPads.

Related: Apple spring event 2018: A new iPad and 4 other takeaways

Five years ago, Google overtook Apple as the preferred technology company in US schools. Its Chromebooks make up almost 60% of mobile devices shipped to schools, according to Futuresource Consulting. Microsoft has a slight lead over Apple, but both claim around 20% of the market.

The choice of Chromebooks over iPads can also reflect a school's vision for how kids should learn, via more creative approaches or practical ones.

"Apple has always targeted the type of customer that is looking to invest in creative technologies for learning," says Ben Davis, an analyst at Futuresource Consulting. "Chromebooks have prioritized providing an affordable solution to bring digital productivity into classrooms and support online testing."

Apple is sticking with that approach. It announced a new free curriculum called Everyone Can Create, which helps teachers use creative tools (music, photography, drawing) to liven up drier topics (math, English, science).

It also made a new app called Schoolwork to help teachers to manage a classroom of kids swiping away on their iPads.

Apple has a long history in schools and a reputation for building quality products that kids love. But most school districts making purchasing decisions still think about cost first.

"It seems like many of the changes Apple originally inspired in classrooms have now gotten away from them," said Friedlander. "Unless they bring a revolution to learning technology like the revolution they have brought to personal technology, they will be forced to compete on price."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31257

Reported Deaths: 1114
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds253640
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Madison131434
Jones112849
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Lauderdale91079
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Jackson63816
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Leflore49151
Grenada4905
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Lamar4657
Pike44112
Monroe40330
Sunflower4008
Lafayette3934
Attala36123
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Panola3526
Bolivar34014
Newton3399
Simpson3233
Adams31318
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Tate28810
Marion28411
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Claiborne27910
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Clay25111
Marshall2343
Smith21811
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Clarke20724
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Kemper17914
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Carroll16611
Humphreys1509
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Tippah13111
Hancock13013
Webster12710
Jefferson Davis1124
Jefferson1083
Prentiss1083
Greene1058
Tunica1053
Wilkinson949
Amite912
George893
Tishomingo831
Quitman780
Choctaw744
Alcorn712
Perry674
Stone651
Franklin452
Benton380
Sharkey380
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 45263

Reported Deaths: 1007
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5410152
Montgomery4158103
Mobile4129134
Tuscaloosa232142
Marshall172410
Madison14917
Lee141137
Shelby133423
Morgan11215
Walker97824
Elmore94314
Franklin89814
Baldwin8949
Dallas8919
Etowah75013
DeKalb7375
Chambers64227
Butler63428
Autauga61012
Tallapoosa60569
Russell5650
Houston5074
Unassigned50323
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Lauderdale4966
Lowndes47221
Cullman4594
Pike4375
Colbert4086
St. Clair4022
Escambia3966
Coffee3812
Calhoun3765
Covington3707
Bullock36910
Barbour3532
Talladega3177
Hale31421
Marengo31211
Dale2990
Wilcox2948
Sumter28512
Jackson2842
Clarke2776
Winston2633
Chilton2522
Blount2431
Monroe2392
Pickens2366
Marion23313
Conecuh2107
Randolph2099
Macon1999
Choctaw19512
Bibb1941
Greene1868
Perry1791
Henry1363
Crenshaw1253
Washington1117
Lawrence1100
Cherokee1027
Geneva830
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Fayette711
Clay692
Coosa591
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