“Lost amidst the red iPhone and death of iPad Air hoopla was Apple’s latest attempt to turnaround its education market: A $299 iPad,” Lance Ulanoff writes for Mashable. “The pricing for the new 9.7 iPad flagship is only for education institutions, but make no mistake, it’s a critical strategic move and one that could help revive the company’s tablet business.”

“In recent years, it’s been almost all Windows and Chromebooks with Apple, according to the research firm Futuresource, struggling to hold onto 20% (across Mac and iOS),” Ulanoff writes. “The firm puts Chromebook penetration at a whopping 58% in U.S. schools (two years ago, it was at 38%). Apple’s share has been dropping steadily in the last few years. In the U.S. Macs now sits at 5% and iOS tumbled from 26% in 2014 to 14% in 2016. Globally, iOS has held steady at 9%.”

“When Apple announced on Tuesday that the new 9.7-inch iPad (basically the iPad Air with a better processor and screen) would cost education institutions $299, I thought, ‘that’s interesting.’ Then they told me about the partnership with Logitech and the new $99.95 Logitech Combo case and Keyboard,” Ulanoff writes. “A custom-built device designed to turn the new iPad into a true ultra-portable.”

The $99.95 Logitech Rugged Combo, Case and Add-On Keyboard for the 9.7-inch iPad.

The $99.95 Logitech Rugged Combo, Case and Add-On Keyboard for the 9.7-inch iPad.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Good luck clawing back what’s been rapidly squandered, Mr. Cook.

U.S. public schools are cheap, underfunded, and/or extremely shortsighted. There’s nothing at all new about that, unfortunately.MacDailyNews, December 23, 2015.

In that world, where pretty much only sticker price matters, your $398.95 iPad + Logitech keyboard case is “too expensive” next to a $299 Chromebook test machine.

As we wrote earlier this month:

Apple needs to address the issues their products are facing in education posthaste. Shortsighted sticker-price buying has always plagued the education market and, as we all know, competing on sticker price is not Apple’s strong suit. Newsflash: Apple makes premium products at premium prices for premium users. Apple must continue to ensure that the highest quality schools are choosing and using Apple products, not cheap Chrome junk.

As we wrote last May: The cream-of-the-crop schools, like the cream-of-the-crop consumers and corporations, deploy Apple Macs and iPads, not cheapo plastic Chromebooks.

Unfortunately, too many U.S. public schools, unionized in the worst possible way, are broken through and through.

Lastly, as we wrote back in January 2016: There is no easy answer for a company dedicated to quality to compete in a market that’s hellbent on shortsightedly wasting taxpayers’ money on cheap, shitty junk.

Apple is losing its grip on American classrooms to cheap Chromebooks – March 2, 2017
Google’s Chromebooks outsold Apple’s Macs in the U.S. for the first time – May 20, 2016
Why iPads are losing to Chromebooks in education, and what Apple needs to do about it – January 13, 2016
Should Apple make a ‘CloudBook’ for the education market? – January 12, 2016
Can education give Apple’s iPad a much-needed sales boost? – January 12, 2016
Apple delivers multi-user support for iPad – in schools only – January 11, 2016
Apple loses more ground to Google’s Chromebook in U.S. education market – January 11, 2016
Why Apple devices are losing share to Chromebooks in U.S. public schools – December 23, 2015
Apple CEO Cook on Google Chromebooks in U.S. schools: We’re not interested in making ‘test machines’ – December 11, 2015
Apple pivoting iPad education strategy to regain its footing in face of Google Chromebook surge – December 5, 2014