Apple bids for education market with new software, new iPad

“Apple Inc on Tuesday rolled out a new iPad and classroom software aimed at grabbing more of the U.S. education market, but did not cut the price of its entry-level tablet despite schools flocking to laptops costing a third less,” Richa Naidu and Stephen Nellis report for Reuters. “Apple is looking to reassert dominance in U.S. schools, where inexpensive laptops running software from Alphabet Inc’s Google and Microsoft Corp now top iPad by sales, offering a cheap way to get to cloud-based productivity tools.”

“The new iPad has a more powerful computing chip and an extensive set of new, free software for teachers to manage students and schoolwork. But the unchanged starting price of $299 for students and $329 for the general public, without a keyboard or case, compares with less than $200 for some Windows and Google Chrome models,” Naidu and Nellis report. “Despite the new software, Apple faces a tough battle in the educational market given the popularity of Google and Microsoft’s productivity suites, said Carolina Milanesi of Creative Strategies. Google’s G Suite fueled Chromebook sales because it was seen as easy to use to manage assignments. ‘Most teachers don’t look past G Suite for education,’ she said.”

Classroom, the powerful teaching assistant on iPad, is coming to the Mac
Classroom, the powerful teaching assistant on iPad, is coming to the Mac

Apple’s “event came during a spring buying season when many schools are making purchasing decisions for the upcoming school year,” Naidu and Nellis report. “The Apple Pencil remains priced at $99 for the public and $89 for schools, though Lenovo [sic] [recte Logitech] will release a device called Crayon for $49, the first third-party stylus to work with the iPad.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s iPad solutions for education are expensive only to those who have no earthly idea what they’re looking at.

Check out the best schools: Apple Macs and iPads dominate.

Apple takes aim at Google Chromebook with $299 iPad with Apple Pencil support for schools – March 27, 2018
Did Apple do enough to grab back education market share? – March 27, 2018
Apple unveils new 9.7-inch iPad with Apple Pencil support starting at $329 – March 27, 2018
Apple unveils ‘Everyone Can Create’ curriculum – March 27, 2018
Apple’s iWork update brings drawing, book creation and more to Pages, Numbers and Keynote – March 27, 2018
MacDailyNews presents live coverage of Apple’s March 27th ‘Field Trip’ event – March 27, 2018
Google’s Chromebooks are still spying on grade school students – April 21, 2017
Newsflash: Apple sells premium products at premium prices to premium customers – October 23, 2012


  1. Apple has a chicken and egg problem of schools not purchasing iPads till they have customized learning material created by faculty for the iPad, and faculty having no intention of making such materials till iPads are in classrooms.

    Perhaps to help ramp up curriculum development, Apple should open up the format for use via Chromebooks and PC/Macs initially and make sure iPads are the best devices to consume those lessons. After a large enough ‘library’ of material has accumulated for schools, iPads will look so much better as a purchase option for at least mid-range schools.

  2. Two realities Apple faces to retake the hill in battle:

    1) Cost. Yes, the iPad is superior in many ways. But if lower cost competitors can do much of the same and more, guess who the bean counters prefer.

    2) IT. As Apple disciples we do abhor the omnipresent oversight. But the big reality is IT does not favor Apple for whatever reasons and that influences school administrators whether the deck is fair or stacked.

    I sensed the same detachment from Apple regarding all the issues that school decision makers care about. I don’t think a $30 price cut will do it and fear while a step in the right direction, not sure if it is enough to win the battle …

    1. Yes, these are the two big realities, and Apple is still behind the power curve and blind kf they think that what they showed yesterday will be in any way adequate.

      For example, on Cost, the announced price point of $299 is 17% more ($50) than what the iPad sold for at last Thanksgiving’s “Black Friday” sales.

      That’s not trivial, particularly since the primary overt source of differentiation is the Pencil, which will only become evident after one spends an additional $100 – – you’re simply not going to spend that additional $3000 per room of elementary school kids, especially when teachers are personally shelling out of their own pocket for more basic supplies.

      And on IT, maybe these new tools do whats needed, but it wasn’t obvious from the headline.

      Bottom line – Apple dropped the Ball on EDU and Chrome picked it up and is running with it. Its going to take a LOT of work (and LOT of money – – including the willingness to NOT make profits) to have any chance of getting back the market. As we’ve seen with a lot of other initiatives at Apple (Hello, Mac Pro), the Corporation has the money, but simply lacks the fortitude and will.


      1. I posted this on a Wednesday story, but it bears repeating:

        Cook is a typical, although highly wealthy, West Coast gay liberal in that music (Beats), movies (hiring producers for Apple shows), fashion (Angela), books (Ive), architecture (door knobs, et al.) are ALL fun shiny celebrity bling things he cares deeply about.

        What he does not care deeply about is rolling up his sleeves, digging deep and sweating dirty details on any products outside these areas that seem more of a distraction and off his prissy radar.

        He would rather fly on a private jet to Paris and stroll the red carpet sipping fine wine wearing the coolest Apple Watch over visiting the backwoods of his rural home state to meet down to earth people and drive a tractor, change a truck tire or milk the cows. Just like elitist Hillary in that detached regard. OK, fine.

        But that only adds to his neglect of the hard things of figuring out how to build, maintain commitment to software, upgrades to equipment, support for education and all things that BUILT the foundation of Apple.

        We need a CEO that can do all these things and do them well. As the education event proves, just shaving $30 off another little less pricey product he and the rest of Apple just does not get educational needs in today’s economy. They may have the adoring cosmopolitan press on their side, but at the same time are clueless to cash strapped schools from the inner cities to the heartland.

        The Chicago event was just a big show (hey look here we’re doing something, FINALLY) and will change little sadly, is my guess. Hope I’m wrong.

        Another area I won’t even get into is Mac neglect.

        Apple owner since my Lisa …

  3. Apple was foolish to let their lead in education atrophy just like they were foolish not to pursue AppleTV full steam ahead from the beginning, IMO.

    But, the bottom line is still the bottom line: Apple remains the wealthiest company in the history of capitalism.

    An amazing achievement.

    1. Agreed.

      Just as foolish to let their lead vanish with desktop supercomputers. A market they single handily created in PC A.D. 1980s.

      But it is heartening to know they are finally coming around in several neglected areas for far too long.

      We shall see …

  4. Too little, too late. Once Chromebooks worked out most of their bugs and had multiple vendors innovating to make better hardware, Apple should have seen it, as many of us did, and responded. Now, it’s three to four years later. I managed the IT for a large high school iPad rollout (1,500 iPads) in 2012. I love iPads, but they’re still too expensive for schools. Schools don’t need the latest, most powerful iPads, they need inexpensive ones, because there are a LOT of additional costs which come into play, not the least of which are for apps, training and mobile device management. What Apple should be doing is providing schools with iPads one or two generations old, ones for which all R&D/production costs have been covered and can be provided to schools for something in the $150 range with 2 or 3 year warranty (or, better, a 3-year buyback/trade-in commitment). If they’d been doing this all along, Chromebooks would never have gained the hold they have, and Apple would have an even larger ecosystem generating app revenue.
    In 2015, my daughter’s school realized they would not be able to afford iPads for a 1:1 program for at least two years. I evaluated some Chromebooks and was amazed how much better they’d gotten. I advised them through a 1:1 rollout of Chromebooks which cost $200 for device, protective case, and perpetual Google managment license. Finishing up the third school year, the program has been fantastic, only a few of the devices have needed to be taken out of service, and there is no way this school is going to change to iPads now with these prices. I am sure many many schools are in the same boat. And three years later, Chromebooks are even better and cheaper.
    Apple might get schools and districts which have not yet issued Chromebooks or PC laptops and will be excited about these educational programs, but they won’t win any converts with these prices. Apple has such high margins, maybe they can’t understand how the non-profit world works.
    Yes, I’d love for Apple to dominate the education market once again, but I don’t really think they want to. They certainly have the resources to do it.
    “I wish that I could be like the cool kids, ‘cause all the cool kids, they got the iPads…”

  5. I saw that frog dissection program on the iPad. Awesome. Even now I’d like to try something like that but more with something for the human body. When I was a child I had these large medical books with layered illustrations. I used to spend hours just looking at those books. I couldn’t believe all that stuff was inside me.

    I know Apple won’t win out in the schools because schools are going to stick with Chromebooks and won’t even consider purchasing iPads, but I think students are going to miss out on a lot. I believe those iPads have a lot to offer. It’s a darn shame Apple isn’t able to compete with other companies based on cost. Apple will always be the loser when it comes to low-bid contracts. I honestly don’t know how Apple was able to manage getting into schools all those decades ago.

  6. We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out. Surely, schools that are pressed for cash will opt for Chrome. Other schools that have better funding may opt for a better experience. It also depends where the money comes from. Sometimes schools can get access to grants for purposes like this. It was interesting that Apple is introducing the feature (forget the name) where each child can have an account and check out an iPad and when they log in it becomes their iPad. This would let a school share iPads among students. iPads could be used for special projects or only in one class rather than being assigned to one student all day. That would save money.

    We also don’t know how good Apple is at sales. Clearly this is not going to be a direct replacement for Chromebooks. Chromebooks may be OK for typing reports but won’t make books, do as well on videos or support AR like Apple. I don’t know how well the content for the iPad stacks up. It’s great to say there are 200,000 apps but if I were an instructor I’d like to see a full curriculum.

    I’m also curious how this fits in with the current school curriculum. For a learning experience the iPads sound fantastic. But now it seems schools have to teach to the test and have little time for learning anything else.

    1. A fair enough point, but .. just what school _isn’t_ pressed for cash?

      When teachers are buying pencils & glue out of their own pocket for their kids, you’re not going to see them dropping 30 * $100 = $3K for a classroom to have Apple Pencils for their iPads (assuming that the district found the money for the iPads).

      FWIW, the other factor that I just realized is absent from these discussions is “Teaching in a Mixed Environment”.

      Specifically, what I’m referring to is that the new software App seems to be pretty decent and will work with the 2018 iPad — but will it work with the 2017 iPad? Or the 2016 iPad?

      Any school which has made iPad investments is going to have a fleet of them of mixed ages (models) and they’re simply not going to be able to afford making a 100% replacement of their installed base in a single year just to be able to use this new App.

  7. There was a lot of value in what was presented today.. IMO
    Boils down to:
    Will it just work … as smoothly and integrated as the presentation showed ? 🤞
    Will the sales force be able to make the ‘decision makers’ see the value beyond a few Dollars?

    I liked what i saw…
    lets see how real life unfolds..

  8. What does all this have to do with society’s desperate need for more music and entertainment delivery devices?
    What are these “educations” and “business” things that you are speaking of?

    (irony alert is now off)

  9. Good to know! Apple is grabbing the education market with its innovative product. Though it’s product is a little bit expensive, I think they can overcome this obstacle with service quality. Although now there are lots of resources and platforms that can helps us on our education like is the name to go in terms of service and dedication. Their quality essay writing service really kept me ahead in my academic life.

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