New iPad’s enemy isn’t just Chromebooks, it’s the U.S. public education system

“Apple is pivoting the iPad toward students to help spur sales while adding new capabilities for both students and teachers. But some analysts and education experts we interviewed don’t sound that bullish on its future. And the momentum around Chromebooks isn’t the only obstacle,” Mark Spoonauer reports for LAPTOP Magazine. “It’s also about how the U.S. approaches education.”

“‘Apple has doubled down on its vision for learning through creativity,’ said Ben Davis, senior market analyst for education content and platforms at Futuresource Consulting. ‘Increased range support for Pencil and the provision of education focused AR tools should make for some interesting use cases in the classroom and may well entice new schools to go Apple,'” Spoonauer reports. “But that doesn’t mean schools will be abandoning Chromebooks anytime soon. For one, the price of the new iPad is more expensive than it seems at first blush.”

“‘If we consider the cost of the ruggedized accessories — the keyboard from Logitech at $99 and their Crayon at $49 — that would splace the new iPad at roughly $450, above a lot of Chromebooks playing in the space,’ said Lauren Guenveur, senior research analyst for IDC’s devices and displays team,” Spoonauer reports. “The problem for Apple is that Chromebooks have become the de facto device for many school districts. In fact, Futureshource says that Chromebooks account for 56.9 percent market share in the U.S., compared to just 10.6 percent share for iOS and 3.5 percent for MacOS. Windows is in the middle with 25.6 percent… [Beyond sticker price], another reason for the Chromebook’s success in U.S. schools is what educators are deeming most important for children. And during recent years, America has been prioritizing testing over creative solutions for learning.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: What U.S. public schools have been prioritizing, test-taking over creative solutions for learning, is wrong. Generating a bunch of people adept at memorization, but unable to think creatively and who can learn in myriad ways, is a recipe for failure.

Google’s Chromebooks are still spying on grade school students – April 21, 2017
Apple CEO Cook on Google Chromebooks in U.S. schools: We’re not interested in making ‘test machines’ – December 11, 2015
Steve Jobs & Rush Limbaugh agree: U.S. public schools are ‘unionized in the worst possible way’ – February 20, 2007
Apple CEO blasts teacher unions, says US schools are ‘unionized in the worst possible way’ – February 16, 2007


  1. When Apple did their first push into education with the iPad, they did not have the management tools ready and it became a nightmare for administrators and support (almost nonexistent). Google classroom sealed the deal for the switch to chromebooks.

  2. G@@gles Marketing Dept, should get all the credit. Push a cheap, disposable device, let EVERYONE make them, use a so-so OS and get everyone saying your name over and over again. People will GIVE away their data and souls because society has become lazy. Testing is driving lots of these purchases, even though most of the school districts do nothing with the data. Teaching and Learning hasn’t changed because of it, and all those Administrators need something to do. It starts from the top down and most Superintendents have no clue and don’t expect much from their principals either.

  3. “America has been prioritizing testing over creative solutions for learning.”

    While that may work in the Arts, Letters, and Humanities, to a degree, Johnny doesn’t get to opine on what 2+2 should equal. Heck, the grammar police alone will eat him up with arbitrary rules. What would the STEM guys do with real ones?

    Anyway.. what does an iPad do that a Chromebook doesn’t?
    Why is this not part of the discourse?

    1. A chromebook is cheap and easy to administer/control.

      It’s not the chromebook is google classroom. That is the key here. Google classroom is OS agnostic..can be accessed with PC, Mac, is a web interface. Apples newly announced equivalent is not. I’m an Apple fan, but it’s difficult to justify against googles more mature, more flexible solution. The only scary thing about it (other than privacy…), is if google decides to drop it. It’s so imbedded in education, however, I don’t think that will happen.

  4. Maybe there’s no place in the education market for Apple. Schools want keyboards. They want notebooks, not tablets. So the iPad is really starting at $399 for them.

    They can either make a hybrid Mac/iOS operating system that allows for cheaper notebooks like the Chromebook and give schools the proper technical support that comes with it, or they need not bother competing at all.

  5. If you click on the Article it says nothing about attacking U.S. education. However, it does talk about creative solutions. Your headline is way off. Your spin about memorization comes with little to no references or source information. Just please for the sake of the site think about how you posit your articles. I would like to have an Apple centered “news” site to go to on a consistent basis.

    1. The headline changes happen from time to time, always fun to see what they come up with. The original head line talks about beating Chromebooks, and MDN’s headline talks about enemies. So many enemies, insinuations of violence, not much of a sign of allies.

      All very patriotic for a war mongering country.

        1. And, when MDN covered the article, what was the headline? I’ll bet you it was “New iPad’s Enemy Isn’t Just Chromebooks, It’s Our Education System.”

  6. Apple has been bungling along in the Education market for at least two decades. Read the article at Apple Insider.

    For Example:
    In 2001, Apple announced the $62 million acquisition of PowerSchool, described as “the leading provider of web-based student information systems for K-12 schools and school districts.” Apple sold PowerSchool to Pearson in 2006 after doing little with it, as part of an expanded partnership between the companies on textbooks. A PowerSchool Mobile app is available in the App Store.

    Apple held an education event, similar to this week’s in New York back in 2012, when it debuted iBooks 2 for the iPad. Apple debuted its Classroom app, meant to provide a toolset to teachers, in 2016, along with iOS 9.3

    Otherwise not much effort in this critical sector from Apple.

    Besides much better pricing, Apple needs to consistently be developing their Educational ecosystem: Classroom management apps, hardware management apps, ongoing incentives for educational software developers, a consistent pricing system for bulk hardware purchases, option for schools to buy hardware from 3rd party resellers, a network of educational reps which visit schools and demo the advantages of the Apple ecosystem.

    Anyone want to bet that it will be another 6 years before Apple has another Education event or before the Classroom app makes it to version 3.0?

  7. It’s about money. Period. I worked in Education. You heard those kids- arm those teachers with pencils.. pens.. supplies… iPads! My school district cut back on Apple supplies because it was just so much cheaper to get those damn Chromebooks!

  8. My kids are out of school now so I have nothing to check.
    Do the Chromebooks track and harvest student data for Google? If so, this could be another very big privacy issue.

  9. In these days of extreme gun violence, it seems that priorities are all out of line.

    The school I teach at adopted chrome books. We now have a technology team of six.

    Before the chrome books, we had a team of 2.

    So without chrome books which will
    Have to be replaced every few years and with those four extra tech people converted to resource officers. We would
    Have five officers and maybe the thirty or forty all-glass fire exits, the ones in every single classroom could be replaced with something a little more secure.

    Doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have an incident. But it does mean we wouldn’t be as mushy a target. And the kids would be no worse off without those miserable google test machines.

  10. Apple isn’t hungry enough or desperate enough to challenge Google or Chromebooks. Maybe Apple shouldn’t even bother to go after schools and go after health organizations with iPads which might be more suitable for tracking patient care.

    Apple honestly doesn’t seem like a company that can get down and dirty or participate in street brawls. Apple always likes to play by their profit margin rules and that’s what’s going to be Apple’s biggest problem. Investors don’t care about rules. Big investors are only interested in a company doing anything to win some lucrative market. That’s the reason Amazon and Google will always be valued higher on Wall Street than Apple.

    I’m not certain if the education market is even worth Apple’s time and effort but apparently Wall Street does. I don’t see how selling $180 Chromebooks to schools makes any sort of financial sense. It must be some mind-share win or something. It only seems like bad business to me. If schools don’t see the benefit of paying more for a better-built device then there’s nothing to be done about it (provided Apple’s iOS platform is actually better than the Chrome OS platform). I understand schools have limited budgets so it makes sense to go with the lowest cost device.

    Apple will just have to admit there are some markets it can’t compete in. It’s quite possible that Apple’s educational software is inferior to Google’s educational software but it’s not for me to decide. If everything is being decided by the lower cost of entry, that could be unfair for students.

  11. A local school just went to all iPad. The reason, Swift Playgrounds and the Code Everywhere program. The students at almost all levels love it and the school feels this is the best way to get kids coding. The new AR Swift modules and the new iPad will put Apple even further ahead in this vital area.

  12. Apple knows best and doesn’t listen.

    So people are making other choices.

    No surprises here.

    It was fun while it lasted, but this Apple has lost its way and is becoming the 1990s Microsoft.

  13. Apple has been a dilettante in education for a very long time.

    Who uses iTunes University? Nobody- they use Coursera, EdX, Udacity, Khan Academy. Apple got there first and then failed to follow through.

    Remember AppleWorks? Apple let it twist in the wind for a very long time before killing it and then has half heartedly supported Pages, Numbers and Keynote.

    Remember purchased music lessons on GarageBand? That lasted about 5 minutes.

    Remember the eMAc? Apple let it grow old and then spiked it instead of offering a low cost Mac to the classroom. You could add the widely ignored Mac mini to that list.

    Powerschool- sold before it dies from a lack of investment.

    There are plenty more.

    Even if Apple introduced a world beater suite of SW and HW< i would be reluctant to suggest it to a school because Apple has a long track record of abandoning these efforts after long periods of non investment.

  14. i’ve been there done that in this failure of a school system.
    our small school tried the iPad system from apple and i have never been part of these comments till now because…..well the whole apple arrogance thing pops up. Apple massive failure. why trust them again. I”ve had macs since the first in 84 (shows my age:) )
    hardware ISN’T THE PROBLEM, apple failed our school when we started the iPads 4 years ago with just like you said

    we spent $$$$ on faith and had a miserable experience
    so when google classroom came out and pushed aside the arrogance and “simply worked” oxymoron well we are leaving. the iPads are in great shape and still access the cloud based classroom. Google classroom is OS agnostic.

    fool me once — apples fault fool me twice well….ain’t happening.

    sorry for the rant, first post ever. But this apple education effort stinks of the past, I lived it first hand and am embarrassed by it.

  15. I believe Apple is not really trying to compete with anybody but instead trying to affect change in the education culture. I think most people by now realize that Apple’s ideas about learning are better for this century.
    Someone mentioned earlier about investors and lucrative markets. That’s pretty funny considering that Apple may already have more money than all the FANG companies combined.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.