Chromebooks still beat Apple’s iPad is one crucial way

“Earlier this week we saw Apple CEO Tim Cook take the stage with a sales pitch designed to convince schools to end their love affair with Google’s Chromebook and make a switch to the iPad,” Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes for ZDNet. “But the Chromebook still beats the iPad in one critical way.”

“I’m talking about the keyboard,” Kingsley-Hughes writes. “Yes, as simple a distinction as that seems, this is one key way that the Chromebook as the iPad totally beat. Whether we are talking about the on-screen keyboard, Apple’s physical keyboard for the iPad, or the myriad of third-party keyboards out there that are available for the tablet, they all come a very distant second to the built-in physical keyboard found on the Chromebook.”

“Yes, sure, you can make do with an iPad, and you might be able to do things with the iPad that you can’t do with a Chromebook – such as record video or have access to AR – but as soon as you have more than a few hundred words to type, that keyboard problem is ready to bite you at a moment’s notice,” Kingsley-Hughes writes. “If the iPad really were the true laptop killer that Apple claims it is, Cook would have pulled the plug on the lower-end MacBooks. He hasn’t done that.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Kingsley-Hughes obviously hasn’t given the Logitech Rugged Combo 2 its due.

The crucial way Chromebooks beat iPad is on the price tag. Shortsighted, poorly-managed, and/or poorly-funded school systems will se only that initial price tag and nothing else; not Total Cost of Ownership, not resale value, and not ability to tech children how to think and learn creatively.

As always, the richest and/or most forward-thinking schools will have Apple solutions and the rest won’t. The former will produce the type of people that will get the best jobs.

Apple’s new iPad can only be good news – March 29, 2018
New iPad’s enemy isn’t just Chromebooks, it’s the U.S. public education system – March 28, 2018
Logitech’s Rugged Combo 2 keyboard and case for Apple’s iPad has its own smart connector – March 28, 2018
Apple’s new 9.7-inch iPad offers 2GB of RAM, 2.2 GHz A10 processor – March 28, 2018
How Apple lost its place in the classroom – March 28, 2018
Apple bids for education market with new software, new iPad – March 27, 2018
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


  1. None of the Chromebooks support the advanced AR that the new iPads do. Schools buy for the future, that gives the iPad a huge advantage. Lost in many of the discussions about the new iPad is Apple’s statement about the new AR sensors in the new iPad. This will be important to many schools. As will Swift Playgrounds.

    1. For those properties, I can see some school districts opting to purchase the new iPads for shared use similar to how computer labs have been organized. This would be in addition to fulfilling their 1:1 with Chromebooks should cash be left over.

    1. but 5 yrs ago, Apple owned edu, per an article posted on MDN just last week. Apple had made significant gains, even though cost never matched Windows (main competitor), but those gains have been lost. Sure, price did and will factor into the mix, but losing gains, while pricing didn’t change radically, speaks to losing sight of the reason edu “rejoined” Apple. This happened in-spite the products not being the least expensive…or maybe being one of the priciest. There was a far amount of leadership transition in Apple Edu in ’11-’13. Perhaps this played a part, but one would think someone up the chain would/should have observed some telling signs?

    2. True. A chrome book is essentially a dummy terminal that can be monitored. An iPad is more complicated to lock down and easier to “own”…especially when administrators are dumb enough to allow users to setup with their own iCloud account.

      1. Both are dumb terminals. The only difference is Apple fanbois think their gated garden is prettier.

        Instead of destroying cheap chromebooks with a fully capable Mac with unbeatable software, security, and management, at competitive prices, Apple has decided to offer a more expensive version of Googleware with zero functionality advantage. Let’s not forget Apple outsources iCloud to Google and Amazon. So what technical advantages does Cook offer with a discounted thin client tablet?

        When iCloud is cracked, which is only a matter of time when you have kids that have no concept of security because nobody including Apple is teaching them, then we shall see whether social justice warrior and fashionista Cook can walk the walk. Software quality at Apple has noticeably declined for half a decade. Why would you trust the new Microsoft of Cupertino to manage your data, security, and parental protections?

        It sure is a shame that even Apple management doesn’t know the advantage of a Mac. They are doing everything they can do to use the image of the quality and value Jobs put into the Mac to sell overpriced sealed disposable tablets with no value advantage over any other Foxconn assembled gadgets.

  2. I’m just not sure why Wall Street or the news media makes a big deal out of Apple not taking the educational market and continues praising Chromebooks as the market leader. Are those companies selling Chromebooks to schools actually making any profit at all? Again, it’s always about who has the most market share percentage even if the winner doesn’t have that much in the way of financial success. Leading in market share percentage while losing money is just stupid.

    Of course, Wall Street always believes that whoever has the most market share percentage will somehow take over everything in the end. I suppose they completely forgot how Nokia fared with all that market share percentage.

    I think Apple could have decided to give some schools free iPads for pilot programs just to give them a taste of what iPads could do for students. Maybe Apple could show some schools that the cheapest product isn’t always the best solution to learning. Apple could certainly afford to do that much now without breaking the bank. I personally think that it would be foolish for Apple to compete against Chromebooks in schools if there’s no profit in it at all. That is just bad business unless Apple decides to become a non-profit organization.

    1. Nokia failed against the smartphone market of which Apple was only one player. Do you actually believe iPhones single-handed was the end of Nokia? From recent reports they are attempting to make a comeback with Android handsets. Currently in the European market but gearing up for U.S. sales soon.

  3. In other news:
    Netbooks beat MacBooks in one crucial way.
    Zune beat the iPod in one crucial way.
    Android beats iPhone in one crucial way.
    Windows beats MacOS and then OSX in one crucial way.

    Wait… who is the largest and most profitable company – by far?

  4. Chromebooks have the tiniest dongs. If you want a big dong, your very own 8=========o of superior performance, you need an iP========d.

  5. Apple doesn’t offer a 1st party keyboard for the newest iPad, that says it all. While Logitech keyboards are good (I have one for my iPad Mini) it’s not an Apple keyboard. Apple has been obsessed with touchscreens for so long that they are blind to the fact that keyboards still dominate in text input that is longer than text messages and social media posts. Kids in school should have the best keyboards as they learn to type, it’s far more important than a retina screen and Pencil support. The importance of learning to type is probably a foreign concept in Cupertino.

    1. “The importance of learning to type is probably a foreign concept in Cupertino.”

      Beyond that: I am contracted to a school system for a specialized teaching position.

      iPads, Pencils, etc. without a keyboard are going to be dependent on handwriting recognition. There is a huge problem with that.

      I have been in this school system for 15 years in various capacities and I see a trend that will cause major problems. It is a school system that gets academic awards and rightly so, but that is from the student group that will be high achievers no matter what due to how their parents raise them. 25% of the total student body maybe.

      Based on what I see every day, 30-50% of the high school students can only print, and do that poorly. Cursive writing is only taught by parents at home for the most part, I know that very little actual time is spent teaching it in the primary grades.

      The problem gets worse every year with every new class that passes through.

      (Don’t worry, their ability to play games gets better every year)

      So what exactly does Apple expect the iPad/Pencil system to accomplish?

      1. Cursive writing is pointless in a society that no longer writes lengthy letters to one another. If the argument for it is “note taking”, shorthand would be a better skill. Times change. We also are no longer taught Greek and Latin.

      2. Very good point. I’d also make the case that both handwriting and typing practice would benefit far more students long-term than coding classes. Show students the basics, but the 1% who will really want to do it can do so on their own time or in special classes later on. Many students are poor readers and writers, that’s a huge problem that tech isn’t going to solve.

  6. I see lots of arguments about keyboards and open functionality. The reality is that “in the future”, these are not a factor. Teachers need to evolve from everything being printed word to other expressions: photos, spoken word, movies, augmented reality. That WILL happen, but realistically, probably not in my lifetime.

    The actual reason that Apple will not regain school purchases truly is money. If the teachers were running things, they would insure the students got the BEST resources, but schools are run by superintendents, boards and other such bean counters. As long as the solution is cheap, they will be re-elected or re-appointed. Quality is ABSOLUTELY secondary to cost! And yet everyone wonders why US education sucks.

  7. I thought the guys over at MacWorld had a pretty good comparison.

    I don’t like the whole Google data collection, but G Suite (particularly Docs) is so much better than iCloud and that’s the real hang up. That and the iPad’s lack of any kind of a real file system, for move things into or out of it. The way it is now is a total pain.

    If Apple had iCloud set up like G Suite with all of the privacy things they do, that would be the end-all-be-all for portable computing. As it is now, iCloud is just too clunky and not really much of an production suite by comparison.

  8. It’s almost as though Apple, realizing their current user base isn’t buying into their, ‘The iPad is better than a computer!’, shenanigans is going after children that don’t know any better. The iPad is a cool tool, but that’s it. Chromebooks aren’t exactly fantastic, either. Neither is overemphasis on technology in classrooms in general. That can come later, it’s as absurd as ‘Everyone should code!’. There’s nothing wrong with technological literacy, certainly, but neither Apple nor Google knows what the heck they are doing.

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