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Is Apple's New iPad An Attempt To Gain Ground On Chromebooks?

Google has been ruling the classroom for quite some time but Apple is attempting to challenge Chromebook's dominance by releasing a cheaper and more student friendly iPad. 

"Over the last three years, Apple’s iPads and Mac notebooks — which accounted for about half of the mobile devices shipped to schools in the United States in 2013 — have steadily lost ground to Chromebooks, inexpensive laptops that run on Google’s Chrome operating system and are produced by Samsung, Acer and other computer makers," according to an early 2017 New York Times report.

Apple seems to have a plan that could jump-start a return to the education market. The company recently announced a brand new, lower-priced iPad, featuring a 9.7 inch display, as well as a Logitech assisted keyboard case that is pretty sturdy. Of course, the durability of an iPad in a classroom setting is important given the everyday wear and tear they may be put through. Apple is also hoping that the price reduction addresses the concern of affordability. The former price tag of the iPad couldn't compete with Google's Chromebook which sells at an average price of $300 per unit.

"Unit-wise, Chromebooks dominate K-12 sales. Futuresource Consulting says U.S. primary and secondary schools bought 12.6 million devices last year, including 7.3 million Chromebooks, 2.8 million Windows laptops and tablets, and 2.4 million iPads and Mac laptops," according to Fast Company.

Apple's new iPad will now be a direct price competitor with plenty of Chromebooks coming in at $299. For schools, there are packages offered, such as "new iPads in 10-packs at $2,940 for the 32 GB Wi-Fi model, and $3,940 for 10 of the 128 GB Wi-Fi model," according to the article, which also revealed that shipping costs will also be free for schools. 

"If you are looking to really change the teaching and learning experience for teachers and students, then investigate iPads," said education consultant Lucy Gray. "iPads allow for more flexibility, creativity, and personalization than any other device on the market."

That being said, Chromebook's ability to adapt to the needs of teachers and administrators has been pretty much unrivaled. Apple may have a small solution for that as well as they have updated the Apple Classroom App. The app's new features include the ability to manually create classes and invite nearby students, share documents, and mute audio on student devices. It hardly seems like enough to compete with the success of Chromebook software, however, it is a small step forward for Apple. 

 

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor.

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