I’m a bit annoyed.
Apple on Tuesday held an event in Chicago focused on its education customers. They offered a total solution that included an iPad and software to make learning in the classroom better for teachers and students, but somehow they are getting severely criticized for all of the announcements.
I’ve seen things written like, ‘Apple should have purchased a textbook company and given textbooks to all students for free,’ and the ‘new iPad isn’t cheap enough’, and the ‘iPad is missing many of the features of the Pro version.’
Let’s be clear, Apple couldn’t buy a textbook company and give them away even if they wanted to—the antitrust issues are too large. It’s a nice pipe dream, but it’s not based in reality. Criticizing Apple for that is just unfair.
In its 40 years of being in the education market, Apple has never been the cheapest product—they never will be. I don’t know why people expect Apple to all of a sudden just give away iPads to schools or even compete against a product like a cheap Chromebook on price.
Apple doesn’t make cheap products. Ever. They also don’t make shitty products. You can expect the iPad to last for years without breaking or becoming obsolete. I expect the return on investment for schools to be quite high when purchasing iPads for the classroom.
Comparing the entry level iPad that is designed for students and consumers to a pro model is just silly. The features we may need as pro users are not the same features students will need in the classroom. If Apple could sell the iPad Pro at that price, I’m sure they would, but it’s just not feasible.
What Apple did was look at the iPad and decide what features were needed by students in our schools and then make the product as affordable as possible. I think they delivered that product. Do students need True Tone for their display? No. How about front and rear cameras? That could come in handy, especially for AR or a field trip, and the iPad has that.
Does anyone really think the Chromebook is as feature rich and durable as an iPad? I don’t think so, but it is cheaper. That’s about all it’s got going for it.
I was never a fan of Web apps either, even when Apple introduced them with the original iPhone. There is no way Web apps are a better tool than native apps on the iPad and the App Store has 200,000 education apps available.
Apple screwed up a few years ago by not having the software and administration abilities on the iPad available for school districts. There is no question about that. But they have those features available now. Deployment of iPads is easier and teachers are able to interact with students using the technology.
I realize that school budgets are tight and every dollar counts. That’s a reality that we have to deal with everyday, but to think that Apple is going to compete with the Chromebook on price alone is delusional. Apple never competes on price in any market—they compete by having the best product and solutions available.
There are a few things we need to remember here.
Apple is not a charitable organization, they are a publicly traded company and have a responsibility to its shareholders. They have taken on markets like medicine and education to try and make them better in any way that they can. Do they plan to sell lots of products while doing that? Of course they do.
However, just because Apple has money in the bank, we can’t expect them to give away products to schools. Will every school district be able to afford Apple’s new education offerings? No, they won’t, but again this is not Apple’s fault.
We have societal issues in education that aren’t going to be fixed by Apple, and we shouldn’t expect one company to do it. Apple has a responsibility to offer schools the best products it can, at the best price it can. I believe they have done that.