The public school system in Eudora, Kan., for instance, used to have rolling carts of iPads for elementary school classrooms and MacBook carts for older students to share. But last year, when administrators wanted to provide a laptop for each high school student, the district bought 500 Chromebooks at about $230 each.
To compete with Chromebooks, Microsoft announced last month that it had worked with Acer, HP and Lenovo to develop low-cost Windows laptops for schools, with prices starting at $189.
This is sounding like a familiar refrain, but it seems like either Apple doesn’t care about this market or it completely misjudged its needs. I haven’t used a Chromebook, but at least on paper it seems like a near perfect machine for education: great price and durability, a real keyboard, a larger screen than on Apple’s cheaper devices, cloud-based productivity apps, and little need for administration. In some cases, students would need the full power of a Mac or PC, but for most education uses they don’t.
As a user of the candy-colored Macs in school and a developer on Apple platforms, it saddens me to hear Apple’s performance in this market. Education and design have been Apple bastions for a decade, I wish the relationship would continue. This is especially interesting in light of Apple’s new ad campaign for iPad Pro, going with the line that it gets “no PC viruses.” Google have been addressing that market need in another way, Chromebooks have the advantage of coming pre-installed with spyware!