On Tuesday, Apple released their newest iPad that was designed to compete with Google and other companies in the classroom. Although Apple laptops and tablets have historically dominated this market, Google has taken over since introducing their the Chromebook, an inexpensive laptop ideal for sharing in classrooms.
Apple’s new iPad is a cost-effective alternative to their iPad Pro with many of the same basic features. As the New York Times and Buzzfeed both explain, this new iPad features an A10 Fusion processor and supports a stylus, either the Apple Pencil or off-brand Logitech Crayon, $89 or $49, respectively, for schools. The new iPad has a starting price of $329, discounted for schools at $299. This is a dramatic price reduction from the iPad Pro which costs at least $649. Still, the Chromebook starts at $250 and is equipped with a detachable keyboard and unlimited Google Drive storage. The more expensive iPad only offers 5GB of complimentary iCloud storage (users can buy up to 200GB).
It seems obvious which device schools would chose to purchase. However, Apple has gone further in their goal to revolutionize American classrooms. In addition to their Classroom app that already competes with Google Classroom, Apple is launching the Schoolwork app through which teachers can create and track assignments. Apple is also introducing “Everyone Can Create,” a new program of resources for teaching music, video, photography, and art. In accordance with this, the marketing of the new iPad is more colorful and playful than that of typical Apple products.
The New York Times quoted Apple’s chief executive Timothy Cook saying that “their place at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts makes it possible for them to create powerful products and tools that amplify learning and creativity.” Although the new iPad is still more expensive than the Chromebook, it is designed for students interested in advanced technologies like robotics, coding, and STEM. These interests require more sophisticated devices. As these fields grow, there is an opportunity for Apple to retake control of American classrooms and their students, the future customers.