The Chicago Event today will probably see a cheaper iPad as Apple bids to take back their share of the education market. On the other front, a ChromeOS Acer tablet has just been launched preemptively in order to counter the presence of the new iPad.
So why is everyone suddenly so interested in which device the schools prefer to hand over to their students?
The idea behind entering the education sector is not just to conquer a market. Educational market is the holy grail for these tech companies because it holds the key to making future users that are probably yet to choose the brand of devices they will be using.There is a high probability that if these young children get hooked to a device from an early age, they become possible loyal customers throughout their lives. This is why the education sector is a gold mine for companies like Google, Apple, and other device makers.
Apple knows this and so does its competitors. They knew it back in 1978 when Apple made a deal with Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC), where it sold 500 computers. This was later known as the reason for the success of Apple II.
In 1997 Apple launched the newton powered eMate 300, and then again with the eMac five years later Steve Jobs planted Apple’s foot in schools. These devices were initially limited to education institutes only, so one can wonder if the new low cost iPad will be accessible to general masses or not as well. But in my opinion the bigger question is not just the price, which will only let the iPad enter the classroom, but the ‘value’ of an iPad in the classroom that makes this beloved device stay there.
The value can come in the form of Apple Pencil compatibility (currently limited to iPad Pro) with the low-cost iPad and the availability of Apple’s own ‘Swift’ programming language embedded into the new devices for ease and simplicity.
Apple’s latest in the line of attempts to conquer the educational institutes’ technological needs is hence reminiscent of the Mate 3000, eMac and the legendary success of Apple II, and the Cupertino giant will try to replicate that model with a new iPad priced below the $329 price tag.
If Apple can pull this off, it may very well stop the ChromeOS cannon fired in the shape of Acer tablet and other possible attempts from Google to take over the future of Education in America.