In the last two years, Chromebooks went from zero to 25 percent on US educational market due to their low prices (about $199 per device) and study-oriented applications.
In the third quarter of 2014, Google shipped more than 715,000 Chromebooks into US schools, while Apple was able to ship only 702,000 iPads. Experts say this was a historic win for Google over his long lasting competitors, Apple and Microsoft.
The demand for iPads in US schools is clearly slowing down. In 2013, Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said iPads share on the market for education tablets was 94 percent. Meanwhile, Google was making its entrance in schools through its free educational suite app. Google noticed back then Apple’s weakest point that would surely lead to its downfall on the educational market – education-oriented apps were overshadowed by a counterproductive suite of fun and games.
Chromebooks gained increased popularity among teachers and students after the latter got used with cloud technology Chromebooks are using. Microsoft tried to get the iPads on the same level of functionality with its Office 365 suite, but its main drawback is its price. Cook complained earlier this year that iPad had such a slowdown in sales because Microsoft had failed to release Office 365 for iPads on time.
Also, Chromebooks were more appealing for school managers due to their $199 price. In 2013, with all educational discounts an iPad Air was $375.
IPad tablets also lack an integrated keyboard. Keyboard is a must-have for any kid in school as he gets older and needs to type more. Educational experts say this is a major flaw in all educational tablets – tablets were designed mainly as media devices and it would be very hard to turn them in high-productivity devices overnight. Apple’s marketing strategy of pairing its tablets with the iTunes Store turned many school iPads into game advertisements for children.
And parents were not very happy about that. They say their offsprings use the incredible computational power of iPads for on-line social interaction, gaming or YouTube watching, instead of learning and that’s one of the reasons Chromebooks are better school tablets than iPads in their opinion.
Furthermore, psychologists say that children will not be able to develop their focus and concentration abilities because entertainment is too easy to reach. Daniel Goleman, author of “Focus, The Hidden Driver of Excellence”, said iPads could have been neutral in education, but Apple designed them as pleasurable devices, and not useful ones, which is very counterproductive in school classrooms.
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