Recently, some figures have appeared that should concern those of Cupertino. In two years, the market share of iOS and macOS in the US education sector has dropped from 26% to 14% and from 8% to 5% respectively. We can attribute the decline in macOS to the simple trend of the PC market also declining (Windows’ share has also fallen), but the fact that iOS usage has remained at almost half is not good news.
Meanwhile, in the same period of time, Chrome OS has gone from 38% to 58% share in American schools . The educational world prefers laptops with this Google operating system mainly because of its price, according to the FutureSource study that has brought these figures. They also argue the flexibility that some of these computers offer by offering Chrome OS and Windows on the same device.
Software may also have played a role in this trend. In Mixx.io, Alex Vega comments on how more options to choose from on Google and Microsoft platforms make the choice easier, while on the iPad there are no user accounts. On macOS there are, but the school budget allows for many more Chromebooks than MacBooks.
I can make some personal points based on my own experience: I have seen the strategies to implement the iPad in private schools in Barcelona, which consist (at least as far as I could see) in selling previous but not too old generations of the tablet . It is a good way to take advantage of the surplus stock of those generations, since students do not need to have the most powerful model for classes.
The funny thing here, and this is an advantage for Apple, is that students do not need any training or learning to use the iPad . They already know how to use it. It’s the other way around: it’s the parents who are offered the possibility of going to talks or workshops to learn how to use it so they can better control what their sons and daughters do when they take the iPad home. And here we can even include teachers, who also have to be trained to administer the tablets.
Adults and institutions are more familiar with an internet browser like the one present in ChromeOS and on Windows computers than with the iOS system, which is the most “Post-PC” you can put in front of a student. The low price of Chromebooks does the rest and the choice is becoming easier for American schools. And on a global level, where Chrome OS is not so popular, it is Windows that takes over.
Apple should consider making up for lost ground in schools, since the students who get used to the platforms they are put on in the classroom are the professionals who will continue to use it and even defend it in the future. How? By empowering iOS, improving it and giving it more flexibility so that the iPad is no longer just a simple tablet but something more. Cupertino criticizes the concept of the convertible, but at the Mobile World Congress more than one manufacturer has signed up to compete against Microsoft’s Surfaces and the trend is quite clear.
The answer to all this will be found in iOS 11 , which we will be able to see for the first time at WWDC 2017, which will be held in San José from June 5.