Student Vote Could Give Apple the Edge in Classroom Computing Race

Published on April 5, 2012
by John Paczkowski

In the battle for the education market, who will be the victor — Apple’s iPad or Google’s Chromebook?

An interesting question, and while it’s far too early for a definitive answer, there are some early indications of which way things are headed.

Research outfit Piper Jaffray recently surveyed a small group of public-school IT managers (18) about their mobile device deployments and found 78 percent to be testing iPads and/or Chromebooks (6 percent said they were testing Android tablets).

That bodes well for Google and Apple both, though perhaps more so for Apple. For while the IT managers surveyed seemed evenly divided over whether the iPad or the Chromebook is the better educational tool (see tables below), their preference may not be the deciding factor in which device is ultimately deployed in their schools.

As in the enterprise world, many schools are considering implementing a “bring your own device” policy as a means of fostering a one-to-one student/device ratio. And if they do, the teen demographic’s fondness for iOS devices may skew things in the iPad’s favor.

“The majority of IT managers believed that ‘bring your own device’ policies would be the major driver in achieving a one-to-one ratio,” says Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. “Given iPad’s current majority market share among teens (70 percent of teen tablet owners owned iPads), we expect iPad would be the device most likely desired by students in choosing their own devices. … Ultimately we expect school ‘bring your own device’ policies paired with the popularity of iPads among teens will lead to the iPad owning the educational tablet market.”

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