Apple Could Fail to Recapture K-12 Market for the Same Reason It Owns the SmartPhone Market

Kids love the Apple iPhone. And most kids in schools who have smartphones have an iPhone — this, all while Android is the world’s leading smartphone platform. And, they mostly don’t use them as a phone. They text on them, Snapchat on them, they post on Instagram and they store their photos on them — lots of photos.

And, when they go to school, they use Google Docs — the dominant platform for K-12 collaboration. Because it’s free.

In the ultimate slap-in-the-face to Apple, they load Google’s apps all over their phones so they can collaborate between each other on projects, do homework and build presentations.

Because of this, thousands of school districts over the past few years have purchased millions of Chromebooks for their students to use. In fact, Futuresource says that Google has a market-leading position over Apple and Microsoft in the range of 3:1.

In an attempt to finally fight back, Apple yesterday held an education-focused launch event at a school in Chicago to launch a new lower-priced iPad in the form of a 9.7-inch iPad with Apple Pencil support. And at $299 for schools, it’s closer in price to the Chromebook, but even though most students prefer iPad over Chromebook, it likely won’t, alone, work to get Apple back to a market-leading position — like they were with over 55 percent of the market in 2015.

Why?

It’s the software, stupid.

Apple’s not just fighting the Chromebook; they’re fighting Google Docs — nearly every K-12 students uses it. Don’t believe me, just ask your own kids.

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To combat this, yesterday Apple launched two new apps:

1. Schoolwork — a new app that helps teachers create assignments, see student progress and communicate securely with students.

2. Everyone Can Create is a new, free curriculum that Apple says makes it fun and easy for teachers to integrate drawing, music, filmmaking or photography into their existing lesson plans for any subject.

Will this work?

It’s hard to bet against Apple as they have a 40+ year history of success in education — remember, that’s where they started. And, during that time, they’ve been the market leader in education for 30 or more of those years. They’ve set-up an Education-only portal with all-new school’s only pricing, dedicated apps for K-12 and plenty of free resources for teachers to encourage them to adopt. But, as we all know, adoption (and change) in education is slow — now, it’s S-L-O-W, especially in public school districts.

So, only time will tell. A lot of time.