Bloomberg reported that Apple’s planned education focused event next week – the second after 2012 – is going to be a product launch pad in an effort to woo away teachers and students that the company lost to Google and Microsoft.
This event, scheduled to take place on March 27, will be Apple’s first major product event for the year. It is being held at Lane Technical College Prep High School in Chicago, which is quite unusual. Product events have usually been held at the company’s campus or at nearby convention centers.
At this event, Apple is planning to launch the cheapest version of its iPad, which is targeted at the education market. A new product being revealed will be a software for the classroom.
Steve Jobs had made education and schools a priority in the early days of the company. Sadly, the company’s priorities changed to mass-markets and high-end products that gave higher margins and Apple allowed Google and Microsoft to take over the school segment with their cheaper laptops and tablets. However, according to the research firm Frost & Sullivan, the education market generated $17.7 billion of revenue.
According to data published by Futuresource Consulting, in the third quarter of last year, Apple’s mobile computing shipments for American students from Kindergarten through to High School accounted for 17% of the market share.
However, devices that were running Google’s operating system on Chromebooks and Android run tablets made up more than 60% of the market. Microsoft Windows PCs made up another 22%. Thus, while iPads and Macs may not really contributed to Apple’s revenues – contributing less than 20% to the company’s numbers, the education market is something that Apple needs to break into for the future.
Apple is also planning to launch a new and cheaper MacBook Air, which will cost less than $1000, however, it is not expected to be ready in time for this event. While this laptop is popular with college students, the model hasn’t seen any major upgrades since 2010 – more than 7 years – as the company has concentrated on upgrading the higher-end, more expensive models of the MacBook.
The tech giant is now hoping to once again attract young students with the new cheaper iPad. Over the years, Apple has been releasing different versions of the iPad at different price points, which has helped the product regain some growth after it had started to lose money over successive quarters. iPad sales saw 3% growth last year, however, according to research firm IDC’s firm shows that the tablet market is shrinking. In fact, the tablet market has gone down by 7% in the last one year.
Besides the new version of the iPad, Apple’s Classroom software allows teachers to manage other Apple devices that are given to students for their classwork. Apple also has an app called iTunes U, which lets teachers give out homework, grade students’ assignments and post lessons online. This app also lets students take tests and complete assignments. Other products are the Swift Playgrounds app that has a software coding curriculum and also sells interactive textbooks through the app’s e-book store.
A new version of the iBooks app is in the making, which is going to look like the App Store. However, it again may not be ready for the event this March.
Apple is also going to use this opportunity to talk about the work that it is doing with schools in Chicago. The company had partnered with the public schools and City Colleges to develop a coding curriculum for thousands of students in the area.