Apple’s struggle to stay relevant in the U.S. classroom continues, as usage of iPads and MacBooks in the classroom hit a new low in 2016.
Over the last three years, Apple’s iPads and Mac notebooks — which accounted for about half of the mobile devices shipped to schools in the United States in 2013 — have steadily lost ground to Chromebooks, inexpensive laptops that run on Google’s Chrome operating system and are produced by Samsung, Acer and other computer makers.
Research company Futuresource Consulting says the number of iOS and macOS devices used in classrooms in 2016 was good for only third place, behind Google’s Chromebook laptops and Windows devices.
Of the 12.6 million mobile devices shipped to primary and secondary schools in the United States in 2016, Chromebooks accounted for 58 percent of the market, up from 50 percent in 2015, according to the report. School shipments of iPads and Mac laptops fell to 19 percent, from about 25 percent, over the same period. Microsoft Windows laptops and tablets remained relatively stable at about 22 percent, Futuresource said.
Apple made moves in 2016 in an attempt to become more relevant in the classroom, with a “Classroom” app for teachers, the Swift Playgrounds app to help kids learn app development, and more. However, the company continues to lose market share in the classroom, which has always been where they’ve shone.
Google’s Cheaper Chromebooks are Attractive to Educators
“Apple is struggling,” said Mike Fisher, an education technology analyst at Futuresource.
The shift toward Google-powered devices is hurting Apple’s revenue. Of the $7.35 billion that schools, colleges and universities spent on mobile and desktop computers in 2016, sales of Apple devices fell to $2.8 billion in 2016, from about $3.2 billion in 2015, according to IDC, a market research firm. Windows devices generated $2.5 billion in 2016, up from $2.1 billion in 2015, while Chrome devices reached $1.9 billion, up from $1.4 billion.
The Chromebook has beaten out classroom competitors on pricing, usability and other factors. Chromebooks run apps through Google’s cloud-based Chrome operating system, making them cheaper — and often faster to boot up — than traditional laptops that rely on hard drives.
“At the end of the day, I can get three Chromebooks for each of the Mac devices I would have purchased,” Steve Splichal, superintendent of Eudora Public Schools, told The New York Times. Splichal did note that younger Eudora students did continue to use MacBooks and iPads.