Apple’s upcoming Education platform makes the case for iPads over Chromebooks

Igor Bonifacic

January 11, 2016 2:43pm

Following the release of new developer betas for iOS and watchOS, Apple has just uploaded a new preview of its revamped iOS Education platform.

It’s a big update, and one that has relevance to those outside the teaching profession. Of particular interest to consumers is the fact that Apple’s iOS education suite will soon ship with support for multiple accounts on a single device, a feature the wider iOS community has been asking the company to add for a number of years. While it’s unclear at this point, iPads may need to be assigned to be “education” devices upon setup, which would enable multiple account support.

In the context of Apple’s new education app, multiple students can now share the same device thanks to each student having an Apple ID that’s stored on the cloud. If a student logs into a new school-issued iPad with their Apple ID, they’ll find all their apps, books and documents on the device.

The platform also allows teachers to use their own iPad to launch and close apps on their students’ iPads remotely, as well as see how each and every student is progressing through an exercise using screen-sharing technology. Teachers will be able to use simple web- and iPad-based MDM tools to set up and administer student accounts.

Last April, Google greatly expanded its education offering with the launch of Google Play for Education, a dedicated marketplace for education-focused apps and books, as well as a platform for managing classroom Android and Chrome devices.

Apple’s strategy means to make tablets more flexible in the classroom, both for teachers and their students. With iPad sales stalling over the past two years, this could be a way to spur sales, especially of older, less expensive models.

  • awhite2600

    Multi-user support in iOS would be a welcome feature outside of the education market too. After all, Android has had this feature for several years. Remote support would also be nice in consumer iOS. I would love to be able to remotely help my mother (in another city) when she has issues with her iPad.

  • as cool as this sounds, wouldn’t this slash sales a bit?

    Apple is becoming more open and brent is expected to go to $20USD a barrel. Is the world turning upside down?

  • mola2alex

    Queue the ‘Android has had this forever’ and Apple copying Google comments

    • Victor Creed

      Truth hurt?

    • Frederick The Great

      Gotta love how people like you suck Google’s teat and yet come out and accuse those who use Apple products of the same.
      The only truth is that Android is fragmented piece of crap OS that possesses market dominance because of its availability on a number of cheap platforms/multiple devices. Not because its any better. Because it isnt

    • Tech Guru

      Jesus man, such a hater.

    • Frederick The Great

      Hater? You know what. The real ‘haters’ and ‘trolls’ here are those who instantly come out on any Apple story and start posting all sorts of shjt about the company. Just like you did on the Apple Music story about 10 million subscribers earlier as being somehow a failure because Dan Bader likes it.

      Bottom line is that Apple has achieved half of what it took Spotify to do in nearly 8 years and is likely to overtake their subscribers in less than 2 years time. It’s a $100 million revenue source right now and yet when we see YOU post its usually about how great a money losing pig like Blackberry is or your own particular brand of Kool-Aid served up from Mountain View as if Google is some great, ethical superior monolith over Apple.

      Get over yourself and take a look in the mirror pal. Your hatred is FAR greater than mine towards any of this stuff.

    • Mr_Smoosh

      Daniel is that you?

    • TrickyDickie

      Do what you are really saying is “Waaaah! Don’t make fun of Apple!”

    • Frederick The Great

      Yeah, maybe I am because the criticisms are just *diotic and I’m tired of reading comments about the company that are motivated by pure hatred on every story on this site related to Apple. The biggest trolls these types. Not those who call them out on this stuff.

    • mola2alex

      The truth being that windows had it even before that? No, it doesnt hurt because an operating system gets a feature, it doesn’t really weigh heavily on me. I use osx ios Android windows and linux – none of which I use this feature. My comment was making fun of turds who argue about it. Get a life, or do tech companies also do that for you? And who was first to release that feature?

    • Frederick The Great

      Yup. The Fandroids are a pathetic crowd.

    • mola2alex

      People that argue about operating systems online are pathetic

    • Keith Zubot-Gephart

      Hey, I object! I’d write a long missive about how you’re wrong because Haiku OS is the greatest OS ever but uhhh I can’t seem to get the wireless drivers working.

    • Actually, the biggest surprise to me is that iOS didn’t have multi-user support. Why didn’t they implement this years ago like other companies? It’s been a huge benefit to me on Android for years and I suspect many parents will finally breathe a sigh of relief.

      As for your “queue the comments” comment, it is just as bad as an iSheep comment because it comes across as very defensive. Except for the ‘copying’ part because in this industry, everybody copies everybody. No exceptions.

    • mola2alex

      The fact you use the term isheep makes you a turd. I don’t personally think you are a turd, just how I feel about people who argue about this. You should be embarrassed that you argue with people about an OS which is clearly an opinion. WTF is the point? My favorite color is blue and yours pink, are you a pink sheep? It’s a stupid argument that can never have a winner despite who gets what feature and when. Pick what works for you and be happy when others get feature parity, shows a healthy competitive market.

    • Okay.. so I didn’t call anyone iSheep, I simply referred to term as being as idiotic as your comment. But if you want to get into that game, by your definition,that would also make you a turd since you also used the term in your post. I’m more than happy to play by your strange rules.

      Btw. If you are so platform agnostic, why do you feel the need to jump in and kickstart a flame war? Your “Queue the comments” line really served no purpose other than to start this.

      My original comment stands, I am surprised, iOS didn’t have this yet. Didn’t say it was an inferior OS. Didn’t say it was worse than X or Y. Just odd with all the other developments they have been working on. Kind of like how Sony put in the Share Factory enhancements before they put in MKV support. Odd choice, but I’m sure they have their reasons. I bid you a good day.

    • mola2alex

      I used iSheep in the context of you saying I sound like one. Your point is valid, I never said it wasn’t and aside from calling me defensive or iSheep, I didn’t consider your comments flaming.

      My comment stands, it is basically saying – here comes the flame war and look what happened – a flame war. I didn’t need to say anything for the flamers to come out. I didn’t even need to state an opinion about my preference for people to make some assumptions and flame me. Everyone decided I was an Apple fanboy or iSheep, it really shows how retarded this is. I should have said queue the turd comments, it would have the same effect.

  • Victor Creed

    They can make their case but the fact remains Chromebooks are cheaper to buy, when used for education this equates to posbbly hundreds of thousands of dollars. If apple wants to win they need to lower the prices.

    • Frederick The Great

      Fact is Chromebooks are pieces of garbage. That’s why they’re cheaper.

    • Tech Guru

      You’re very wrong. Chrome OS is insanely capable for what it is and it runs on the simplest of hardware.

    • Frederick The Great

      Yeah, for those on welfare.

    • Ouch

    • Someone is on the hate train today – choo choo!

    • Brad Fortin

      “If apple wants to win they need to lower the prices.”

      Isn’t this what people have been saying for, literally, decades? and isn’t that the strategy many of its now-fallen competitors took?

    • Keith Zubot-Gephart

      Don’t forget that Apple did fall during that time, and ended up having to be bailed out by Microsoft.

      Anyways, that Apple has a winning strategy currently in targeting the high-end of the consumer market is a somewhat different discussion than what they need to do for the sake of the education market, which is a very different beast.

    • Brad Fortin

      Apple got an out-of-court settlement from Microsoft for stealing code, not a bailout.

      Apple gives education discounts, which helps with the initial purchase; their hardware tends to last longer and the software gets longer support than competitors’ products, which helps with long-term costs; and businesses that have switched from mostly Windows-based PCs and tablets to mostly Macs and iPads have reported reduced IT support requirements, which helps with ongoing costs. Once the devices make their way into the classroom iPads do a much better job engaging kids and have much better apps than Chromebooks.

    • Keith Zubot-Gephart

      I think the form factor helps a lot, too. That they come with keyboards instantly makes them far better by default for classroom uses, unless we go over entirely to kids handing in video reports and spoken-word essays or such, and even then I think that a classic WIMP interface is better for academic purposes than iOS or Android devices currently are.

  • Tech Guru

    Chromebooks are far lower-cost, are supported fully for 5-6 years and are upgradeable. Unless Apple is willing to subsidize the cost then this is a retarded idea.

  • marshallpower

    lol more BS from those who depend on iPads for their “education”…what children need to learn in school is how not to fall into that kind of BS.

  • awhite2600

    Wow. I can’t believe that this thread is turning into an OS flame war.

    I use quite a few of the major operating systems – iOS, Android, BB10, Windows and have just starting playing with ChromeOS. You know what? They all have their strengths and weaknesses. I wish iOS had multi-user support. I wish Android was less fragmented and more secure. I wish BB10 had more apps. I wish ChromeOS was more than a glorified browser. iOS, BB10 and ChromeOS are secure – but less flexible. Android is open and customizable but less secure. Chromebooks are cheap. iPads are expensive. You take the good, you take the bad. There is no perfect platform.

    Anytime a good feature from one platform is implemented on another is a welcome improvement. If it takes a year or two so what. I’m happy to have the functionality.

    • Frederick The Great

      You make some excellent points but there are just too many clowns on here that flame out Apple whenever they get the chance. It doesn’t matter whether its non-sensical or not.

    • Well said Mr. Cook.

  • Kyle Tuck

    I have little faith that Apple gets this right. If you’ve been subjected to the absolute mess that is Configurator 2, you will understand this. I’m not going to get into a whole Google vs Apple BS debate (my household has a device on pretty much every platform), but I will say that Apple’s deployment solutions are absolutely terrible for shared devices. Configurator 2 took a barely functional tool and somehow made it worse.