Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Apple, iPad, and the education market

One thing I think all the pundits miss when they either praise or condemn the forthcoming iPad is who its primary market is.

Consider. Apple has sold and continues to sell a huge number of laptops to the education market. I would not be surprised to discover that, in fact, this market is the one that continues to demand the white plastic shelled MacBook, which Apple has reduced to a single model at the low end of its laptop products.

Consider that one of the biggest costs of these programs is supporting the laptops. Laptops are fragile. Hinges break. Hard drives don't like large jolts. Power supplies get lost. Software gets deleted. The list goes on and on.

Now imagine you're an educator and Apple comes to you with a machine that is more robust, has fewer moving parts, lives in a walled garden of software that can be restricted further by the teachers.

IPad would be ideally suited as a textbook replacement. Unlike other ebook readers (cough kindle) it can display in color, and it can display fixed pages in PDF. Textbooks are a media consumption system, and that is what the iPad is designed for.

I suspect you will see Apple pushing them out to schools, and I would not be surprised if the white macbook, last scion of the old ibook that the schools loved so much, shuffles off in the next major product update.

Speculating wildly here. :)

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