Apple in the Education Market: The Backgrounds

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What have we all laughed at? On pictures, in which unversity seminars hundreds of Apple logos of MacBook backs lit up and you could hide somewhere a poor soul with a Dell laptop could spy. Largely unnoticed by the German public, the wind has turned in the US. Ironically, Google is on the rise, to say the least and has the education market in large parts with Chromebooks under control. Laptops that are designed entirely for the cloud and do not even include the local installation of real apps. Whereby this aspect is now softened: you can run more or less poorly scaled Android apps on some Chromebooks.

Reason enough for Apple to blow up the attack. Teachers and learners are not the MacBook (Air) put to the heart, but at a specially held event newly introduced iPad. (For a detailed review of the new iPad, see page 25 of this issue.)

It’s Software!

Apple has also realized that offering affordable hardware is not enough to regain the education market. Apple wants to take care of the real problems of schools and also offers a new app called “Schoolwork”, with which teachers can distribute tasks, provide help and see results and evaluate. With the new ClassKit interface, app developers can also dock their software to Schoolwork. The “Classroom” app completes the offering and aims to be the perfect teacher assistant for school classes and students’ iPads.

On top of that, Apple also has the iCloud storage included volume for educational institution accounts 5 increased to 200 gigabytes. That was sorely needed, because so far no additional volume could be bought for “Managed Apple IDs”. Students had 5 gigabytes. Punkt.

Updates about Updates

The biggest innovation of the event was certainly the iPad with support for the Apple Pencil. But also elsewhere Apple has not let it rag. Apple has extended the iWork Office Suite, consisting of Numbers, Keynote and Pages, to include Apple Pencil features, which of course not only, but above all, should also pofit students. For the first time users can draw, sketch or write directly in the applications Pages, Numbers and Keynote with Apple Pencil. Also new: smart annotations. This feature allows iPad users to easily give, receive, and embed in a document using Apple Pencil Feedback. With Smart Annotation, comments and correction marks are anchored dynamically in the text. And when a user adds feedback and modifies the document, the existing notes remain in the text to which they were attached.

“iWork is a powerful suite of iPhone, iPad, and Mac programs used in classrooms around the world,” says Susan Prescott Apple’s VP of Apps Product Marketing “With the addition of Apple Pencil on iPad, the new versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote give students a whole new level of creativity in their documents, spreadsheets and presentations.”

Creating your own books is now also possible directly from Pages, so that you no longer rely on “iBooks Author”. The latter application still exists, but its end seems foreseeable. At least one of our conversations with Apple employees said they were not working on a new version of iBooks Author at the moment.

Past Reality?

Canadian tech journalist Rene Ritchie described the “Education Event” as “Love letter to education”, a love letter to education – and the corresponding institutions. That may be true, but also reveals the problem. Educational institutions do not need love letters, no romantic nights in the back of a car and no summer flirts. But much more a serious, long-term relationship with total mutual openness and reliability.

A relationship with Apple, however, is often very one-sided. Schools raise funds and buy into the Apple ecosystem and then have to hope that the Apple will stay tuned and especially in software further refills. Especially since many schools in the US are already using Google’s platform G-Suite with Google Drive and Co. – not least because they can be used completely independently of the device used.

What Apple has to deliver

For our colleagues at, Bradley Chambers writes in a weekly series on “Apple in Education” and is considered an expert in this area with a view of the US. In his report to the Apple event, Chambers quotes Tim Cook:

“We believe that we need to own and control the key technologies behind the products we offer and only participate in markets we care about

Chambers asks if this is really the case in terms of education. “If Apple believes it can contribute significantly to schools, then they should go ‘all in’ and fundamentally change school technology You should buy a textbook publisher and change the textbook pricing model when equipping a school with iPads.

You should buy a school information system and link it to all your apps. You should be a real alternative to [Google] Offer G Suite, which makes it easy for schools to handle communication.

You should do this at a price that includes the economically weak Tues. strict as easily as the economically strongest. ”


It could all be so easy, you think. What Apple now offers to manage school classes (and had before in the program: PowerSchool was the software over 10 years ago – and Apple sold it in 2006 to Pearson), Google has been on offer for some time. “Google Classroom” is part of the “Google Apps for Business” set adapted for educational facilities, now known as “G Suite”. Google wants to offer an all-round carefree package and is therefore especially – but not only – in the US. Because: the package is free, which is always a strong argument. And at the latest with the Office dreatzatz from docs, spreadsheets and presentations Google has proven to be able to offer suitable software with real Mehrwehrt for schools. The problem is of course the privacy. For example, the Rhineland-Palatinate State Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information writes: “If US providers are commissioned with cloud solutions, this may be linked to US legislation against the background of US legislation, which is not consistent with European data protection principles (See LfDI Activity Report 23, chapters I.1.3 and 25th Activity Report, Chapter III.14.2.)

In the view of the Country Representative, this will only result in the use of solutions such as Google Classroom into consideration, as no personal or personal data of the users are incurred. This means choosing a policy whereby the school (rather than individual students) creates its own account. Here, the schools have to work with pseudonymized data. ”
That’s exactly what Apple could point out to Microsoft, for example, and might also find love in German schools. Finally, Apple advertises more and more with the topic of privacy for itself and its offers. Microsoft even runs German data centers, so the data stays in the country.

Confessions of an apostate

Browser instead of Finder. Play Store instead of App Store. Chrome OS instead of macOS. I confess: When I turn off my iMac in the office, I open a Chromebook at home for almost two years. What initially happened purely out of curiosity about something new, has meanwhile been largely owed to conviction. Because Google has succeeded together with its cooperating hardware partners, what Apple has simply escaped in the intoxication of smartphone sales figures: a contemporary vision of the idea laptop, which keeps its data as easily available in the cloud ubiquitous and the lead-like ballast from the Confidently abandoning the “primeval” of computer technology.

The fact that Apple still has not brought Mac, iPhone and iPad closer together could turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes of recent years. After all, the first generation of students, who have grown up with their smartphones, are pushing to colleges and universities. And she wants to continue working on the laptop just with the apps that she already knows. Google is cleverly bridging the gap with the ability to use Android programs on the latest Chromebooks. Apple should hurry to push ahead with the idea of ​​universal apps for iOS and macOS so as not to lose this generation forever.

Thomas Raukamp

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