There once was a time in Apple’s history as a computer maker, even before the Mac, when it ruled in education systems. Those days are gone thanks to higher prices, lower perceived value, and the onslaught of less expensive devices find their way into diminished school budgets.
Whether it be school systems in the U.S. or elsewhere around the world, two opposing trends have become the norm. First, Apple’s Mac and iPad have a diminished role in education. Second, Apple’s iPhone is the darling of school age children whose parents buy them their first phone. Apple’s school strategy is dangerous.
U.S. vs. Earth
Earlier this week I read an interesting bit of research from FutureSource regarding sales of computer systems into the K-12 market. The chart below will explain the trend with ease. Apple is losing the education market in the U.S. and losing even bigger in education markets elsewhere in the world.
How can that be considered a good strategy regardless of how popular iPhones and iPads are these days?
The trend is visual and unmistakable. Apple is losing.
In the U.S., shipments of new devices to education put Windows ahead of both Mac and iPad combined, and all three are dwarfed by the growth of inexpensive Chromebooks. The rest of the world tells a different tale but with the same result. Apple is losing.
Windows PCs dominate two-to-one over Macs, iPads, Chromebooks, Linux machines, and even Android devices. Even with a $329 iPad Apple may have priced itself out of the education market entirely. Marketshare is shrinking. FutureSource does not list the installed base and focuses statistics only on devices shipped to the education market since 2016.
Regardless, this does not bode well for Apple. Mac sales may be at record levels, but not with first time computer users who are being exposed to Windows PCs and Chromebooks about six to one.
I see two issues here. First, Apple is missing an opportunity to be a first mover among children who are learning to use computers with Windows and Chromebook logos first. Second, the race to the bottom of the technology barrel by school systems that spend what little money they have on nearly useless Chromebooks which cannot possibly educate children about the computer world they need to work in says something– and it’s not good– about U.S. education.
This trend can only hurt Apple in the future.