Writing for The Los Angeles Times , columnist Jim Heid says that Apple has “learned some important lessons” in the education market. Heid’s comments come in a new Mac Focus column entitled Apple Polishes Its Image in Education.
Heid noted some of Apple’s recent trials and tribulations, like its loss of the top spot in educational computer sales to Dell and Apple’s poorly timed educational sales force reorganization. He also points to more recent successes — the appointment of Cheryl Vedoe to Apple’s newly created vice president of education spot, and the company’s acquisition of PowerSchool, a developer of student information systems. Apple’s educational sales this last quarter went up 7 percent year over year, said Heid, and market research firm International Data Corp. said that Apple’s once again at the head of the pack with a 27 percent share of the educational market. (Dell says it’s still on top, however.)
“What’s indisputable is that Apple is a major player in educational computing. Addressing educators this year, Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said the education market is important to Apple. There may be some self-serving sanctimony there, but it is true that of the top five players in the education market — Apple, Dell, Gateway, Compaq and Hewlett-Packard — only Apple has lavish Web sites aimed at educators and students,” said Heid.
What’s more, added Heid, is that iBooks are helping to lead a new trend in classrooms to put laptop computers in place rather than desktop machines. As an example, Heid points to Apple’s own “iBook Wireless Mobile Lab” — a wheeled cart containing up to 16 iBooks and a printer, and the deal it made with the Henrico County, VA. school district, which agreed to purchase 23,000 iBooks earlier this year.
Some folks — Dell included — have put forth the idea that kids should learn on Windows PCs because that’s probably what they’ll use when they graduate and go into the workforce. Heid calls that suggestion “baloney,” and said that educational computing is about applying computers to learning.
“Although a Windows computer would be a good choice for a class on trouble-shooting,” said Heid.