Change is in the air for everyone at Baldwin County Public Schools in Alabama. The school district that spent $24 million across three years on its Digital Renaissance plan to give every student a device from Apple is going to be swapping out MacBooks and iPads with a very different technology. Those 20,000 devices that were designed in Cupertino by are no longer in commission as the schools in Baldwin County have switched to Google’s Chrome OS.
Who’s bothered by this? None other than Timothy D. Cook, who attended Robertsdale High School and graduated in 1978 before becoming Apple’s CEO in 2011. That’s right. Apple’s leader is witnessing his own high school leave his company’s products for a rival’s.
Previously, every student and teacher in the school district was given an Apple-made device to use in classrooms. Students from 3rd-12th grade would be on MacBooks while the younger students would be provided with the simpler iPad. The Baldwin County Board of Education decided in May to leave Apple’s products behind for a cheaper, easier-to-manage ecosystem.
There are plans in place to spend $6.6 million for 23,500 units of Lenovo’s N21 Chromebook. Each one costs around $280.
Homer Coffman, Baldwin County Public Schools’ chief technology officer, told the Washington Post that Chrombooks and Chrome OS are “simpler to maintain and simpler to use” than iOS and macOS devices.
The now-dusty MacBooks will be sold by the school district to cover the cost of the new Chromebooks.
It’s not the first time something cringe-worthy has happened to Apple in the education space. In December 2015, the company seemingly became fed up with its own shortcoming in classrooms while Google thrives. Cook said Chromebooks are nothing but “test machines” and added that Apple makes “whole solutions for people” which “allow kids to learn how to create and engage on a different level.”
Clearly there is bitterness in his mouth because Google has intentionally designed Chrome OS to be education-friendly in terms of both hardware and software. Any school district would be wise to choose Chrome OS over iOS and macOS because of price alone. A single Chromebook can be purchased for as little as $199 while a MacBook Air starts at $899. Even the iPad Mini 4 is expensive at $399. When buying a massive amount of devices for thousands of students and teachers, price rules all. So Chromebooks are ruling in education.
Source: Washington Post