Apple’s Market Share in Education Is Falling

Interesting but unsurprising report by Natasha Singer for The New York Times:

Over the last three years, Apple’s iPads and Mac notebooks — which accounted for about half of the mobile devices shipped to schools in the United States in 2013 — have steadily lost ground to Chromebooks, inexpensive laptops that run on Google’s Chrome operating system and are produced by Samsung, Acer and other computer makers.

Mobile devices that run on Apple’s iOS and MacOS operating systems have now reached a new low, falling to third place behind both Google-powered laptops and Microsoft Windows devices, according to a report released on Thursday by Futuresource Consulting, a research company.

Of the 12.6 million mobile devices shipped to primary and secondary schools in the United States in 2016, Chromebooks accounted for 58 percent of the market, up from 50 percent in 2015, according to the report. School shipments of iPads and Mac laptops fell to 19 percent, from about 25 percent, over the same period. Microsoft Windows laptops and tablets remained relatively stable at about 22 percent, Futuresource said.

If you look at The Times’s chart, you can see that in gross numbers, Apple’s education sales are down from their peak in 2013, but not drastically. Windows machines are up from their nadir in 2013, but not drastically. What’s drastic is the sharp rise in the sale of Chromebooks. Schools haven’t switched so much as they’ve increased the number of machines they’re buying, and most of those new machines are Chromebooks.

The shift toward Google-powered devices is hurting Apple’s revenue. Of the $7.35 billion that schools, colleges and universities spent on mobile and desktop computers in 2016, sales of Apple devices fell to $2.8 billion in 2016, from about $3.2 billion in 2015, according to IDC, a market research firm. Windows devices generated $2.5 billion in 2016, up from $2.1 billion in 2015, while Chrome devices reached $1.9 billion, up from $1.4 billion.

Apple still leads in revenue, but that’s because iPads and MacBooks are more expensive — and part of the reason for Chromebooks’ success in education is that the machines are so much cheaper. And it helps that Chromebooks are fundamentally designed as dumb terminals — any kid can grab any Chromebook and just sign in. Apple does offer solutions for iPads and MacOS, but fundamentally, iPads and Macs are designed as personal devices.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017