Apple will introduce new low-cost iPad and software crafted for education next week. The company sent media invites for an education event at Lane Technical College Prep High School in Chicago last week. The announcement will bring Apple back into the education segment, where rivals Google and Microsoft have created an enormous lead.
According to Bloomberg, Apple plans to show off a new version of its cheapest iPad aimed at the education market. The world’s most-valuable technology company also plans to showcase new software for the classroom. This is the first major event of the year for the company and first education focused event since the launch of a tool meant for designing e-books for the iPad held in 2012. With the event being held outside its home turf of California, Apple is showing its seriousness towards the growing education market.
Apple is not new to the education segment and its late CEO Steve Jobs made schools a priority in the very early days of the company. However, the company has lost its leadership to Google and Microsoft, which have penetrated the education market with low-cost computers. Google, in particular, has made a huge leap here with its Chromebooks and dedicated software like Google Classroom available as part of G Suite.
According to research firm Frost & Sullivan, the global educational technology market generated $17.7 billion in revenue last year. Apple accounted for 17 percent of mobile computing shipments to American students in kindergarten through high school while devices running Google’s operating system on Chromebook or Android tablets accounted for 60 percent of the market. Microsoft and its partner Windows PCs had 22 percent market share and the Redmond-based giant is making more inroads with its S mode of Windows.
Last year, Apple introduced a cheaper iPad priced at $329 as an attempt to counter the growth of Chromebooks in the market. KGI Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the cheaper iPad will also support Apple Pencil, which will be a key driver for the sales of Apple’s stylus offering.
In addition to an even cheaper version, Apple is also planning to launch a cheaper MacBook notebook that could eventually replace the MacBook Air at a price point lower than $1,000. The MacBook Air introduced a decade ago has largely stuck to its original form factor and has only received updates in the form of faster processor while laptops from rival camps have gotten faster processors and better display at even cheaper price point.
Apple’s main source of revenue continues to remain iPhone but its ecosystem of devices have lost out as consumers have started picking laptops running Windows or Chrome OS. With the new devices, Apple will be once again back in the market that is expected to grow further in terms of revenue.
While devices will remain main focus at the event, Apple is also expected to show new applications for classroom. The invitation says it will introduce “creative new ideas for teachers and students.” Apple currently offers a slew of different education-related software with its Classroom app for the iPad allowing teachers to manage Apple devices and assign classwork to students. It also lets students complete assignments and take tests and Apple is expected to introduce new software next week.
Under CEO Tim Cook, Apple is constantly looking for new streams of revenue and become less dependent on iPhone sales. One of the shining spot so far has been the services revenue and with new education software and products, the Cupertino-based giant will try to regain the lost connect with education market and improve its revenue from the sector.