iPad in Education : Needs to step up its game

Financial Times reports:iu-2

Apple has lost its longstanding lead over Google in US schools, with Chromebook laptop computers overtaking iPads for the first time as the most popular new device for education authorities purchasing in bulk for students.

Google shipped 715,500 of the low-cost laptops into US schools in the third quarter, compared with 702,000 iPads, according to IDC, the market research firm.

While price is part of the issue here, a very real problem for the iPad is that, like its sister product the iPhone, each device is limited to one user. In Apple’s iOS, there is no facility for multiple users to have separate logins to a device.

Nowhere is this more of a problem than in education. Here a device is used by multiple people in the course of each day, and it would be beneficial to have individual logins so that a user can instantly login to a system wide account.

Mac Daily News reader bmd0019 comments:

I am a computer technician for a school system and the biggest struggle we face is saving data when the system you are using isn’t really meant to be shared the way we need to share it. We have gotten around this some with using Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. If we were doing a true one to one initiative, this wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, my district did not go that route. This isn’t a criticism of Apple, that is just the way they designed the system.

The fact is, an iPad is a computer. It is a tablet computer, and it has limitations in power and screen size, but still it is what is known as a general purpose computer. This is to say, that it can be programmed to perform any task that any other computer can do (albeit slower than most desktop computers.) As such, there is no reason why it cannot have a multi user OS. I have been told that there are systems for schools to deal with multiple users, but this is not as simple or direct as something built into the OS.

Bottom line: 

Apple is losing significant sales to competition because of the lack of multi-user facilities in iOS. Additionally, it is inconveniencing many other customers who would like to use such a system at home. I have never been one to pretend to tell Apple what it “needs to do.” However, in this case…

Apple needs to up its game by adding multiple user facilities to iOS.

 iOS is built on top of Unix, just as is Mac OSX. Therefore it would not be such a difficult thing to add.



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