Cook says Apple won't race Google to bottom of education market, calls Chromebooks 'test machines'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2015
At an Hour of Code educational coding session in New York on Wednesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said his company is interested in building powerful, meaningful products for students and teachers, not inexpensive "test machines" like Google's Chromebook.




In an interview with BuzzFeed Cook said Apple has no intentions of participating in an apparent race to the bottom spurred on by cheap Chromebook hardware, but will instead continue efforts to enable students and teachers with well designed Mac and iOS devices.

"We are interested in helping students learn and teachers teach, but tests, no," Cook said. "We create products that are whole solutions for people -- that allow kids to learn how to create and engage on a different level."

Apple is seeing its once-commanding share of the education market ceded to Google as American classrooms move to an assessment-driven curriculum. The shift in priorities, along with budgetary concerns, has prompted schools across the nation to question the purchase of a Mac or iPad when a low-cost computer will suffice. For some districts, buying an iPad or other tablet device is simply not a viable option, as mandated tests require keyboards.

Still, Cook is adamant about Apple's direction.

With decades of experience in serving educational institutions, Apple's current solutions are highly effective, finely-tuned classroom tools. BuzzFeed witnessed iPad's effectiveness today at the Upper East Side Apple Store in New York, where students from P.S. 57 in Harlem participated in one of Apple's Hour of Code sessions. Directed through a Star Wars themed coding lesson on iPad, the children sat with rapt attention, ignoring the many reporters that had gathered to chronicle Cook's visit, according to the publication.

Cook told the students, "Coding is a really important language to learn -- as important as English, someday."

Apple wants to make coding a core educational subject, a strategy that unsurprisingly revolves around Mac and iPad. The company is already leveraging its corporate partnerships to develop innovative technologies for the classroom. For example, Apple and IBM in June announced a forthcoming experimental expansion to the MobileFirst for iOS initiative that uses apps and services to provide teachers with real-time student data analytics.

"The next step is getting the public schools, over time, to make it a requirement. We're hoping to get their curiosity up, and then get the system [to take the next step]," Cook said.

A pioneering force behind the computerization of American classrooms, Apple was dealt a public blow when the Los Angeles United School District axed an ambitious -- and controversial -- $1.3 billion ed-tech program last year. The IT initiative, dubbed "iPad-for-all," would have provided iPads to some 640,000 students. LAUSD later sued Apple and software partner Pearson, the latter of which settled for $4.2 million.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 55
    Is learning to code as important as the tech community thinks? I'm skeptical. I think it takes a certain skill set and mindset, one that not everybody has and that probably can't be taught.
  • Reply 2 of 55
    I think Apple is missing a key target by staying product elite. You don't always need to drink out of crystal stemware. Sometimes a solo cup works great.

    I would love to see stripped-down tablets to used for mass markets. Apple and iOS is positioned where it can integrate itself in everything. My latest example was sitting in a presentation with 50 people. Instead of a stack of printed packets to hand out to each person, why not low cost tablets attached to your seat? iOS is solid enough and user friendly where it could replace these kind of repetitious duties. A $500 iPad times 20 does not bode well for a kindergarten.
  • Reply 3 of 55
    I think Apple is missing a key target by staying product elite. You don't always need to drink out of crystal stemware. Sometimes a solo cup works great.

    I would love to see stripped-down tablets to used for mass markets. Apple and iOS is positioned where it can integrate itself in everything. My latest example was sitting in a presentation with 50 people. Instead of a stack of printed packets to hand out to each person, why not low cost tablets attached to your seat? iOS is solid enough and user friendly where it could replace these kind of repetitious duties. A $500 iPad times 20 does not bode well for a kindergarten.
    No I don't buy that thought. Apple needs to stay the course...
    jay-t
  • Reply 4 of 55
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,725member
    I think Apple is missing a key target by staying product elite. You don't always need to drink out of crystal stemware. Sometimes a solo cup works great.

    I would love to see stripped-down tablets to used for mass markets. Apple and iOS is positioned where it can integrate itself in everything. My latest example was sitting in a presentation with 50 people. Instead of a stack of printed packets to hand out to each person, why not low cost tablets attached to your seat? iOS is solid enough and user friendly where it could replace these kind of repetitious duties. A $500 iPad times 20 does not bode well for a kindergarten.
    Right... Despite 50 years of proof that race to bottom will kill you Apple should "try it".... Oh, my.... If Google still exists and making a profit in 15 years, talk to me.
    cornchipjay-tchiaredgeminipa
  • Reply 5 of 55
    Coding is, and will be in the future, a critical skill for success.   Coding is, at its most basic level, simply a protocol for solving problems and it should be introduced early in the educational system.  Like any skill set there are varying levels of proficiency, but every student should understand the basic concepts and probably have at two or three courses by the time they finish high school. 
    chia
  • Reply 6 of 55
    It doesn't have to be the latest iPad. An iPad 2 mini is $320.
    edited December 2015
  • Reply 7 of 55
    Is learning to code as important as the tech community thinks? I'm skeptical. I think it takes a certain skill set and mindset, one that not everybody has and that probably can't be taught.

    This is a big issue. Coding is important, in the sense that software is important, in any product, and that, even in a manager's position, you need a basic understanding of the software issues.

    But the trouble is that coding is just a tiny part of software activities, and equating those activities to coding alone is a big mistake, which "computer-illiterate" people fall into. You cannot grasp the very nature of software activities through coding a tiny piece of code, involving a single individual, without any disciplined approach to verification, test, documentation, planning , configuration management, etc, etc ...
  • Reply 8 of 55
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,847member
    This isn't a problem because these students won't be growing up to think they should only use Chrome OS. In fact, not using Windows in schools will help push them to Mac OS X when they need to get a desktop or notebook computer.
  • Reply 9 of 55
    foggyhill said:
    I think Apple is missing a key target by staying product elite. You don't always need to drink out of crystal stemware. Sometimes a solo cup works great.

    I would love to see stripped-down tablets to used for mass markets. Apple and iOS is positioned where it can integrate itself in everything. My latest example was sitting in a presentation with 50 people. Instead of a stack of printed packets to hand out to each person, why not low cost tablets attached to your seat? iOS is solid enough and user friendly where it could replace these kind of repetitious duties. A $500 iPad times 20 does not bode well for a kindergarten.
    Right... Despite 50 years of proof that race to bottom will kill you Apple should "try it".... Oh, my.... If Google still exists and making a profit in 15 years, talk to me.
    Never implied race to the bottom. Just stripping off unnecessary components to create a new market. Consider the TV in your living room vs the one in your bedroom. I can almost guarantee one is smaller and less expensive. Why is that?
  • Reply 10 of 55

    My latest example was sitting in a presentation with 50 people. Instead of a stack of printed packets to hand out to each person, why not low cost tablets attached to your seat?
    I've been saying the same thing! If we can lower the price of printing presses, we can attach them to your seat and everyone can print their own packets.
  • Reply 11 of 55
    emoeller said:
    Coding is, and will be in the future, a critical skill for success.   Coding is, at its most basic level, simply a protocol for solving problems and it should be introduced early in the educational system.  Like any skill set there are varying levels of proficiency, but every student should understand the basic concepts and probably have at two or three courses by the time they finish high school. 
     I think you hit the nail on the head there. Problem solving and ordered, logical thinking are the underlying benefits. Not everyone will grow up coding for a living but the other benefits will give them a foundation for success. 
    chia
  • Reply 12 of 55
    Tim Cook is pretty much saying that he doesn't want any part of the educational market.

    Education customers are some of the most price-conscious customers out there. They want something that gets the job done and with the constant budget cuts to schools, they're going to go for whatever gets the job done for the least amount of money. The latest and greatest just isn't important to them. 

  • Reply 13 of 55
    vvswarup said:
    Tim Cook is pretty much saying that he doesn't want any part of the educational market.

    Education customers are some of the most price-conscious customers out there. They want something that gets the job done and with the constant budget cuts to schools, they're going to go for whatever gets the job done for the least amount of money. The latest and greatest just isn't important to them. 

    Education is filled with dinosaurs. I'd rather Apple not compromise for relics of the past. The edu market has consistently shown an unwillingness to get with the times. 
  • Reply 14 of 55
    Is learning to code as important as the tech community thinks? I'm skeptical. I think it takes a certain skill set and mindset, one that not everybody has and that probably can't be taught.

    If coding is somehow equivalent to writing out a high school geometry theorem, or putting together an essay, then, it should be taught at the high school level as creating an algorithm is a very similar form of thinking a problem through... yet provides a different skill set.

    Even if coding were confined to creating a sophisticated spreadsheet it would be a useful skill in the job market, while one is also ahead of the pack in problem solving skills.


  • Reply 15 of 55
    vvswarup said:
    Tim Cook is pretty much saying that he doesn't want any part of the educational market.

    Education customers are some of the most price-conscious customers out there. They want something that gets the job done and with the constant budget cuts to schools, they're going to go for whatever gets the job done for the least amount of money. The latest and greatest just isn't important to them. 

    You are correct. However, Apple products have long had a place in education because teachers could easily set of a LAN of Macs and Apple products require less maintenance. A city of around 250,000 will have 50 or more individual school sites. If each of those sites do not need to hire an IT specialists, that's a lot of savings, and that savings adds up year after year, where a savings on hardware is a one-time expense.

    So, It's not about having the latest and greatest, it IS about saving money, as you suggest. School systems look at the cost of implementing tech solutions and the most successful are very cautious in adding people to a payroll if they can at all avoid doing so.

    Chromebooks are a tempting solution, the fact that school systems still buy Macs and iPads, indicate to me that it's somewhat of a toss-up as to which is essentially the best cost solution, or the best teaching aid.

    Leave it to the government to specify a testing device have a 19th century input device for the 21st century student.

  • Reply 16 of 55
    Education is filled with dinosaurs. I'd rather Apple not compromise for relics of the past. The edu market has consistently shown an unwillingness to get with the times. 
    I'd say you're behind the times if you think that schools can afford top-of-the-line tablets these days, when their budgets are constantly getting slashed so hard they can barely afford pencils.
    edited December 2015
  • Reply 17 of 55
    isteelers said:
    emoeller said:
    Coding is, and will be in the future, a critical skill for success.   Coding is, at its most basic level, simply a protocol for solving problems and it should be introduced early in the educational system.  Like any skill set there are varying levels of proficiency, but every student should understand the basic concepts and probably have at two or three courses by the time they finish high school. 
     I think you hit the nail on the head there. Problem solving and ordered, logical thinking are the underlying benefits. Not everyone will grow up coding for a living but the other benefits will give them a foundation for success. 
    Agreed but do you need coding skills to learn that? Couldn't a couple of Philosophy courses in Critical Thinking & Logic and Reasoning lead to the same result?
  • Reply 18 of 55
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,264member
    Do you guys think there'll ever be a version of Xcode or something simpler for iOS? Are there any coding and testing environments for the iPad already? Any simple stuff even?
  • Reply 19 of 55
    Education is filled with dinosaurs. I'd rather Apple not compromise for relics of the past. The edu market has consistently shown an unwillingness to get with the times. 
    I'd say you're behind the times if you think that schools can afford top-of-the-line tablets these days, when their budgets are constantly getting slashed so hard they can barely afford pencils.
    Way to not understand the point TheWhiteFalcon was making. He was referring to the very people who cut the budgets for schools.
    jay-tchia
  • Reply 20 of 55
    Is learning to code as important as the tech community thinks? I'm skeptical. I think it takes a certain skill set and mindset, one that not everybody has and that probably can't be taught.

    It is extremely important and everyone can learn it.
    It's like learning to read and play music.  It trains your mind to think.

    Some people may not care for it but they can certainly learn it.
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