Mimanifesto – Jaye’s weblog

The iPad or…the others?

Posted on: April 10, 2013

ImageA couple of posts about tablet devices have stuck in my mind over the past week or two. The first one was this from Mark Cunningham in Edinburgh, about his experiences with the tablet device roll out in his school, a part of Edinburgh City Council’s participation in the national 1:1 device provision trials here in Scotland. In his blog post, Mark reflects on his experiences with Android devices (provided by Toshiba). Initially in favour of Android, Mark gradually changed his mind and has now come to the conclusion that iPads are the best device for schools. I visited Mark at his school, Forrester High in Edinburgh last year as a part of our Excellence Group programme of school visits. During the work of this group, we looked at access to devices, BYOT,  and school WiFi and these aspects of education IT use were addressed by recommendations to the Education Secretary Michael Russell in our final report. I think this shift by Mark towards Apple is pretty representative of user choice across the country. Chatting to some of the teachers and school managers at the recent Learning Through Technology conference in Glasgow, it was clear that the iPad is the tablet of choice, when users are given the choice.

Is the iPad is starting to emerge as the winner in education?. When we talk about tablet roll-out programmes its always the iPad, or Android. There are just no android tablets which fire the imagination as the Apple product does. When someone asks you which tablet you have, they wont recognise most of the Android products, but will instantly know what the iPad looks like and does. This is a major issue the others will need to address if they are set on making a meaningful breakthrough in education. It’s too early to tell with regard to Windows tablets, although there is huge potential here for them to challenge the dominance of Apple.

Its not just the tablet either. Its the add -ons as well. The education resources on offer from Apple. Just look at ITunesU and iLife…fantastic well thought out resources for creativity which are just not there on other platforms. This also will need to be addressed by Android if its to have any chance of overhauling the iPad. Education is a major driver of demand. Quite frankly, the kids influence parental choice and purchase like never before!

The other post is this one. Its a more general view of the battle for the tablet market between Apple and the others. Its not quite as much on the side of the iPad as mark’s blog post, and provides perhaps a more dispassionate viewpoint. But it puts forward an interesting point of view about specification, in that despite Android devices sometimes having a superior spec to the iPad, the iPad is still the one chosen. Is this indicative of just how much Apple has worked its way into our brains as the ‘must-have’ product?

But for Mark and his school, its more than just the device.

In my presentation to the Learning Through technology conference, I explained how Apple appeal to our emotional brain by brilliantly articulating the ‘Why’, rather than the ‘What’ and ‘How’ of their products in a way which no other tablet device provider has yet managed to do. With education, its the whole package though. The device and the resources and dedicated education support team access. It will be interesting to see how the other tablet manufacturers pick up the baton on this one. Education is and will be a massive commercial market over the next few years as education sectors all over the world make serious moves into tablet purchase. Apple certainly appear to have the head start in this race.

(The research on the Scottish Schools iPad trial can be found here )

(Image from here )


6 Responses to "The iPad or…the others?"

I am the author of the second post you mentioned here (thanks for that). I don’t think that article serves as a good example how apple has worked its way into the brain of the consumer as a must-have item. I am not saying that this isn’t the case, because indeed they are a category lead and many people will not recognize any other competitor because of the strong brand equity apple enjoys. However, m article is that even in the face of better hardware offerings from competitors, I would go for an iPad – not because of its brand or because I think it will be more cool, but because of long-term availability of quality apps and a tightly integrated workflow.

Hi Jo

I guess what I was trying to get at was the extra support provided by Apple in terms of the apps and education support package. This is a deficit with the other platforms. I’m not sure how they will deal with this


Oh I see – Sorry, I must have misread you. I am a marketing scholar, so I have a tendency of reading critiques of branding into everything I read.

Thanks for sharing this, Jaye. I am about to start a hefty bit of research into BOYD/BYOT use in Scottish Schools and it will be interesting to map out device preferences. Personally, I have a Microsoft Surface RT which I find far more versatile than an iPad, though the quality from Apple is better. It will be interesting to see what the Pro version looks like… I wonder how much costing and future expansion feature in choice… you mentioned apps etc and this is likely to be a selling point to which Apple has a significant head start! I may do a comparison between Scotland, Romania and Bulgaria as they are also interested in the potential in BOYD. I’ll be looking for some collaboration so watch this space!

Hi Lee
That will be an interesting project, for sure. It came up continually during our ICTEx workings. many councils see it as the panacea; the solution to their access issues, but I think its much more complex than that. issues of teacher time and competency come into play…as well as social aspects.


Ian Stuart from Islay high rightly points out that convertibles have a role to play in this. his school are using them, as a replacement for their notebooks. More information here http://t.co/uBZeVaBsgV


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