Best Argument: Impossible
Apple's a friend to education
Matthew Miller: In 1989 I was issued a Macintosh SE at the USCG Academy. A few years later at Berkeley I purchased another Mac with an education discount. Apple has a long history of being a friend to educational institutions and I think they are going to be even more aggressive starting this year with deep discounts on the iPad 2, incentives for organizations to adopt Apple products, and willingness to spend some of their huge cash reserves to build the Apple educational ecosystem.
Apple has the OS, the hardware, and now the ecosystem strategy needed to have a major impact on the educational system. The only real barrier to implementation is cost and that is something they can impact, if they are willing to take the risk. If they are successful in widespread adoption of the iPad and the Apple Textbooks program, this success should increase their growth in the PC market as children growing up learning with an iPad, then take that experience to their primary computer.
Not suited to public education
Chris Dawson: Herbert Hoover called for a “chicken in every pot” during his 1928 presidential campaign. That didn’t work out so well with the Great Depression coming shortly thereafter, but the idea of a “tablet in every backpack” is one whose time has come. For well-heeled schools and districts, that device will probably be an iPad. For everyone else, though, it’s going to be something different.
Perhaps it will be an Intel Classmate, a Kindle Fire, a cheap laptop, a Chromebook, or any number of personal computing devices that students can bring to class and have as constant companions for anytime, anywhere study and interaction. But Apple’s first foray into e-textbooks, iBooks and iBooks Author makes it clear that theirs will be a closed ecosystem not well suited to widespread use in public education. Yes, a tablet in every backpack will be a reality. An iPad in every backpack? Not so much.