That’s rich: Apple VP knocks classroom Chromebooks for being cheap

In the last couple of years, Chromebooks have dominated over half of the K-12 education market compelling Apple and Microsoft to rethink their strategies. And for good reason — Chrome OS is relatively affordable and easier to understand and manage, making it ideal for both children and teachers. However, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller thinks otherwise and considers Chromebooks as “cheap testing tools”.

In an interview with CNET, Schiller spoke at length about the new 16-inch MacBook Pro’s keyboard and when asked for his take on Chromebooks’ growth in the education sector, explained why he believed Apple’s iPad and MacBooks are better suited for students.

Schiller began by outlining Apple’s recent efforts to win classrooms again, and brought up a study the company conducted years ago to gather insights on “the importance and the role of technology in the classroom.” The outcome, he said, was that successful students are the ones who are the most engaged.

To be engaged, Schiller added, children need to have access to “cutting-end technology and learning tools” that “inspire them.” According to Schiller, Chromebooks don’t do any of that and their popularity has soared strictly on the back of their cheap prices.

“Chromebooks have gotten to the classroom because, frankly, they’re cheap testing tools for required testing. If all you want to do is test kids, well, maybe a cheap notebook will do that. But they’re not going to succeed,” he commented further.

While Chrome OS started as an operating system centered primarily around a web browser, it has come a long way since then. In addition to being accessible to schools of all budgets, Chrome OS now lets users program Android and web apps, run Linux tools, and more.

Chrome OS especially emerges as a better deal for classrooms when we consider what Apple has in store to combat it. The $299 iPad (which doesn’t include a stylus or keyboard) is far more restricted than Chromebooks with entry-level software as well as hardware capabilities. On the other hand, Apple’s MacBook line starts at $1,099 which is beyond what most schools can spend on each student.

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