According to the latest data from IDC, Google, for the first time ever, has overtaken Apple in United States schools. The research firm claims that Google shipped 715,000 Chromebooks to schools in the third quarter, while Apple shipped 702,000 iPads to schools. Chromebooks as a whole now account for a quarter of the educational market (via FT).
IDC says that the lower cost of Chromebooks when compared to iPads is a huge factor for school districts. Chromebooks start at $199, while last year’s iPad Air, with educational discounts applied, costs $379. The research firm also says that many school corporations prefer the full keyboard found on Chromebooks instead of the touchscreen found on iPads. Some schools that use iPads, however, supply students with a keyboard case as well, but that only further increases the cost of iPads compared to Chromebooks. IT departments also tend to favor Chromebooks because they are simpler to manage when compared to iPads.
Regarding the shift this quarter, IDC analyst Rajani Singh had the following to say:
“Chromebooks are really gaining traction. The growth of Chromebook is a major concern for Apple’s iPad. As the average age of the student grows the need for a keyboard becomes very important.”
Apple, back in 2013, worked diligently with the Los Angeles Unified School District to supply every student with an iPad. The deal fell apart, however, over how the iPads would be given to students and the fact that students were figuring out how to bypass restrictions. The Los Angeles Unified School District has since supplied students with Chromebooks and Windows laptops.
Chromebooks have consistently been among the most popular and highest rated laptops on Amazon since their initial release. The Acer C720 is currently the best selling laptop on Amazon with a 4 and a half star rating from more than 2,600 reviews.
IDC notes, though, that Apple still has the largest selection of educational apps on its App Store, with more than 75,000 currently available. The company also has iTunes U, which allows teachers and professors to share lectures and create custom courses. Google, last year, launched its competitor to iTunes U and the App Store in Google Play for Education. Play for Education is simply a customized version of the Play Store with only educational apps.