Apple's education strategy is focused on creativity in the classroom, educational support, collaborative creation, and communication of student success when using Apple products.
APPLE'S EDUCATION BUSINESS
Since its inception in 1984, the education market has been central to Apple's marketing strategy. The strategy was simple; capture the students and they will become customers as adults, and it worked. The company has expanded exponentially from that time and education is still an essential piece of the company's business. However, as the IT component of the education budget grew, so did the influence of IT and financial professionals on their expenditure leading to instances such as the massive growth of the Chromebook in schools and the significant loss of market share by Apple (depicted in image 1 of this document). However, Apple has not given up, as they continue to focus resources on education. In 2018, 9to5Mac revealed Apple's newest education strategy to include the following:
APPLE'S CURRENT EDUCATION STRATEGY
Long the leader and the platform of choice for artists, Apple is focusing on ensuring that art creation, i.e., drawing, music, video, and photos, is integrated and easily used by students from kindergarten to the 12th grade. This creative support aims at aiding not only the left brain for students, but also the right. In the last year, Apple has expanded its Everyone Can Code program, which teaches critical thinking and problem solving to 70 countries, as it will enable students to go from the basics of programming to handling and providing solutions to difficult tasks. As part of its strategy in creativity, Apple has a mind to make advances in the area of Virtual Reality in the next few years.
PROVIDING EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT
Providing educational support in the areas of classroom management (learning), student management (administration), teacher learning, and IT administration is another education strategy being employed by Apple. These include:
- CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT — LEARNING
Apple’s strategy to support classroom learning was demonstrated in their recent release of a new education-specific iPad, which includes Touch ID, an HD FaceTime camera, and an 8-megapixel rear camera that runs on Apple’s A10 Fusion chip claiming 10 hours of battery time. The device has access to over 200,000 education-specific apps including the schoolwork app, which can be used by teachers to assign handouts and specific tasks to students.
- STUDENT MANAGEMENT — ADMINISTRATION
Using the schoolwork app, Apple has moved to support teachers not just in the teaching/learning part of their jobs, but also in the administrative aspect. Their goal was to help teachers understand how their students are performing, assist them in individualizing their teaching for each student and tracking/monitoring their progress.
- TEACHER LEARNING
Apple is continuously expanding its Apple Teacher program to support new applications to aid a self-paced online learning program for teachers on how to lead their classes using Apple devices and apps.
- IT ADMINISTRATION
Apple is working to ensure smoother integration with ubiquitous technology, such as Microsoft Azure Active Directory, Google Drive and Microsoft Office which will provide both teachers and students with a better experience when using Apple devices as educational tools.
ENABLING COLLABORATIVE CREATION
Apple is moving to support both the collaboration of students working in a team to create artifacts and storing them in the cloud for easy accessibility. These artifacts support Apple's strategy to enhance creativity in schools, as they constitute text, picture and video file creation.
SHARING STUDENT SUCCESSES
As a way to counter their loss of market share in the education market, Apple is not only trying to compete in terms of price but also, by leveraging the success of their students on metrics that matter in education to boost its credibility and showcase its efficacy. Communicating improvements in test scores, literacy in schools with a large ESL population (depicted in image 2 of this document), and reduction in negative metrics such as suspension and absenteeism (Image 3) are all communicated through education results in schools using the iPad.
NEW APPLE INITIATIVES/PRODUCTS FOR EDUCATION
- EVERYONE CAN CREATE
In support of Apple's Creativity Strategy earlier mentioned, Everyone Can Create shows students how to develop and share ideas through their drawings, music, videos, and photos on the iPad. This concept provides teachers engaging in educationally meaningful projects with tools to easily integrate these skills into any lesson, assignment, and subject. Additionally, the Everyone Can Code initiative uses a visual-based, Apple-created coding language called SWIFT designed to embed coding skills and thought processes into a one-of-a-kind program that keeps students excited and engaged.
- IBOOKS AUTHOR
Apple has expanded its author tool for self-publishing authors in the classroom, to support the ease of collaboration between teams of students in classrooms and schools, including collaborative access to folders in the cloud.
- APPLE SCHOOL MANAGER
The company has significantly upgraded its Apple School Manager to improve both account and role management and support its integration with Microsoft Active Directory.
Apple Schoolwork is a new education app that is cloud-based and allows teachers to provide handouts, links to existing Apple apps, and provide immediate visibility into a student’s work.
- VIRTUAL REALITY
The new iPad for classroom learning described earlier, is supported by a new product; the ARKit 101 which allows students to create simple interactions in Augmented Reality (AR).
APPLE'S ACQUISITIONS IN SUPPORT OF ITS EDUCATION STRATEGY
On September 22, 2017, Apple acquired the company Vrvana and their AR head-mounted display in support of their education strategy to promote creativity in schools, and on August 29, 2018, they acquired Akonia Holographics and their lenses as AR glasses, also in support of their creative approach to education.