Future Source Consulting did a study of the most popular operating systems in education K–12. According to their report Apple is at an all-time low with Mac OS accounting for 5% and iOS at 14%. The big winner is Chrome OS, that has grown to 58%. That makes sense. Chrome OS can run on very inexpensive hardware and is very easy to deploy and manage in a school setting. This jives with a report from an education-IT friend of mine that said a thorough understanding of Chrome OS and its management is a golden ticket in that field.
Clearly Apple’s angle in all of this is iPad. Years ago Fraser Speirs guested on the Mac Power Users and he justified his preference that kids learn to make presentations with iPad Keynote over mastering Microsoft Word by explaining, “I’m training CEOs, not secretaries.”
I’m sure a lot of the reason for Chrome OS’s dominance is cost. It is a lot less expensive to purchase Chrome OS hardware and schools are (too) often underfunded. These numbers give me an excuse to take another whack at iOS software. It needs to get better for productivity-type work and I’m sure that bleeds over into school adoption.
Overall, I dont find this report super-concerning for Apple. Most of this is based on budget and Apple has never really played that game. Apple used to make an education priced Mac, the eMac, which made a lot of sense. If Apple wants to get more penetration into schools, coming up with a more rugged, less fancy (and less epensive) iPad (let’s call it “ePad”) would help out. Looking at all these kids growing up using Chrome OS raises another question … what’s going to happen to Microsoft Office?