A Few Notes From Apple’s Education Event

I followed the live stream blogs during today’s Apple Education event and took a few notes. These observations are based on reading the live blogs. I’m sure that people in the room will have more insight as the day goes on.

That New iPad

  • I’m happy to see the Apple Pencil support moving down the line. It’s pretty great, and everyone should be able to use it.
  • I think Apple still has a pricing problem. Chromebooks are in the low $200 range. The new iPad is $300, but when you add a case/keyboard $100 and an Apple Pencil ($100), a fully rigged iPad becomes nearly 2.5 times the cost of a Chromebook. When schools need to buy them by the hundreds (or thousands), that extra $300 is going to matter.
  • I think the non-pro iPad has come so far that it indicates we are going to get the iPhone X version of the iPad in June at WWDC. I’d be surprised if the rumors aren’t true about adding Face ID to iPad Pro.

Swift Playgrounds

I’m glad Apple is continuing to press forward with this app. Swift Playgrounds are fun, and I’ve done a lot of coding in there over the past few years. I consider it a puzzle game as much as a coding education. My kids never got interested, but I’m guessing a lot of kids will go nuts for the new augmented reality features.


  • The new features in iWork look interesting. They didn’t talk much about it.
  • I think collaboration is where iWork needs the most attention. I’d like to see it collaborate as easily as Google Docs and it currently doesn’t.

iCloud Storage

200GB per student is great. Hopefully, they follow suit at WWDC and announce everybody gets a free 200GB. The current free offering of 5GB, particularly in light of the cost of Apple hardware,  feels pretty cheap on Apple’s part.

Teaching Tools

The classroom tools look impressive. I’ve not got any experience with them and am looking forward to hearing from teachers about this. As I understand it, for the past few years Google has been eating Apple’s lunch on classroom tools.


I’m currently in the home stretch of an iBooks media-rich Field Guide, and I was very anxious about iBooks Author today. It looks like I’m fine. They are bringing the ability to create books to the iPad, but it doesn’t appear iBooks Author is porting to iPad. Instead, it will be an additional feature in Pages. So long as they keep improving iBooks Author on the Mac, I’m good.

The iPad in Education

On MPU several years ago we had Fraser Speirs on, who spearheaded one of the first one-to-one iPad programs in a school. When I asked him about why they used iPads instead of a traditional computer with Microsoft Word he had a really good answer. “We’re making CEO’s, not secretaries.”

The iPad is an inherently more creative device than a traditional computer, particularly something as basic as a Chromebook. Apple made this point with the new “Everyone Can Create” curriculum. I think schools and teachers, like Fraser, that take advantage of that will be doing something special for their students.


The Apple Field Trip and iBooks Author

You may have seen that Apple has a “Field Trip” event planned for next week. This will be an education event at a high school in Chicago. I expect we’ll see several education-aimed announcements surrounding Apple hardware and software. I also expect the iPad will feature prominently. The event invitation, with the script Apple is a great reason to think the next education aimed iPad will get Apple Pencil support.

I have to admit I’m a little nervous about iBooks Author. I’ve got a very-nearly complete book done in iBooks Author with over 300 hours invested in it. If iBooks Author comes up, I’d expect that they are only adding features and make it better. Still, a small part of me can’t help imagining them scrapping iBooks on me. If they do, you’ll find me in the corner next Tuesday afternoon curled up on the fetal position.