There are a number of people claiming that Apple's new iPad is an answer to the Chromebook wave sweeping classrooms in the US, some are even calling it a "Chromebook killer". Well, given the fact that you can get two Chromebooks at the price of a new iPad and an Apple Pencil, it is quite cynical of users to think it is a "Chromebook killer".
The Chromebook is making its presence felt mostly in classrooms and this was Apple's education event, being held at a school. Apple also showcased a number of software innovations and apps (like dissecting frogs digitally) that would allow students to get more out of the latest iPad, and also to collaborate and work better. Apple also offered special discounts to student users for the iPad and the Apple Pencil. The company even announced more affordable stylus that could work a bit like its own Logitech Crayon.
The biggest strength of Chromebook is its ability to mimic a "real" notebook in a lighter, yet speedy and affordable way. Students still tend to type more than they draw. The fact that the Apple Pencil has no native handwriting recognition (rather remarkably, it still does not, even after all the software and app announcements earlier this week) further limits its utility as a comprehensive writing tool.
If a student is currently using a Chromebook, there is nothing that seems inviting enough in the new iPad for them to give it up, in terms of functionality or budget. There is a possibility that no student will trade away the ease of typing on a notebook for sketching or scribbling on the latest iPad. Apple is wanting students to take the new iPad to classes more frequently, simply because it is lighter, faster – the chip used internally gives the iPad that edge over all existing Chromebooks and budget notebooks – and, given the experience with the UI and app ecosystem, the iPad is more fun to use.
It is significantly more expensive than a Chromebook but it offers a very different functionality, which is to view content on a very high-quality display, play HD games and do a fair bit of non-writing in class. Even though it might look like Apple is taking on the Chromebook, it might not be true. The company is just trying to get another device on to students.
With the new iPad, Apple is telling schools and colleges that there is room for one more device in your bag and one that is now much more educational. Apple is not asking you to dump your Chromebook, well, not just yet!