If you're a school that makes use of Chromebooks in the classroom instead of iPads, Apple's Phil Schiller would like a word with you. Apple's iPad were once the "darling" of classrooms around the United States as kids could use the tablets for interactive lessons and as digital textbooks. However, in recent years, Chromebooks have begun to flood classrooms due to their cheaper pricing and built-in keyboard/touchpad threatening Apple’s long stronghold on the education market.
With Chromebooks being the go-to choice for many school districts, Schiller slammed the initiative as not being beneficial to students or their learning. In an interview with CNET that focused primarily on the new 16-inch MacBook Pro (which we discussed earlier today). It was pointed out that the MacBook is popular with college students, but Chromebooks tend to rule the roost in the K-12 market.
According to Schiller, market research has shown that iPads actually help children to engage in learning, and helps them to succeed. That might be the case in certain scenarios, but a keyboard and mouse are incredibly useful in a classroom environment -- especially at higher grade levels -- which is something that an iPad doesn't excel at. And attaching a keyboard comes with added costs for school districts.
It is these realities that have played out in Chromebooks' favor, but Schiller is having none of that. "It's not hard to understand why kids aren't engaged in a classroom without applying technology in a way that inspires them," said Schiller in the interview with CNET. "You need to have these cutting-edge learning tools to help kids really achieve their best results."
But he didn't stop there. He leveled criticism at Chromebooks as a whole, similar to the way that Apple dismissed the failed netbook concept from a decade ago. "Chromebooks have gotten to the classroom because, frankly, they're cheap testing tools for required testing.
"If all you want to do is test kids, well, maybe a cheap notebook will do that. But they're not going to succeed."
We can't tell if Schiller is saying that Chromebooks won't succeed or if students won't succeed (or both), but either inference seems rather harsh to say the least. It's true that Chromebooks can be used for testing in classrooms, but Chromebooks also have touch screens and education-focused applications that make them useful to students of all ages. And the built-in keyboard makes them great for taking notes, completing assignments, or writing reports.
What say you HotHardware readers? Is Phil Schiller off his rocker with his comments on Chromebooks, or does have a point that Chromebooks are some sort of cheap "fad" that will soon fall out of favor with schools?