I’ve read two articles this week which really got my attention:
- “Gartner May Be Too Scared To Say It, But the PC Is Dead” (5 April 2013 by Mark Gartner for ReadWriteWeb)
- “FU, Windows 8, PC shipment decline is worst EVER” (10 April 2013 by Joe Wilcox for Betanews)
I LOVE my MacBook Air laptop and there’s no way I can see myself going to an all-iPad / all-tablet computing experience tomorrow. I also love my iPad and I love my iPhone. They allow me to do things I couldn’t do with “traditional” computer gear and peripherals. (Exhibit A: 11 teacher-of-the-year videos including interviews with 44 different people, shot, edited and published with my iPad 2 using iMovie in three days.) My iOS devices are still SECONDARY devices to my primary computing tool, however, my LAPTOP. As I shared in my March 21st post & rant, “Let’s Believe in Kids and Teachers as Creative Digital Makers, Not Just Passive Consumers,” I think our kids / students and teacher peers both need and deserve LAPTOPS to become full participants in our 21st century economy and society. Unfortunately, however, we are far from a “critical mass” of teachers, administrators, parents and legislators who believe this and understand this. More people need to watch and really LISTEN to the Code.org video, “What Most Schools Don’t Teach.” This is why I’m passionate about helping kids (and teachers) learn how to create, problem solve and program in Scratch, and why I’m going to keep facilitating Scratch Camps in our community. Currently, at least, you can’t do this kind of coding and programming on a tablet. YET.
These recent numbers documenting the PC market decline are pretty stark, however, and I am not sure how quickly this will bode changes for school district technology purchases. Here are the two closing paragraphs from Wilcox’s article tonight:
Simply stated, and there’s no easy way about it, Windows 8 is failure. The measure of how much likely comes when Microsoft announces first-quarter results later this month. Looks like early license sales success is more a factor of low-cost upgrades, which the company no longer offers. Sustainability of license sales, at full price and without much lift from PCs, is something Microsoft must answer with earnings. Share price is down more than 2 percent in after-hours trading tonight, BTW.
Accelerating a trend already evident from past quarters, smartphones and tablets pull sales from PCs. Even Apple. IDC asserts that iPad contributed to Mac shipment declines during first quarter.
From what I’ve read previously, this VERY recent trend of Apple laptop sales declining is a BIG trend line change. iOS devices have been bringing more people into the Apple fold, away from the “dark side” of Windoze-based computing, but now it appears more consumers than ever purchasing technology in recent months are opting for tablets instead of laptops or desktops.
Here’s one educational technology situation I want to watch closely: The renewal of the MLTI (Maine Learning Technology Initiative) this year. According to the MLTI survey for campus tech-leads shared in March:
The AppleCare warranty for Phase III of the MLTI ends June 30th, 2013.
The current MLTI RFP page lists two bid options from Apple, as well as two bids from HP and a bid from CTL. In addition to the listed prices (the CTL “2go Convertible Classmate PC NL4 / EC10II2 Tablet” lists for $649, the MLTI quote is for less than $300) it’s hugely important to notice the details of the two Apple bids:
- The student device in proposal 1 is “iPad 32GB,” teacher device is “iPad Mini & MacBook Air”
- The student device in proposal 2 is “MacBook Air,” teacher device is “MacBook Air.”
Will the way MLTI goeth be the way of the future? Time will tell. For students and teachers who have been 1:1 for years with a laptop, an iPad is a functional downgrade in many ways. iPad software continues to amaze me, however, the recent updates to the SubText app are just 1 example. (We’re using SubText in my “Mapping Media to the Common Core Part 1” course with Montana teachers this semester. All 36 participants have iPads.)
Here’s my prediction: I think most MLTI teachers will want to stick with laptops as student devices, but I think the “wind of change” is blowing iPad. I predict MLTI will go with iPads for student devices.
Will Apple stop producing laptops? Gosh I hope not. Just because sales numbers are declining, I can’t see Apple entirely pulling out of the laptop market. These trend lines are alarming and significant, however, and I’m thinking we may feel their effects sooner rather than later in schools. We’re living in exponential times, right? Faster change is now the norm. The Post-PC age is here.
What’s your take?
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