A new report published today clearly states that "Apple is no longer the undisputed head of the K-12 class." The report notes that market researcher Futuresource Consulting has found that for the very first time, Chromebook sales have surpassed the 51% mark in the K-12 market nationwide in the third quarter. The surge reflects a fundamental shift in how American schools are buying tech in bulk and assessing students online, placing an emphasis on low-cost, easy-to-manage machines.
Mike Fisher, associate director of education technology at Futuresource stated that "It's a tidal wave. Chrome is the clear U.S. market leader now." He further noted that districts are drawn to the Chromebook's Web-based operating system, ease of use, IT manageability and $200 to $300 price range.
Google's Chromebooks (laptops running Google's Chrome OS as their operating systems) have made significant strides in growth year over year. Chromebooks' market share jumped to 51% from 40%.
Apple products, mostly iPads but also laptops and Mac desktops, declined to 24% from 32%. Windows-based machines remained steady at 23%.
Apple, through its dominance of the education market during the Steve Jobs years, helped establish its strong brand and shaped the computing habits of millions of young Americans.
The trend away from Apple products hasn't gone unnoticed by Apple as they released education updates to its mobile operating system iOS 9.3 on Monday and introduced a simplified login and the ability to more easily share and manage iPads in schools securely — in the hopes of wresting back market share. It also has shaved iPad prices.
While the Chromebook may be making major strides in education, Apple is still a big player in this market. The report notes that "There are about 170,000 education apps on the App Store, and the company maintains a large installed base of iPads and MacBooks in schools. It has sold 15 million iPads into educational institutions worldwide.
But its position is changing. While Apple's dominance in K-12 has played an essential role in its success, "it no longer is a leader but a player" in the space, says Brian Blau, lead Apple analyst at market researcher Gartner. For more on this, read the full USA report.
Absent from the report is a geographical map providing us with needed context so as to better understand where the shift to Chromebooks is actually taking place. History has shown us that Apple is likely to continue their success in K-12 markets where families have higher income and in key urban centers around the county.