Apple's iPad has lost its lead over Google's line of Chromebook laptops in the U.S. education market as Google shipped more devices to schools last quarter, according to figures released by IDC (via the Financial Times). In Q3 2014, IDC notes that Google shipped 715,500 Chromebooks to U.S. schools while Apple shipped 702,000 iPads. Analysts note that this advantage for Google's Chromebooks can be attributed to their low cost, which starts at $199 for some models.
Samsung, HP, Dell and Acer make Chromebooks and has been active promoting the device to school districts, she added. Low upfront costs and simpler device management for schools’ IT departments has increased their appeal, compared with Apple’s higher-priced tablets, which start at $379 for last year’s iPad Air, including educational discounts.
While the iPad’s touchscreen makes it a versatile device, the Chromebook’s integrated keyboard is also a factor in its appeal. “As the average age of the student grows the need for a keyboard becomes very important,” said Ms Singh.
The report also notes that the Apple still holds a commanding lead over other tablet manufacturers in the U.S. education market, as numbers from the company in July stated that the iPad had an 85% market share.
The news follows a report about the worldwide tablet market issued by IDC last week, which stated that year-over-year growth is expected to slow to 7.2% in 2014 from 52.5% in 2013. Analysts estimated that the market slowdown can be attributed to a decline in iPad shipments, as Apple is expected to ship 64.9 million iPads this calendar year which is a decline of 12.7% from 2013. Apple is rumored to be preparing a 12.2-inch "iPad Pro" for early next year, which could be equipped with faster specs than the iPad Air 2 and may be aimed at the enterprise market.