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Why Apple is wining the next generation of computing

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Searching for a $300 device

In many districts, the iPad reaching students this year is the iPad 2—a generation old, yes. But at $400 apiece, it’s a price savings of 20 percent off the basic model of the “new” iPad, and brings the tablet’s cost closer to the $250-to-$300 sweet spot many educators say they look for in a digital device.

San Diego’s LaGace says that the lower price of the iPad 2, starting this year, provided the final spark to begin buying. “This is clearly a better deal than handing out five textbooks at $125 apiece,” he notes.

Such assessments make it likely that schools and educators will be a prime audience for the new iPad mini, recently unveiled at a base price of $329—higher than many educators were hoping for. The iPad’s $500 price tag limits purchases, says James Stenerson, who oversees instructional technology at Pace University in New York. “If [the iPad] came down to $300, we would buy more, sure. But that’s out of our control.”

If I were a Microsoft executive, this would be extremely concerning to the long-terms prospect of the business. Heck, if I were Bill Gates and ran the Gates Foundation, I'd be aware of this.

The whole article, in summary:

Schools are replacing computers (read: Windows PCs) with iPads. There currently does not seem to be a Windows-based.

Schools no longer are willing to pay upgrade fees for OS, and/or buy Office software.

The iPad Mini makes the "tablet" now more or less "the $300 device." And within a year, that "300 device," will be the $249 device.

A new generation of students growing up with iPads and MacBooks instead of Dell PCs; to be sure, right now it is the wealthiest school districts. But I have no doubt it'll trickle down.

This should also be slightly concerning to those interested in having kids learn to code in the classroom; what good coding text editors or IDEs exist for the iPad? Will it be sufficient to get the kids started, or will they have to resort to video games and other iPad-based software that helps them learn to code.

Microsoft might just have to give away a few $bn worth of Surfaces to schools, which would get them in front of 2m students -- or 10% of the nation's kids. Throw in another $1bn for countries and cities where tech in classroom is booming: Singapore, Hong Kong, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey.

The danger for MSFT; first, a new generation growing up with an entirely new computing paradigm, which will of course affect how they view the workplace environment.

Corporations potentially copying schools, before the Surface takes hold.

That being said, the Ultrabook seems like an interesting hybrid.

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