Monday, July 29, 2019

On Switching from iPad to Chromebook in School

Fraser Speirs (tweet):

The problem with Apple’s iOS education offerings that started to really make me wonder what the future held came when I realised that iTunes U was clearly just being left to die a slow death. At the time of writing, iTunes U still does not support basic iOS multitasking features that were introduced in iOS 9 - four releases ago. […] Whatever learning platform a school uses is a vital part of the work of the school and, if it’s not evolving, it’s dying. Make no mistake: iTunes U is a dying service and it would be more honest and respectable of Apple just to announce the date on which it will be put out of its misery.


The worst issue by far in iOS sysadmin is backup and restore of supervised devices. This process has never been properly documented and it seems to change freely with iOS versions. Every time I have to do it, it takes at least three hours of experimentation to get something that mostly works.


We’ve been using 9.7” iPad Pro hardware in this cycle and, while the hardware remains fast and capable, I have not been very pleased with durability. We have seen a lot of fatigue-related screen damage - that is, damage not caused by a catastrophic accident but rather just repeated put-downs in a schoolbag.


In the final analysis, I think that the long-term effect of tablets will be that they forced laptops to get better.


Update (2019-08-01): Fraser Speirs:

Once you abstract your data and apps from the hardware, the hardware largely stops mattering. And if I was Tim Cook, that would keep me awake every night.

Fraser Speirs:

I think one of the key features that GSuite has here is that the user directory is integrated, so collaboration is easy because identity is ‘built in’ to the platform so to speak. iCloud doesn’t really have the same kind of thing.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

Wait a minute now, Apple products fall apart with normal, everyday use! Stop the presses! Nah, seriously, I think cheaper laptops are probably better than fragile tablets. Then again, my sister had an inexpensive Chromebook many years back and she put enough pressure on the non reinforced lid that the screen cracked. So it is possible to break laptops too, but I still think the laptop over iPad swap is a beneficial one. I feel so strongly about this issue that I think the various school system's waste of resources on iPads will continue to be a scandal for years to come. So much money wasted.

Giving children an iPad in order to teach them collaborative, creative, non-trivial team work is like giving them a My Little Pony doll to teach them how to ride a horse.


>In 2010, we chose our computers and ran the software that came
>on our computers. In 2019, I think that we choose our
>productivity cloud and get the computer that best works with
>that cloud.

That's really bad for Apple, given how they keep making it harder and harder to properly integrate these cloud services into their operating systems.

"Make no mistake: iTunes U is a dying service and it would be more honest and respectable of Apple just to announce the date on which it will be put out of its misery."

That's like half the software the Apple makes. Google gets a lot of flack for abandoning stuff (just look at -- but Apple has quite a track record of abandoning things too. The thing is, with Google they announce it. Apple just lets stuff wither and die on its own with no official announcement. And rarely do they ever replace their dead software with anything better. In fact it's sometimes the opposite... they'll take perfectly good software, kill it, and replace it with something that isn't even half as good. I don't think Apple gets enough flack for it. They are sometimes the kings of abandonware.

Leave a Comment