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Apple’s Phil Schiller hits out at Chromebooks in education

The Chromebook is making a big impression in the education sector thanks to its cheap and cheerful approach to computing. And while you wouldn’t expect a rival like Apple to be too flattering, the company’s marketing chief Phil Schiller was surprisingly blunt when critiquing the Chromebook’s limitations arguing that children with Chromebooks are “not going to succeed.”

The comments came in an interview with CNET primarily, talking up the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, but towards the end of the interview Schiller was asked about Chromebooks and their impact on the education market. Rather than answering directly, Schiller began by talking up the iPad, especially in the 11-15 year-old age bracket. “We think it is the ultimate tool for a child to learn on,” he said.

Related: Best iPad

Schiller’s reasoning is thanks to a study the company did which showed that “students who succeed are the ones who are most engaged,” – something which, understandably, the marketing chief of Apple believes is an area Apple excels. So far, so uncontroversial. 

“Kids who are really into learning and want to learn will have better success,” he continued. “It’s not hard to understand why kids aren’t engaged in a classroom without applying technology in a way that inspires them. You need to have these cutting-edge learning tools to help kids really achieve their best results.

“Yet Chromebooks don’t do that. Chromebooks have gotten to the classroom because, frankly, they’re cheap testing tools for required testing. If all you want to do is test kids, well, maybe a cheap notebook will do that. But they’re not going to succeed.”

Related: Best Chromebook 

While it’s not surprising Apple would believe its products are the best in any given area, the bluntness of this is a touch surprising – which is perhaps why Shiller later took to Twitter later to clarify his remarks.

It’s not surprising that Schiller talked about iPads rather than MacBooks in the education space. While the iPad starts at £349 (slightly lower with an education discount), the cheapest MacBook Air costs over £1,000. 

A decent Chromebook, however, can be had for under £300 if you shop around, making it a rival for the iPad in terms of price. And while Apple Pencil support and the touchscreen is nice, sometimes that dedicated keyboard and touchpad can prove invaluable in the classroom.

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