The Cleveland.com reports that iPad thefts from middle school students in Cleveland Heights-University Heights school district is causing an iPad re-think.
The school district gave 1,300 Apple (AAPL) iPads to middle school students at the start of the school year. The report says students were permitted to take the iPads home as a continuing educational tool.
The experiment lasted less than three weeks because the students became targets for thieves. Between Sept. 26 and Oct. 13, a dozen middle school students had the iPads stolen while on their way to and from school, Cleveland Heights police chief Jeff Richardson said.
Since mid October, the district has collected the iPads at the end of the school day and students no longer could take them home.
More than 130 people attended a meeting seeking answers about how to proceed and whether crime will win out over education. The reporter writes that the meeting was meant as an information-gathering session for police, principals and other officials to determine if the district could safely revive the “Take home iPad Plan” sometime in the near future. Crowd reaction was mixed about how to proceed.
The Los Angles Daily News reports that the panel that oversees spending of Los Angeles Unified’s bond revenue refused Superintendent John Deasy’s request for nearly $17.5 million to jump-start the purchase of computer tablets for every student.
The Bond Oversight Committee voted 7-3 for the plan, but that was one vote short of the eight needed for passage, officials said.
The $17.5 million would have funded the first phase of his long-range technology program, including the pilot project at 14 secondary schools. Mr. Deasy said the tablets are needed for the district to implement the new curriculum known as Common Core State Standards taking effect in 2014.
Ultimately, he wants to buy tablets for all 650,000 LAUSD students, a project estimated to cost upwards of $400 million.
MIT’s Technology Review pointed out new data from IDC suggest that Apple’s dominance of the global tablet computer market may be giving way. Competing tablet makers, led by Samsung (005930), gained substantial ground during the third quarter of 2012.
Apple‘s (AAPL) market share dropped from 65 percent in the second quarter to just over 50 percent in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Samsung share doubled to 18 percent, and Amazon (AMZN) and ASUS (2357) each saw their share rise from under five percent to around nine percent.
As is evident from the graph above, TR concludes that it’s too early to tell how quickly the market is diversifying. Apple’s lag was at least partly due to rumors about its plans to release the iPad Mini, which led some consumers to hold off on buying a new iPad, according to IDC. Now that the Mini is out, analysts expect Apple to have a strong fourth quarter.
The iPad Mini’s $329 starting price, however, is well above that of many Google (GOOG) Android tablets, which is why IDC’s analysts believe there is “plenty of room for Android vendors to build upon the success they achieved in the third quarter.”
Android-powered smartphones are already more popular than Apple’s iPhone in the U.S. as well as other countries, like China
Schools are a large and growing market for Apple’s iPad. Teachers claim that tablets help students with lessons, improve memory and language skills, and cause them to act more independently. The excitement among tablet makers is almost as great. Tablet makers like Apple are pursuing public schools for more sales.
MIT’s Technology Review brings us data from IDC which says global shipments of tablets will reach 177 million this year, and 11 million of them were purchased by businesses or government of those, IDC analyst Tom Mainelli says, the “vast majority” were sold to schools.
Mr. Mainelli thinks that within a few years all U.S. students will have some access to a tablet at school. With 55 million students in the country’s schools, that’s a lot of potential sales. The article says it’s not just a one-time product push: beyond selling tablets to schools and districts, tablet makers see a chance to set up future sales by establishing brand loyalty with young users. “All these guys see huge opportunities here,” he says.
The most successful tablet maker in the education market is Apple (AAPL). In its July 2012 quarterly report, the company said it sold one million iPads to schools. TR notes that Apple hasn’t reported education numbers since then, but it did unveil a smaller, cheaper model that it expects will also appeal to students and educators: the $329 iPad Mini.
Amazon (AMZN) also highlighted its interest in the education market with the debut of Whispercast, a service to manage its Kindle e-readers en masse. Jay Marine, vice president of product management for the Kindle, the company sees the education market as “a meaningful business opportunity.”
Smaller companies are making tablets aimed specifically at the education market. Two firms are: CurriculumLoft, which makes the Kuno tablet, and Brainchild, which sells the Kineo.
Brainchild CEO Jeff Cameron claims his company’s $299 tablet, which runs on Google‘s (GOOG) Android software is better than mass-market devices because it was built for educational use. TR says that unlike most tablets, the Kineo has a replaceable battery, resulting in a longer lifespan. Its touch screen is meant to withstand spills, and it has more physical buttons than an iPad.