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Apple is making another move into a market that's controlled by Google

Tim Cook China AppleTim Cook / WeiboApple CEO Tim Cook meets some children in China.

Apple is moving further into the education market, expanding the software that runs on iPads to accommodate more classroom-friendly features, and debuting a special website, housed within Apple.com, that is dedicated to showing off everything education-related Apple has to offer.

“Technology can reshape education,” the website reads. “And iPad, with its powerful features and apps, opens up new, more engaging ways of learning.”

Apple’s share of the education market — which is around 10 million PCs in total, according to the US government — is 24%, down from 52% five years ago.

This decline, which has hit Microsoft just as hard, comes as Google’s Chromebook laptops — small, light, and cheap computers that run ChromeOS — went from 1% of the market to 52% in the same period of time.

Apple has made several new features for iPad that will, the company hopes, appeal to schools, universities, and colleges.

The new features will arrive in iOS 9.3, and include multi-user accounts, a new classroom app that helps teachers, an easier way to manage the iPads a school has, and a new teaching assistant that will help children learn.

The education market was, for many years, dominated by Microsoft — thanks to Windows — but has shifted to Chromebooks, iPads, and Windows.

Tim Cook AppleGeordie Wood for Bloomberg BusinessweekApple CEO Tim Cook being photographed for a Bloomberg cover story.

Google offers a range of features aimed at education users, including multi-user support, controls on the kind of content that can be viewed, and cheap, sturdy laptops.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group that advocates for internet privacy, recently claimed that Google was using its position with Chromebooks to monitor the kinds of services students were using.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has made the company’s view of privacy very clear. “Your trust means everything to us,” he wrote in an open letter. “That’s why we respect your privacy and protect it with strong encryption, plus strict policies that govern how all data is handled.”

This kind of rhetoric will appeal to schools and could, when paired with the new offerings, make the iPad even more attractive.

Despite being quite a small market, education is one of the most important. A company can help children learn school courses and, more importantly to the bottom line, how to use technology. An iPad in school, for example, could be a gateway into an iPhone during the teenage years and a Mac during adulthood. Or, an Android device during the teenage years and a Chromebook in adulthood.

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