- In an interview with CNET, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller said Chromebook laptops were only good for taking tests.
- Schiller’s comments ignored the notoriously high price point of Apple products, which most schools can’t afford, and other benefits offered by Chromebooks.
- This marked one of Apple’s most direct public attacks on Chromebooks as Google gains an increasing share of the ed tech market.
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During an interview with CNET about the recently announced 16-inch MacBook Pro, Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, was asked about the Chromebook’s growth in the education market.
“Chromebooks have gotten to the classroom because, frankly, they’re cheap testing tools for required testing,” Schiller said.
Schiller said that Apple’s past research on educational outcomes found that kids who were “engaged” perform best. But by using the low-cost Chromebook for anything more than test-taking, Schiller claimed students were “not going to succeed.”
Chromebooks, which are powered by Google’s software but often made by third parties, are a cheap laptop option, and as a result, have become particularly popular in schools. But Schiller’s comments offered further evidence of a frequent critique of Apple: that the company seems oblivious to the high price points of its products relative to competitors, which leave many consumers unable to purchase them. Particularly in the context of education, where cost is often a limiting factor, Schiller’s comments seemed strikingly out-of-touch.
Schiller went on to call the iPad “the ultimate tool for a child to learn on,” and pointed to Apple’s Everyone Can Code curriculum and the Swift Playgrounds app as benefits of using its products, arguing that students need access to cutting-edge technology – that is, Apple products – to succeed in the classroom.
Chromebooks, meanwhile, have become increasingly present in classrooms over the past few years, thanks to factors like a lower price point, the ability to run both Chrome OS and Linux operating systems, and Google’s aggressive efforts to get teachers to use its products.
Google did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on the Chromebook’s presence in the classroom.
After the CNET interview was published, Schiller tweeted out a clarification on Wednesday afternoon, saying that helping children succeed has “always been our mission.”
Every child has the ability to succeed — helping them to do that has always been our mission. In the full conversation with CNET, we discussed giving kids and teachers the content, curriculum and tools they need to learn, explore and grow. Not just to take a test.
— Philip Schiller (@pschiller) November 13, 2019