Apple’s upcoming Education platform makes the case for iPads over Chromebooks

New iOS education app

Following the release of new developer betas for iOS and watchOS, Apple has just uploaded a new preview of its revamped iOS Education platform.

It’s a big update, and one that has relevance to those outside the teaching profession. Of particular interest to consumers is the fact that Apple’s iOS education suite will soon ship with support for multiple accounts on a single device, a feature the wider iOS community has been asking the company to add for a number of years. While it’s unclear at this point, iPads may need to be assigned to be “education” devices upon setup, which would enable multiple account support.

In the context of Apple’s new education app, multiple students can now share the same device thanks to each student having an Apple ID that’s stored on the cloud. If a student logs into a new school-issued iPad with their Apple ID, they’ll find all their apps, books and documents on the device.

The platform also allows teachers to use their own iPad to launch and close apps on their students’ iPads remotely, as well as see how each and every student is progressing through an exercise using screen-sharing technology. Teachers will be able to use simple web- and iPad-based MDM tools to set up and administer student accounts.

Last April, Google greatly expanded its education offering with the launch of Google Play for Education, a dedicated marketplace for education-focused apps and books, as well as a platform for managing classroom Android and Chrome devices.

Apple’s strategy means to make tablets more flexible in the classroom, both for teachers and their students. With iPad sales stalling over the past two years, this could be a way to spur sales, especially of older, less expensive models.