Here we are, kids, hours away from Apple’s big education event where we’re expecting to learn about the company’s strategy to reclaim dominance in classrooms, crucial for the incubation of the next generation of consumers. Apple’s expected to announce a low-cost iPad (an ePad?), probably with Pencil stylus support, in addition to new software and services needed by educators and students alike.
It’s an important event for Apple, which has fallen behind both Microsoft and Google, particularly in US school districts (today’s event is being held at a Chicago high school). Google has emerged to reign supreme thanks to cheap Chromebooks and, as of yesterday, an entirely new class of devices: Chrome OS tablets like the $329 Tab 10 from Acer. Chromebooks sell for less than $300, whereas the cheapest iPad currently sells for $329 but without Pencil or Smart Keyboard support. While cheaper MacBooks had been rumored, we’re not expecting any news on that front today.
But to compete, Apple will have to do more than introduce attractively priced hardware — it’ll have to match Google in terms of services and software. School districts love Chromebooks because they are dead simple to setup and manage in large numbers thanks to their cloud-first optimization. Students can be up and running within seconds of logging in to a new device, compared to the configuration required for an iPad. It’s a lucrative proposition, too, with Google making $30 per device on management services for the millions of Chromebooks it ships to schools, according to a New York Times report from last year. Apple revenue is increasingly made up of services, so expect to hear more about new services built for educators today.
Of course, this is Apple, so anything (maybe even “one more thing”) could happen when Tim Cook and co. take the stage. As always, The Verge will be on the ground at the event in order to bring you all the latest news as it happens. Here’s how you can follow along:
HOW TO FOLLOW ALONG
Starting time: San Francisco: 8AM / New York: 11AM / London: 4PM / Berlin: 5PM / Moscow: 6PM / New Delhi: 8:30PM / Beijing: 11PM / Tokyo: Midnight (March 28th) / Sydney: 1AM (March 28th)
Live blog: Tune into The Verge’s live blog for up-to-the-second updates, commentary, and pictures directly from the venue.
Live stream: Sorry, Apple won’t be live streaming the event as it happens. It will however, make a recorded version available to watch after the event concludes.
Live tweeting: Follow @Verge on Twitter for the latest headlines and specs as they emerge.
Live story: Today’s @Verge Instagram Story will have live video updates from our team on the ground in Chicago.