So our children's primary school have decided to go down the Apple road and deemed it compulsory for students next year to own an Apple iPad mini. For us, this means the painful purchase of 2 x iPad mini tablets for our two children in years 3 and 5 at primary school.
Painful in two ways:
Let me expand a little more on the above points - I know Apple makes top quality products but I've always hated the checks and balances that comes with their software like iTunes etc; whereas, Android and Windows are a lot more flexible. I see nothing wrong with Android tablets or phones - my Samsung S5 is fantastic and especially eye catching when placed alongside an iPhone...
- Cost - iPads (as most people know) are not cheap to buy and the best price we have found for the iPad mini Retina display is $479 buying directly from the Apple store. This is still a very expensive tablet and although the school has stated the old model iPad mini is still fine to use it's really hard to justify paying good money and buying old technology when the new iPad with Retina display is considerably better than the previous version.
- Not an Apple fanboy - How should I put this... We haven't owned an Apple product since the first iPod so it has been a long time between Apple products for us. I personally prefer Windows PCs and Android devices because they are more flexible, cost less, and I like the systems. Therefore, being forced to buy Apple after being so adverse to their products for so many years really hurts.
My brother is a computer engineer and scientist, he adores Apple products and no doubt will be chuffed to know I've caved in and finally got iPads for my kids. Naturally, as a technology guru my brother knows significantly more about this area than a "Home Dad" like me but I also think when it comes to Apple vs Android (or Windows) it's what you get used to in the end and in my case sticking with Android and Windows has saved me a lot of money over the years.
The cost outlay doesn't stop at the tablet either with the initial teaching app costing $40 and the "recommended" protective case costing another $60 or even more. Apparently, parents will be required to pay for extra apps as learning evolves albeit at a discounted price through the school and offset by a reduction in physical text books - hardly compensation.
But back to the Droid vs Apple, I still think it's a little short sighted and "follow the sheep" syndrome for schools to introduce a program using only one brand of technology. I believe the apps used by schools should be universal across all platforms and compatible with any PC or tablet - I'm sure it wouldn't be that hard to do. Then parents could choose to either buy an expensive iPad or a $99 Android tablet to fit their budget.
Alas, there's nothing my wife and I can do about it now except be a sheep like everyone else and play the Apple game. Having said that, at least we held off until the iPad mini Retina came out unlike many other parents who pre-ordered the old model through the school instead only to see the new Retina emerge a few months later.
At the end of the day, if I'm being forced to buy an Apple iPad I'm getting the latest technology there is and ensuring I get the maximum life out of the product so I hopefully don't have to buy another one again.
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In the future, I might develop this website & idea. Perhaps to become more of a "political" site instead of a parenting one? We'll see...
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School & Childcare iPad Mini Retina Tablets Made Compulsory by School for Kids Education
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