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Apple’s Phil Schiller takes shots at Chromebooks, says kids are ‘not going to succeed’

This morning, all eyes have been on Apple as they announced their latest MacBook Pro, which you can read more about from our friends at 9to5Mac. In an interview about the new MacBook Pro, Apple’s Phil Schiller took a potshot at Google’s Chromebooks, saying that kids who use them are “not going to succeed.”

In the last few months, Google has been slamming the laptops of their competitors, particularly Windows, in a series of “Switch to Chromebook” ads. One ad, featuring Bill Nye, walks through the typical flaws of a Windows laptop, like being slow to start and getting viruses, and contrasts them with the all-day battery life of some Chromebooks and their built-in security.

Today, in an interview with CNET about the 16-inch MacBook Pro, Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller made a direct attack on Chromebooks. When asked about the growth of Chrome OS in the education sector, Schiller attributes the success of Chromebooks to their being “cheap.”

Kids who are really into learning and want to learn will have better success. It’s not hard to understand why kids aren’t engaged in a classroom without applying technology in a way that inspires them. You need to have these cutting-edge learning tools to help kids really achieve their best results.

Yet Chromebooks don’t do that. Chromebooks have gotten to the classroom because, frankly, they’re cheap testing tools for required testing. If all you want to do is test kids, well, maybe a cheap notebook will do that. But they’re not going to succeed.

Schiller’s argument here is that MacBooks and iPads are better suited to teaching, supposedly by comparison to Chromebooks only being well-suited to standardized testing on the web. He also points to the “Everyone Can Code” initiative, which allows iPads to be used to teach the foundations of computer science.

Update 1:15pm: Schiller has taken to Twitter to clarify his intent behind saying that kids who are only tested and not engaged in learning are “not going to succeed.” In the tweet, he says that “every child has the ability to succeed,” and doubles down on Apple’s ability and willingness to help by equipping both educators and students, alike.

Needless to say, it’s almost shocking to see an Apple senior VP like Schiller make such a bold attack on their competitor’s product.

9to5Google’s Take

Chromebooks are some of the most dynamic computers on the market today, long offering the best of web apps — which some would attribute Mac’s own success to — and Android apps. More recently, Chromebooks gained support for Linux apps, which opens Chrome OS to potential use in computer science classes.

When using a convertible Chromebook, the classroom utility increases even further, by offering the tablet experience when reading/learning, without sacrificing the physical keyboard needed when writing essays and papers.

For Chromebooks to offer that best of both worlds experience at a low price sounds to me more like being a good value than being “cheap,” as Schiller calls it. And we all know affordable devices are what school districts on tight budgets need — not condescension.

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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