Showing posts with label Apple. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apple. Show all posts

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Why Chrome OS is better suited for the classroom

I want to reiterate in this post on just why the Chrome OS in a tablet form factor makes sense. The key, in my view, is the versatility of Chrome OS that can run on different form factors. Previously I noted my skepticism that a tablet running a mobile operating system can function as a laptop replacement (Apple marketed this idea when it first released the larger iPad Pro). However, with Chrome OS now supporting Android applications, I think it can serve the dual purpose of a laptop and tablet.

Apple's iPad Pro essentially runs a mobile OS and Microsoft's Surface 2-in-1 devices runs a desktop operating system with some tablet features built-in. In contrast, Chromebooks that come in diverse form factors are better suited to make use of two different focuses of a mobile and desktop interface. When required Chromebooks can now run mobile-based applications and for other tasks, there is a desktop interface.

This cross-pollination between a mobile-centric operating system and web-centric desktop operating system offers the best of both worlds in education. In the case of Android, there are useful applications for the classroom, e.g., Google Arts & Culture and Google Expeditions. Further, many Chromebooks now support touch and pen input that could make use of the different features in these applications. The desktop interface, on the other hand, works better for multi-tasking between tabs and extensive writing in Google Docs.

Another issue to consider is that many Chromebook are ruggedised and spill-resistant. In contrast, the Apple iPad requires the extra purchase of a rugged keyboard combo if it is to be feasibly used in the classroom.

Chrome OS has matured into a versatile operating system that works across different form factors. Neither Microsoft nor Apple offer anything similar to Chrome OS and I predict Chromebooks to continue to dominate and expand in the education sector.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Chrome OS in a tablet form factor

Acer released the first Chrome OS tablet: the Acer Chromebook Tab 10. The tablet is directed at education and supports a Wacom pen. I like the idea of a Chrome OS tablet and can realistically envisage it to be a laptop replacement (of course, many users may prefer a larger display). In contrast to the iPad Pro series, Chrome OS runs a desktop PC environment that also supports mobile applications via the Google Play store.

The problem with the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is the high-end specifications that means a relatively high price for a device targeted at education. If these tablets are to be adopted in schools then it is important that vendors make the right compromise between pricing and specifications. For example, a good camera, long battery life and stylus support are necessary but a resolution beyond full HD is not. This is the first Chrome OS tablet and more affordable ones are a strong possibility.

Apple's recently released iPad with Pencil support is another attempt at gaining access in education. Apple aims to take on Chromebooks that are now gradually dominating the sector. Apple's size means that it will always have a place in education; however, what makes the Chromebook model a better fit is the simplicity of deployment and affordable hardware. The latest iPad may be priced lower relative to other iPad models but the pricing, after introducing the Apple Pencil and external keyboard, makes it a costly option even when compared to the high-end Acer Chromebook Tab 10.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Apple's 'True Tone Display'

Apple introduced 'True Tone Display' with its iPad Pro (9.7 inch version), stating the technology as the first of its kind in a tablet. This means the smaller iPad Pro's display comes with four ambient sensors that measure the ambient light in a room to adjust the brightness and colour temperature. Despite the clichéd coverage of Apple's latest supposed 'innovation' (e.g. here and here), this is similar to a feature Amazon introduced with its fourth generation Kindle Fire HDX.

'True Tone Display' is part of a broader strategy by manufacturers to ameliorate problems with light emitting displays. For example, Amazon, Google and Apple all introduced different features to change the colour tone of screens to counter problems with blue light emission. Overall, while these features are helpful, reflective tablet screens are not suitable for prolonged reading. There are alternative technologies (e.g. E-Ink, Plastic Logic, Electrowetting and Mirasol) but many are currently underdeveloped for more featured reading (e.g. colour and multimedia). Also, in the case of E-Ink, the options, from Amazon and Kobo, tend to be restricted to six inch displays.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Apple, the future & iPad Pro

Reviews for Apple's iPad Pro are skewed, as is often the case with Apple products. Too many reviews accept Apple’s framing that this is the future – a large tablet that is finally a post-laptop device. It is now a cliché with Apple products to uncritically take their marketing line to then frame reviews. For example, Techradar notes that using this device makes you an early adopter, with Apple again, supposedly, setting the trend:
The iPad Pro might, in the future, be seen as normal, in the same way that a 5-inch screen on a phone is viewed as regular now, where just five years ago you looked like a mental early adopter holding a massive device to your ear to use such a thing.
This is similar when Apple recently introduced their Macbook that was marketed as light years ahead! In response, reviews tended to take that line. For example, a salivating review by 'The Verge' termed its features as "inventions" and the future for laptops. The only thing is that we are not there yet, to make use of these features; hence, again, we are made to believe the aura of Apple's visionary trendsetting status.

The point with the iPad Pro is that it is not a new concept at all. Samsung introduced a similar large tablet device with productivity features i.e. the Samsung Note Pro 12.2. What Apple tends to do, as is the case with near all major manufacturers, is to work off ideas that already exist and make the end product better and then over-charge. In this case, the iPad Pro might be the same concept as the Note Pro 12.2 but it is a far better product for the same purpose.

The Surface Pro, on the other hand, which is compared to the iPad Pro, is a different device. The Surface Pro is a laptop replacement that is not restricted to mobile apps. It runs full desktop software and does it on excellent hardware. The problem, I believe, is that Microsoft does not differentiate its operating system, across devices, adequately. The Windows Store is scarce, as full blown Windows isn't a serious platform to develop mobile applications. At this moment, it would be inconceivable to see a comparable device to the iPad Pro released by Microsoft, as there is no dedicated operating system comparable to iOS or Android.