The No. 2 Pencil – Analyzing Apple in Education

Rene Ritchie: Carolina Milanesi, Industry Analyst, Creative Strategies, how are you?

Carolina Milanesi: I'm very good, despite the rain.

Rene: [laughs] Come on, you need a little bit of rain.

Carolina: We do, we do. It could rain and have sun at the same time, but that doesn't work very well.


Rene: It could just rain on Ben's farm, and then everything else can be nice. I think that'd be a good bargain. I wanted to talk to you about education, because Apple has announced their education event. It's happening March 27th in Chicago.

You've been talking and writing about education for a while from the industry analyst point of view. I guess the first question I have is, what do you think Apple needs to do in the education space?

What do you think they actually will do? [laughs]

Carolina: What they will do, I said this morning in my piece, "I'm smarter not to try and guess what Apple will do." [laughs] What struck me as I think about the education market is how different the education market is today versus how it was when the iPad made technology part of education versus technology as a subject that you teach at school.

I think that's what iPad did. I'm passionate about this topic not just because I research it, but because I'm a mom of a fourth grader. I see what schools, her school in particular, struggle with, and what I, as a mom, struggle with.

What I noticed is that at the beginning, iPad was a tool that entered schools that didn't have budget issues and where teachers were empowered to use technology to change the way they taught, to reenergize the classroom, to think about teaching a particular subject in a different way.

Rene: Was that similar to how Macs entered the classroom, or was that a shift in and of itself?

Carolina: It was similar, but exponentially bigger as far as the impact. You're not talking about kids that would have access to the Mac when they go into the computer room. Here are kids that are learning math and history and geography with apps that come alive through this thing that you're holding in your hand, which is the iPad.

I think that where the shift started to happen was where Chromebooks came in. It was when, one, not everybody could afford a one-on-one device, and so then managing the kids, and how you can use and share devices became important.

Two, you started to not only look at the opportunity of technology to teach kids, but also to manage classrooms and manage curriculum, and all the administrative part of what being a teacher is.

That's the part where I think Google was able to go in and say, "We have a solution, is a one-stop shop. We help you share the devices across kids, and we give you tools to do everything from teaching to management and administrative tasks."

Versus an Apple that was, "OK, our strength is in the ecosystem. We have great developers, smart developers that are going to come up with best-of-breed apps for you, teacher, so that you can go and choose what you want to focus on."

It was an approach, in my view, that for the teachers that had the time, was great. For those teachers that might not have the time, might not have the support, but still wanted to do something, and obviously, more at a school, the principal or the broader district, that was a daunting task.

The Google approach was, "Here we go. It's all there. You can use it, and you're good to go." You're looking at total cost of ownership that is not just on the hardware, but is the hardware plus the time that the teacher's going to have to take to learn how to use these tools, plus an IT support.

A lot of schools don't have IT departments. They outsource part of that, so that's an [inaudible 5:22] . There's more to that piece today than there was back in 2010 when Apple started.

Their approach hasn't changed very much, versus if you look at Chromebooks, they started shipping a year after the iPad. It took them until about 2014 to really see a growth in their penetration in schools.

That was when Google became more aware of G Suite for education, and started to talk more about cloud and tools, and all of that.

Rene: It's almost ironic that a device that started off being rumored as a Safari Pad now faces its biggest challenge with the Chromebook.

Carolina: [laughs] You were asking earlier about what Apple needs to do, and I point to where their strength is, which is unfortunately not in the cloud. A lot of the things that we are talking about as far as the search bars of Safari Pad, [laughs] or management of classrooms and schoolwork and all of that, that is done in the cloud.

That's what Google has done, because that's where the strength is. It wasn't in the apps, because Chromebooks did not have an ecosystem. They were just, if you like, a door into the Internet, but that was it at the very beginning.

G Suite, for a lot of teachers, is all they need. They don't go looking for other things, because they have what the kids need to do their homework, or their projects. They have the slide part. They have the writing part. They have what they can do with now Android apps, but only if they want to.

I think that when I look at what Apple needs to do if they really are serious about education, which I think they always been, is really strengthen their cloud part and allowing for more of that, if you like, out of the box plug-and-play solution that will be less tasking on the teacher.

Everything else, they can go and find it. If you have a way for them to have a solution that feels like a solution, versus, "We have a lot of tools for you which are great tools, but you need to go and figure it out yourself," that would be a great help.

Rene: What's interesting to me, again, is these contrasts, that the Mac did very well and the iPad did very well in a PC space because they often had a better user experience. Compared to a PC, sometimes the total cost of ownership was actually less because they required less maintenance.

They got less viruses. They had less problems overall, and so they were compelling. Then Google changed the equation, and they came in with something that in some ways offered a commodity experience, but it was the web, and the web was a commodity...

It was a baseline that everybody understood. It was the lowest common denominator, but in a way that was good and not terrible anymore. Because it was web-based, they added an incredibly easy maintenance schedule.

The price and the upkeep became incredibly low, so the whole total cost of ownership equation changed again.

Carolina: Unfortunately, that is a lot for schools. Money and time are the [laughs] two things that they don't have in most cases.

I think it's a bit unfair when people just say that Chromebooks sell because they're cheap, because I don't think that's it. They certainly get to the table for a discussion because of that.

That's the first reason why schools start looking at them, and then they look at everything else. Like you're saying, from a support perspective, they require less, and so the total TCO is lower.

Rene: You mentioned the cloud, too. Google was prime for that because they were born of the Internet. They weren't an Internet immigrant the way Microsoft and Apple have been.

Gmail was born online, Google Docs, Google Suite. They keep changing their name. Apparently, that's hard to keep.


Rene: That was all born of the Internet, so it means that there's no patches. There's no software. There's no discs. There's no downloads. It's just constantly being updated. Because it's available everywhere, people are familiar with it. It's become almost like Office, but without the price tag attached to it.

Carolina: It is, and I think that's where, if I were Apple, would be concerned and where if I look at old people like me, I grew up and lived most of my career through Office, in different shape or forms. I moved from a local version to a cloud-based version with Office 365. It's still Office. It feels very familiar through the iterations.

Young people are growing up with G Suite. It feels to me that while for what I do for work I'm quite happy to use Office on my iPad, I actually think that Microsoft did a pretty good job at making it good, like a good experience on iPad even using Pencil.

From a kid perspective, I think Apple should absolutely put more effort into iWork, starting with calling it something else, and really look at collaboration.

What I mentioned is a kid should feel the same way as they do about a MacBook. It used to that kids were going off to college and they wanted a MacBook to go to college. Then from there, they wanted to go to a place at work that had Macs.

I want that to happen from a software perspective too. I want kids to want to have whatever productivity and collaboration suite Apple will develop and wanted to bring that with them. I think that you see with millennials, it's always hard when you talk about millennials and Gen Z, because you're stereotyping and putting a big range of ages all in one group.

By and large, these kids want...It's about the experience. It's not so much about the hardware anymore. They are going to go after the apps that they love, the experience that they love, throughout the devices that they use throughout their day. I think that Apple is missing that part.

I struggle to understand why there's not been more focus on iWork, because it used to be way better than Office was and they lost their edge.

Rene: Yeah. The minute you said Office for millennials I just thought of Apple relaunching iWork with a Snapchat interface and just winning the world.

Carolina: [laughs]

Rene: Their parents wouldn't be able...


Carolina: That's the kind of thing they need to do. If you think about how iMessage is so pervasive with kids, your godchildren, I'm sure they use it as much as my kid does. Chatting with friends, because they feel that is safer than going on Snapchat when they're younger.

I'm amazed that I don't see more of that as part of a tool, like a workflow. Ben and I use iMessage all the time. That's the stickiest part between an iPhone and a Mac that nobody else has been able to replicate.

Rene: No, I think that's absolutely true. To your point, I mean, Apple inherited iWork and they developed iWork and they redesigned it using the iOS interface at some point, readded features to it and did

It always seems in fits and spurts. We'll go several years, not hear anything, and then they'll give it a few minutes on stage and we'll go back to not hearing anything about it again.

I think that's very hard to keep up in a world where Microsoft and Google have switched to an almost online system where those bits are constantly flowing and constantly updating and constantly improving. Apple has to adapt to that mentality.

It can do some things the way it's always done them, but the world does change. I think in that part Apple has to change with it.

Carolina: I agree, and by all means I think that their ecosystem of apps is very, very strong. It could be that from where they're sitting, Apple is thinking, "Well, if you want to use Slack and that's what you love, we just make sure that Slack is the best iteration on an iPad or on a Mac."

I do think that owning something for themselves will give them the extra edge. I think that especially when you start to question privacy and what people do with data and all of that, inherently, Apple users trust Apple. We've seen that over and over in our research.

If I had to choose between having my kid use Snapchat or Facebook Messenger and iMessage, I can tell you I'll go iMessage any day.

Rene: No, I think that's absolutely true. I think there are instances where Apple believes that yes, they could do something but they can't do everything and this is one of those things that maybe they won't do at all or they'll just do enough to feel like they keep up.

I think there are things that are table stakes, like Apple wants to have its own messages client. It wants to have its own maps. It thinks those are core technologies it needs to own. iWork feels like one of those things in the middle.

Documents feels super important to us and I'm sure Apple has internal metrics that show them that iMessage is the most popular app on the platform and iWork might be 397, for all I know.

Carolina: Yes. [laughs]

Rene: It still feels like for these segments if it wants to have a presence in education and in industry, and that's very sticky, because people want to use at home what they use at work, they want to use in college and work what they used in primary and secondary school, that iWork does become one of those important core technologies.

Carolina: I agree, and I also think that if I look again from a parent perspective that where I think a gap needs to be filled is in the relationship between school and home, where I had to help Grace with a school project and she was using Google slides.

It wasn't difficult, but I've not worked with it before, I have to admit. I've used PowerPoint most of the time. I figured it out. It was interesting how I felt disconnected because she had her classroom, she could chat with her friends. There was no way for me as a parent to be looped into that process.

I think that now that Apple has made a small statement around families and what they want to do as far as helping parents manage better the tools that their children are using, I think that should be part of that too, creating that connection between school and parents.

The other part where I feel that maybe Apple has more of an opportunity, just because of their approach that is always more personal, is for the many educators that are out there that can be parents helping the kids with homework to parents actually homeschooling their children, which is a segment that started to be very dear to me, because that's the process that we going to take on next year with our child.

I feel that that's the part, because this is not about big numbers. You're not a school that is going to buy seven Android devices, and subscriptions, and whatnot. You are two people in a home. It's something that is not catered for today. I feel that Apple has the ability to cater to educators, not just teachers.

Rene: You mentioned Classroom in your article as well. Again, Apple introduced it. There's rumors they're going to be talking about a class kit here, but it also feels like that's something that could scale all the way from what you mentioned.

Maybe even a family that's not doing home education, but a family that wants to be part of the education process at home, all the way through the public schools and private school systems, to much larger institutions to make device management not just easier, but more engaging for people who are learning, and people who are teaching, and people who just want to be involved in the process.

Carolina: I agree. That's something that Apple doesn't talk about very much. I think they should more. It's one of those things that has changed and helped with the device share.

As I said, as we move to more schools that might have more limited budgets, schools that might be experimenting with different devices, and therefore they don't want to go all in just with iPads, having that part is more important.

Ultimately, I think that Apple's way of differentiating their offer, given that I don't think they are going to be the cheapest device out there, is really pointing to making sure that they help the teacher get the best out of the device that they have, so that they don't have to worry about learning the device and what they can do with it, but they can actually focus on what they should be doing, which is teaching our kids.

Rene: There are so many interesting things here. For example, there is Swift Playgrounds. I don't know that Google has a really coding-first school offering. Tim Cook has said that he believes that coding should be a primary language for students. It seems like there is an opportunity there.

There is just so many disparate elements. There's iTunes U, and there is iBooks Author, which has not been updated forever as far as I can tell.

They have all these pieces that would be so powerful, but it seems like they get their moment of attention, and then they drop by the wayside, and they're never put together until a cohesive enough package that Apple is forced to keep pushing them forward.

Carolina: I agree. I think it's that part of the plug-and-play solution that I mentioned earlier, but also maybe Apple is overthinking this. Some of the Swift Playgrounds and coding, yes, there's a lot of attention around coding and STEM.

A lot of schools are just trying to get the bare minimum done. That's where, from a Chromebook perspective, I would say a lot of teachers don't go past G Suite. That's all they use in school.

It's not like they're going to go out and find a great app that does history with AR, or whatever else. Those are what, two percent, one percent of the school systems. It's still very new. It's exciting, but it doesn't feel that is where the broad part of the education system is today.

I think that's maybe where Apple is focusing too much in that 10, 20 percent of the education market versus what the other 80 percent is, which is more about freeing up time for teachers trying to get digital where it's still very much paper and get more done with the kids.

A more personal approach to education in a world where our class at school is 36 kids to a teacher, that's not going to give you a lot of time to personalize your education to one child.

Rene: This is by no means an excuse, but I wonder, there's that saying Apple doesn't get gaming, but Apple gets gaming to the extent that they understand that most of the money in gaming comes from the casual market, and it's not worth their investment to get into hardcore gaming.

I wonder if they think the same way about education, where yes, they could try to mount a full out assault across the full swath of education.

Perhaps they have a strategy like the Mac or like some of the other products where they believe that there is a premium segment of the market that they could target much more efficiently, that would give them far more return for far less effort. That doesn't require all-encompassing solution that Google and Microsoft provides.

Carolina: It's an interesting thought. Education is not just about hardware anymore. I think that worked with the Mac, when you were thinking you were trying to get people to buy the Mac once they left school. Now it's not just about the hardware. It is about, as we were saying, the services that they are doing.

As Apple is trying to move more of its revenue coming from services, not just hardware, I don't think that they can think about the education today as they used to, because of that.

Rene: Do you have any sense of how sticky accounts are these days? I grew up having a bunch of accounts because I had to, because no one company did everything. I had a Hotmail account, and I had an iTunes account, and then a separate iCloud account, and then a Gmail account, and a Google Apps account, I think a Yahoo account for Flickr. They just kept stacking up.

Is that the same today? Is that the same with newer generations, or do they pick their account, like they pick Microsoft, or Google, or Apple and stick with it for much longer?

Carolina: It depends what you're looking at. There are definitely different apps that kids choose and use. From a productivity perspective, there's enough data to show that millennials that start using G Suite at university and college will stick to it when they go and find their job.

It might well be also that they find Slack through, I don't know, the band they play in, or the group that they belong to, not necessarily through school. That gets plugged into their options. From a productivity standpoint, there are things that definitely stick.

Rene: We live in this world of OAuth, where you can use one login for multiple services. It increases the value, the same way we talk about things like AirPods and HomePods increasing the value of iPhone. Things that you can log into with your Google account, everything from games to productivity software, to music services, to communication tools.

We think it's easy because we don't have to make a whole new login, but it increases the value of that prime login that we're using.

Carolina: It's certainly true. I think apple sometimes doesn't push you to do that through your Apple ID. You can log into different apps with other login, be it Facebook or whatever else. I should not have said Facebook this week.

Rene: [laughs] No, you can.

Carolina: I agree. There is value, especially when we are going towards a world where AI is going to matter more. Being able to draw lines as far as preferences and way that you do things with your devices throughout the applications that you're using is going to be extremely valuable.

In the same way as you're thinking about music and Apple Music, if I make a request on my HomePod, my phone should know that's my preference and should get smarter.

I could say the same thing about iWork and whatever it is that, if they want to go down that road, they're going to call it. That's how I feel with Office, that it doesn't matter what device I pick up, it's right there.

All my content is in the cloud. All my content is accessible. I tried to do iWork and iCloud in particular actually on a Microsoft device, and it is painful. Yes, I can go through a browser and log into my files, but that's not what I want to do.

If you give me a solution that can be on a Surface, then I want that solution to be full and rich of an experience as I'm accustomed to on my Mac. That doesn't quite translate.

Rene: There's two very interesting value dynamics there. One is Apple always has an advantage, because they're the primary experience on an iPhone. They can do things like push Apple Music or encourage you to give Siri a second chance.

Also, if they had some kind of login system, if you downloaded Slack on an iPhone and immediately said you want to log in with your iCloud or your Apple ID, and you did that, that starts to again increase the value of your Apple ID and make your Apple ID stickier, because more and more of your services, you don't even think about it.

You just say yes, and it saves you the effort. It makes it more valuable. On the device side, they've primarily showed that their value is in providing rich native experiences that are differentiated by their quality from commodity web services. That all goes away when you start accessing iCloud, or you have to use a small Windows utility to do these sorts of things.

I don't know that Windows is still gaining share, as opposed to a Chromebook or something. I'm pretty sure you can log in. Obviously, you can log into iCloud through Chrome, but Apple loses almost all of their differentiation when that starts to happen.

Carolina: I agree. From a user perspective, if you had more awareness of how much Apple threads throughout everything that you do like you're saying, it's not just you give more value to your login, but you give more value to Apple as a company, which I think is good or bad, is why people think that they depend on Google so much.

So much of what you do goes through your Gmail login, and you think that Google owns you to some extent.

Rene: No, it's to a very real extent. I was talking about, my godkids play Pokémon. One of them, when he created his Pokémon account, it was with his school ID. For the last three years, he's been incredibly stressed, because he went to high school and he thought he would lose that ID. They would just cancel it when he went to that school.

He stayed with the same school board, so luckily, that didn't happen. They've since created this bizarre method where you can go through Facebook to link a different Google account. It highlighted just how dependent a lot of people were on Google accounts, only some of which were actually under their control.

It made me feel like there was an opportunity for Apple, because they are privacy-first and person-first, innovate in that area where you get an Apple ID, and you can assign that to, "I'm going to this school. Here is my Apple ID," and the school gets ownership of that ID in so far as the data, and applications, and things that belong to the school.

When you lose the school, they flip a button. I don't think it's that complicated because enterprise, Blackberry and stuff have been doing blended environments for a while. You lose that stuff, but then you go to your new school, an app becomes part of your experience. Or you go to work, an app becomes part of it.

You're not juggling. I must have 14 different Gmail accounts alone at this point. I don't need that. I don't want it. It's huge overhead. You'd have a much saner experience.

Carolina: I agree. It's similar to when you go to a job, and you bring your phone number, and then you say you're not going to own that phone number. When I leave my job, I'll take that phone number with me.

It used to be much harder before. That's become easier. It should be the same thing, because it's you.

We were having a little bit of this discussion on Twitter this morning, it's still me, it's one part of me for one part of my life that happens to be at a school or a corporation. Everything that I do there, I realize that belongs to me and them.

Once I leave, I should still be able to be me. The two things is not one ID that I share throughout and then I risk losing everything that I've done. You learn that very quickly throughout I think your digital life not to do that, but to your point, managing five, six, seven different IDs and identities is not very easy.

Rene: No, and it's these little things. It's like my godson is going to go to a new school at some point. Maybe he or his parents want to keep all the work that he has associated to his school ID.

They won't have that opportunity, because the minute he leaves, the school board just flushes that and all his projects, all his essays, all his book reports. All of that, unless he's got hard copies or some form of export, is just gone. It doesn't seem like an ideal solution.

Carolina: No, I can tell the big box that I have under the bag...


Carolina: ...has all the work that Grace has ever done. No, it's true. I think the more we go digital, the more that becomes an issue, an issue that I think is in search of a solution. I think given what is going on at the moment with Facebook, I do think it's time for somebody to think about it and see what could be done there.

It's just a lot to ask Apple, though. It seems like very easy and proactive, but that's a lot that they would have to take on and, first of all, would be more of a cloud-first approach versus device-first, which is not in their nature.

Rene: Any project that you don't have to manage is easy by definition.

Carolina: Yes.


Carolina: We can just tell them what to do and then, by magic, it will appear.

Rene: The last thing I wanted to ask you is actually the first thing in your article, but we moved backwards a little bit, is the hardware pricing. There's rumors that there's going to be a cheaper 9.7-inch iPad.

Ben Bajarin, your colleague, is very optimistic about it having Apple Pencil support. There's also rumors we might get a refreshed MacBook Air that would have a Retina display and a modern architecture. Apple's still very much a hardware company. Is there a really compelling hardware story here?

Carolina: I think it's their core, the reading of the tea leaves every time that the invite goes out for their event. Clearly, the Apply is drawn, so Pencil [laughs] has to come into next week in some shape or form.

I wrote a piece a while back that was calling for support of Pencil for the iPhone. Before we get there, clearly, Pencil has to go across the iPad line. I think it makes a lot of sense, especially when I see how versatile it is in an education setting from art to doing your math work.

We use a lot of whiteboards at home. With my iPad Pro and Pencil, we use that, too. There's a lot there that could be done. I think it makes a lot of sense. It can't be as expensive as it is today, because that's almost how much you pay for a Chromebook. [laughs]

That's the problem, is what can they do from a bundling perspective where the iPad gets cheaper from what we had last year? I think last year it was $329, so sub-$300 this year, but then you add $100 worth of Pencil. Something there has to give to allow for education. Discounts is just not enough. They have to be more aggressive.

I think on the MacBook Air refresh, I don't know if it has to go Retina, to be honest with you, although we are used to that. I would take a bigger price cut on the overall price and not get Retina than having a Retina and keeping it at the same price that it is today.

I think that segment for, if you think about higher education, it's so critical that they're trying to get to around $700, $800 with a good configuration would be so [laughs] heartbreaking for the Windows OEMs. That would really shake things up a lot.

Rene: I agree with you. I have so many thoughts. First of all, I have no reason to believe that Apple marketing listens to this show, but if they do, and there is a new Apple Pencil, I will be heartbroken if it's not called the number two pencil. I just want to put that out there.

Carolina: [laughs] .

Rene: I think that name is just sitting there. It's prime real estate and Apple should pounce on it. I have mixed feelings on the MacBook Air because, on one hand, I think of the kids and their poor eyeballs with all those scratchy low-res pixels.

You make a very compelling point that Apple kept the iPad 2, a non-Retina device, around for a very long time. The current MacBook Air is non-Retina and they've kept it around. A lot of people, as much as the Apple aficionados care desperately about those things, I have family members who have an iPad 2 and an iPad Pro.

If I ask them, they'll say, "Yeah, I guess the screen is nicer on the iPad Pro," but they'll switch between them based on remaining battery life alone, and it makes very little difference to them. I just wonder if they'll be competitive with those Windows laptops if they don't have the Retina display at this point.

Carolina: It depends how much cheaper they're going to be, how attractive the price is. That's the only trade-off. If they can undercut that Windows offering by too much, then Retina has to come in.

I also wonder if they're going to think what they're thinking around Touch Bar, because one of the things that seems to differentiate a lot the Windows side is that, obviously, the screens are touchscreens and Apple still doesn't seem to believe that that's the way they want to go.

Is it going to be between a Retina or putting a Touch Bar? Are the kids really so into touching things that that will make more of a difference to them than not having Retina? I don't know.

Rene: My thing on that is Microsoft had to include...Google was just born in a touch era so it made sense for them to have touch on the Chromebooks.

Microsoft, no matter how hard they try, they could not succeed with a mobile operating system, so they had very little choice but to spend the years in the desert that it took to get through Window 8 and come out on the other side with a touch-optimized version of classic Windows with their desktop OS.

Apple has a hugely popular, hugely successful touch-first operating system and diverting the amount of resources that they would need to touch-optimized Mac OS, which is a traditional operating system. It doesn't seem efficient to me. I wonder if, maybe not this year, but at some point, rumors already have had this in the lab for a while and that maybe the iPad Pro went out over this.

At some point, a lower cost Clamshell iOS device comes out that does have that touchscreen and has everything baked. Maybe it's a hybrid or a convertible, but it really is a low-cost iPad that's packaged as a hybrid laptop and that takes over that narrative.

Carolina: I think that would actually go very well in education, because that was one other thing that people were arguing for a long time that one of the reasons why Chromebooks were successful was, because they were coming out from a design standpoint with a keyboard.

Depending where you are, smaller kids just the screen, so a tablet design is better. As you grow, that keyboard becomes more important because you do more essay work and all of that.

I think your theory would actually work very well in school as well because then they would get the best of everything. You're going to have your keyboard, you're going to have all your apps, you're going to have a screen that you can touch, you have support for Pencil, you have it all.

Rene: I would be super excited. Frankly, I'm over Intel's architecture at this point. I'd like to see [laughs] ARM keep growing.

Carolina: [inaudible 39:58] another idea around Apple partnering versus doing it themselves. Last year, when they released the price of the iPad, they also introduced, I think it was a Logitech keyboard.

That added to the cost of the device quite significantly because it was over $100. Even if you take education discount, that's quite a bit to add to the cost of a device itself. You argue if a solution like that, where it's not born with it but is added, is the best that you can do.

Rene: We talked about this on a previous show with Bradley Chambers. You have the cheap iPad, but once you add the screen, once you add the theoretical pencil, once you add the dongles that you might need in a classroom because all you have is lightning out and maybe you need the photography dongle.

All of that stuff at scale, it just makes the total price much, much higher than a Chromebook that probably has a built-in keyboard and ports touchscreen and all that stuff for one low price. [laughs]

Any final thoughts, Carolina, that you really want to see from Apple? Any curveballs you think they might throw or anything you're hoping they go?

Carolina: Curveballs, no, unless what you just described is going to come out next week, which that would be really, really quiet and soon. Nobody was guessing this event at all.

Clearly, they're being keeping quiet quite a bit on what's coming. No, I think that it'd be interesting to see more from a tool perspective what they have. There must be a reason why it's in Chicago at a school.

Rene: After they built the Steve Jobs Theater, they go out to Chicago. [laughs]

Carolina: Correct. At a week where it's going to snow and we might all get stuck there. I think it would be interesting to see what the teachers and the kids, who I'm sure are going to be there, are going to be talking about.

That's the other part that I always find extremely interesting when these Apple or even Microsoft events that are education events. You actually have the people that use these things, where you can feel and hear how excited they are talking about what they do every day. That's the other part that I think I'll be interested in being part of.

Rene: Awesome. If people want to follow you on Twitter or they want to read your good works, where can they go?

Carolina: They can follow me on Twitter @caro_milanesi. I know I should have an easier name, so C-A-R-O underscore M-I-L-A-N-E-S-I, and they can read my Wednesday column on

Rene: Awesome. Thank you so much, Carolina.

Carolina: Thank you.

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Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.