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Boycott iOS?

Let's put some pressure on Apple to make its devices enterprise-friendly.

This story appeared in the April 2013 digital edition of Campus Technology.

As editorial director for the 1105 Media Education Group, I oversee K-12 and higher ed publications that focus on the role of technology in teaching and learning. Even though the topics we cover are often the same (BYOD, cloud, digital content), K-12 and higher ed are such different animals that their respective concerns about these topics are often unrelated.

Except when it comes to managing iPads in an enterprise environment. On this issue, K-12 and higher ed IT managers are feeling the same pain. Last October, I wrote an editorial for CT's sister publication T.H.E. Journal titled "Note to Tablet Companies: Education Is an Enterprise," and received more mail than for any editorial I have written (including the previous one, "Stop Buying iPads, Please," which put me on the hit list of more than a few readers).

My point then, and the point made in "IT Does Not Love iPads" in our April issue, is that if Apple really wants the iPad to be used well and in perpetuity in education, it needs to do more to help IT integrate the device into the education enterprise. The company seems to have shrugged off its customers' problems and more or less said, "Get thee to a mobile device management provider."

I was just talking about managing iPads in my T.H.E. editorial--I didn't even know about the nightmare of integrating Apple TV into campus networks. Tom Hoover of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga calls the problem "an abomination on a grand scale." And I thought I wasn't pulling punches!

So listen, people: Can't IT leaders in higher ed and K-12 get together as a market force and tell Apple to pay attention? Where would Apple be today without education institutions as its decades-long customers? The company is responding to market pressure about manufacturing conditions in China. Why not put similar pressure on it to address education's serious problems using iOS technology in enterprise settings?

Last July, some members of an Educause constituent group put a petition on change.org regarding Apple TV. I don't think it caused a ripple in Cupertino. I'd suggest a boycott--just a temporary one!--but I think I'd get lynched. So, let me put the question out there: What should we do to get Apple's attention? Ideas, anyone?

About the Author

Therese Mageau is the former editorial director of THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at therese@educationworksconsulting.com.

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