Part 4 – Choosing and Purchasing iPads

The fourth-generation iPad, the iPad Mini, and the iPhone 5. Both the iPad 4 and iPhone 5 use Apple’s new A6 chip, which delivers jaw-dropping raw performance for a mobile device.
(Credit: CNET)

Suppose you have thought through all the logistical aspects of implementing iPads. Now, which one do you choose?

Each device pictured (iPhone 5 not really practical but iPod touch could work!), has its unique advantages, of which price is a major component. If you are a small private or parochial school with a limited budget the iPod or iPad mini might be your choice device.  But price comparisons aren’t the only reason to consider a smaller device over the larger ones.

When I am asked the question “Which device do you recommend?” I often times after asking questions refer people to purchasing the iPad mini. Here are my reasons.

First, the mini is cheaper. If you notice, the display itself is not that much smaller and comparably it still has one of the largest screens around! Battery life for the devices with the smaller screens are often times better and battery life is a very important factor when it comes to all day use at the k-12 level.

If you are looking to take pictures, video, use your basic apps…etc. the iPad mini can do all of that and more. If you are looking for a device that students can use to take notes and type on then the regular iPad might be a better option. There are also some hardware differences. The iPad with Retina Display (Generation 4) does run the A6 processor chip which makes it just about the fastest tablet on the market. It also has the retina display which delivers amazing HD quality video and imagery. Here is a link that compares them. However, don’t be fooled into thinking the iPad mini has a lower resolution screen…packed into that small screen is the resolution of the iPad 2 which, when condensed gives a much clearer and better HD picture. It has been argued that the iPad mini and iPad with Retina display are just about equal in picture quality. Good things do come in small packages! Finally, for what students utilize the iPad for the processing power is definitely adequate in the iPad mini.

Don’t think that I have left the iPod out of this. The iPod can be a great tool as well. It can scan QR codes, be used as a calculator, be used for students to take tests and quizzes using Google forms, and be used for research and email communications. There are a great many things the iPod can do. However, it is limited in some capacity to the apps you can run and when it comes to typing a paper…etc. forget it.

Now onto pricing…

You will find that there are no discounts for education, at least not really. However, Apple does offer discounts and education pricing if you are buying in bulk. For every 10 iPads Apple gives a small discount. When shipped they come in a very plain box, but who buys something for really nice packaging?

If you are thinking of buying in bulk a word of advise…START EARLY! To create an account with Apple’s Education department you have to go through a slew of paperwork including a financial audit (easy enough but time consuming). Is it worth it?…I think so. When we went through the process I found that Apple was amazing as far as customer service and information. I bought over 40 iPad minis, accessories, cart, mac book and apple TV’s. They tried to make the process as quick and easy as possible. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

For more information on implementing iPads into your school visit HERE.

For Part 5 – Configuring iPads using Apple Configurator click HERE.

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