My Fantasy Apple EDU Keynote

What Tim Cook didn't say.

September 10, 2013

On Tuesday, September 10th, Apple's CEO Tim Cook took the stage in Cupertino to talk about the new iPhone 5C and 5S.

Here is what he did not say:

"Education is in Apple's DNA. Today we are announcing a renewed focus on education, a focus that will center on mobile learning.

We believe that education in the 21st century will move from a place people go to a thing that people do. That learning will move from the classroom to the smart phone, the lecture hall to the tablet.

Education is the driver of social mobility, and education will be the key factor in creating billions of new middle class consumers (consumers that will become Apple customers) throughout the world.

Today we are announcing 3 exciting new initiatives at Apple around education. These initiatives are only the start, as over the next months and years we will be investing in transforming the education industry in the same way that we have transformed the music, mobile phone, and tablet market.

1. A New iTunes U Courses App:   

Today we are announcing a major upgrade to our iTunes U Courses app. This app will come pre-bundled on all iOS 7 devices. We have listened to educators around the world using this free app, and we have made some changes. Starting today the new iTunes U app will enable pre-enrollment in courses, one button content download (for all materials), analytics, quizzes, and presence awareness.   

We have released a set of API's that will allow third party developers to integrate existing learning management and media management platforms, seamlessly passing content across the system. Finally, we are also releasing a new website tied into the iTunes U Courses app and Course Manager. This website is responsive and mobile friendly, and will for the first time allow non iOS users and anyone using a browser to access iTunes U course material.   

2.  An Integrated Free Curricular Content Library:  

Not only are we radically upgrading the iTunes U app, we are bundling this app with a full set of high quality learning materials. Apple has sought out the world's best textbook, assessment, lecture, and animation curricular content for the 100 most highly attended courses. In cases where we could license this content from existing publishers we have done so. Where we could not license the content we have designed it from scratch.   

At Apple, we believe that education is all about the relationship between the educator and the learner. That the real value in education is derived from the professor and teacher. We have therefore strived to bring the cost of the course content down to zero, as all the investment should be in the people doing the education. The free iTunes U app (and new free website), combined with a full set of free curricular materials, means that the world's best educational platforms and content are no longer a scarce good. Any learner, living anywhere in the world, can access the same learning content that will be used in the world's wealthiest school districts and best universities.

3.  A New Education-Centric iWork Suite of Apps

We believe that if education is going to truly become mobile that the iPhone and the iPad need to work as well for creating as they do for consuming. This has been a challenge as most communication in online education still relies on the old-fashioned QWERTY keyboard. Today, we are announcing a major upgrade to the iWork suite of apps designed to make creating and sharing as easy as reading.

The biggest update is that all iWork apps, including Keynote, Pages, and Numbers, will include voice and camera recording capability into each document from any iOS 7 device. Faculty, teachers, and students will easily be able to record voice and video over presentations.  They will be able to share these voice and video narrated presentations, documents, and spreadsheets easily with other learners through a one touch upload to iTunes U. Commenting and discussion features, again voice and video enabled, will be robust around shared presentation. All iWork apps will be seamless tied into the iTunes U app, with creation, reading, and sharing becoming a simple and transparent process.

Again, these changes in the Apple education line-up are just the beginning. At Apple, we are dedicated to catalyzing the next era in learning. We will be looking for opportunities to partner with schools, colleges and universities to understand their needs and to work with them to develop content and platform solutions that will increase educational quality while lowering educational costs.   

Education is in Apple's DNA."


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