All these great products and services, iTunes U, iCloud document sync, iBooks should all exist outside of the Apple ecosystem. So, if some point in the future I decide that I a device other than a premium hardware developed by Apple I don’t have to lose all my data.
It’s clear why Apple does this, to lock in the consumer, but it’s an extremely education unfriendly concept. Education thrives on the free distribution of information. Apple does what it does for commercial not technological reasons and it’s for those reasons that I find it difficult to support Apple.
Some may argue that we’re moving from a Microsoft monopoly to an Apple monopoly so what’s the problem? The problem is that while Microsoft did control an entire marketplace, and used that to its commercial advantage, never did they lock your files or products to a single device. I can quite happily take a Microsoft Office files to Google Docs and open and edit it, with Apple’s Pages I can’t even touch the files.
Others argue that you’ve always needed a Microsoft operating system to run Windows applications, why should that be different with iPad?
We have an opportunity for the first time to break out of companies locking us into their systems. In schools we should take the best of the Apple ecosystem and ignore the rest, use more open systems to distribute our textbooks, not iBooks. We have a duty to educate our students and staff not to get tied into systems that may cause harm in the future.