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Best Apple devices for K-12 and enterprise distributions



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As we continue our “back to basics” series of Apple device management, choosing the right devices is definitely an important part of the process. This week I will look at the different devices in Apple̵

7;s hardware range and make recommendations on which ones are ideal for the K-12 and Apple distributions.

About Apple @ Work: Bradley Chambers has led a corporate IT network since 2009. Through his experience in distributing and managing firewalls, switches, a mobile device management system, enterprise-class Wi-Fi, 100s Macs and 100s iPads, Bradley will Highlight ways Apple IT executives deploy Apple devices, build networks to support them, train users, stories from the trenches of IT administration, and ways Apple can improve its products for IT departments.


The best Mac for K-12 and enterprise

As of release, the M1 MacBook Air is the best Mac for K-12 and enterprise distributions. In the future, I do not recommend that schools or companies buy portable silicone portable suits from Apple until you have a specific requirement, such as virtualization that is not yet fully understood.

MacBook Air

The M1 MacBook Air was this year’s 9to5Mac Apple product in 2020, and when I described why, I said the following:

I’ve been a Mac user since 2005 when I bought the PowerBook G4. It was the only PowerPC computer I owned when the Intel transition happened a few years later. Over the course of my life, I can count on only a handful of technology transitions that have felt like real breakthroughs: Wi-Fi, solid state drives, and Apple Silicon.

In just a few weeks with M1 laptops, I can say that I never knew that the battery life of a laptop could achieve these results while still being so powerful. For those people who wanted Apple to release a Netbook for ultraportability, they have finally done so. Apple Silicon is as important to Apple’s future as any consumer product they have released in their history.

For most customers, the MacBook Air will offer enough power. Unless you have specific reasons to upgrade to 16 GB, I would not recommend it when buying bulk. 8 GB of RAM on Apple Silicon performs much differently than 8 GB of RAM on an Intel laptop.

The main issue will be storage requirements that are unique to each organization. Apple offers a special edition when you buy in bulk that starts at $ 799 and only includes 128 GB of storage.

For my needs it will not be enough, but for many organizations that depend on cloud services, 128 GB will be enough. You can go for 256 GB for just $ 100 more, and when you buy a computer for personal use, it is an easy choice. If you buy hundreds and potentially thousands of laptops at a time, you can save up to $ 100 on each one.

Mac mini

For desktops, I would recommend the Apple Silicon Mac mini, as it is the only desktop Mac with the M1 chip. Until Apple moves the iMac to Apple Silicon, I would only recommend buying the Mac mini. The same RAM and storage tips follow here for this computer as well.

The best iPad for K-12 and enterprise distributions

The iPad setup is a much more difficult discussion to have compared to the Mac. With a Mac, it’s either Apple Silicon / M1 or nothing, in my opinion. On the iPad, more device options will satisfy your needs.

“Regular iPad”

10.2 ″ iPad is Apple’s cheapest iPad, and it’s reduced to $ 299 for schools and businesses for the 32GB Wi-Fi model. If you need an iPad for mobility (hospital, retail, etc.), this is the perfect iPad. It will probably be supported for another six years with iOS updates. It also includes support for the first generation Apple Pencil.

iPad Air with Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil

The next step up from here will be the iPad Air. Because it is almost twice as cheap as the 10.2 ″ iPad, I would only recommend this device for K-12 and enterprise distributions if it is the only device you distribute and need support for the Apple Magic Keyboard and second generation Apple Pencil. Adding these products certainly adds to the cost, but they make the iPad a device that competes with the functionality of a Mac.

Do you need AppleCare?

AppleCare is a frequent question I get about bulk companies and K-12 purchases. For lower cost items like MacBook Air, Mac mini or iPad, I generally do not recommend buying AppleCare. When we look at a bulk purchase of one hundred base models of the MacBook Airs (sold in packs of five), the sum comes to almost $ 77,900, depending on the discount Apple offers your organization. I base my numbers on the company’s education prices. AppleCare for these computers will run over $ 24,000.

Instead of buying AppleCare, an organization can actually purchase an additional 25 MacBook Airs to store as spare parts in case of repairs that were not covered by the first year warranty. Staticly, most organizations will not see a breach rate of 25% after year one. Even if an organization did not want to buy extra laptops, they could easily have a repair budget to spend in case computers were damaged.

Pick up the best Apple K-12 devices and enterprise distributions

When considering your organization’s needs and determining the best Apple devices for K-12 and enterprise deployment, it’s important to consider how each upgrade will affect your budget. As I mentioned earlier, additional $ 100 savings per machine can add up a lot when you buy hundreds of thousands of units. Remember that you still have to buy accessories such as extra chargers, bags, etc., so be aware of that in the budgeting process.

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