I’ll soon be writing one of these from a MacBook.
Sadly, it won’t be mine. At least, it won’t belong to me; I’ll just be hammering on it for the next several months. My boss, it turns out, has been impressed by what he’s seen out of Apple software and thinks there’s a lot to take advantage of in an educational setting. I don’t disagree, but the trick is a) working out how to fit it into our network and b) cost. The first isn’t a real obstacle, just something to be aware of. The second is a bit tougher for a small, rural school district.
“Buy one to evaluate,” he said. “We’ll worry about cost later.”
Sounds good to me! Besides, maybe there are ways to help with cost. Apple used to give free copies of OS X to educators when it first hit, so there’s got to be something they’d be willing to do to get a foot in the door at an all-Windows district. So I fired an email off to a rep. The work day was more than half over and we’re headed into a holiday, so I didn’t expect a response until next week. As such, I didn’t bother providing a phone number.
An hour later, I got a phone call. It was the rep, on the road.
He got my email, found our school website, and called, all from his car on his iPhone. Pretty slick iPhone commercial right there (it’s too bad his Cingular/AT&T connection didn’t live up to the same standard).
Next I was impressed by the rep himself. I figured he was just a good salesman out for a commission, but our conversation went very well. He spent more time talking about services and support Apple could provide to both myself and our teachers than how great their hardware/software is and how much money we’d have to spend to see discounts. The latter is all certain other vendors want to talk about.
That is, if they bother to talk to us at all after they find out we’re a small district not purchasing in large volumes. They fax me a quote and I never hear from them again. Some do provide tech support, but I have yet to have one tell me what they can do to help my teachers use technology in the classroom better, and I’ve been at this going on eight years.
If this Apple rep lives up to half of what he promises, it’s easy to see the value for purchasing the hardware. Especially when considering the deep education discounts offered on their software (which, by the way, includes teacher copies for home use, something certain other vendors rarely — if ever — provide).
So a sweet new MacBook will be headed my way next week.
Time to find out if the product itself lives up to the same promises.