Apple held a press event today at its Cupertino headquarters, unveiling a variety of improvements to its line of iPods and iPhones, including an update to its mobile operating system and a brand new version of its wildly popular iPhone. As always happens around these Apple announcements, there's a flurry of excitement -- before, during, and after -- about what the company will reveal. Other tech companies hold similar press events, sure, but few seem to garner as much buzz as Apple's.
Some of that allure came from its former CEO. When Steve Jobs announced in August that he was stepping down from his position as CEO, there was a massive outpouring of reflections and analyses by the technology press about the impact that he and his company have had on technology -- on both hardware and software. Indeed, it's hard to understate that impact when you look at the role that Apple played in the development and adoption of personal computers, portable music devices, mobile phones, and tablets. By extension, Apple's influence has helped usher in new opportunities for digital content in the entertainment and publishing industries.
And, of course, the company has had a huge impact on education. Apple has had a long history of pushing its computers into the classrooms. For many years, a child's first exposure to a computer had been at school, and often that computer was an Apple. The company made a push back in the 1980s to get its PCs into the classroom, and even with the ascendancy of Microsoft and Windows in the personal computing market, schools have remained a stronghold for Apple.
The shift to mobile devices -- first the iPods, then the iPhones, and now the iPads -- has once again put Apple in the lead in the consumer market, and it's interesting to think about how the company continues to be embraced by schools and to influence education. Indeed, Steve Jobs often said that the company exists at the "intersection of technology and the liberal arts," and as such arguably has had a very different approach to the devices it's produced -- their design and their capabilities -- as well as to these devices' applications and the types of software that runs on them.
The buzz around Apple products often seems to prompt both the company and its users to make sweeping predictions about their "magic" and about their "revolutionary" impact on the world. That's particularly true for education. On stage today in Cupertino, Apple's new CEO Tim Cook told the audience that iPads are "showing up everywhere" and that in schools they are "changing the way teachers teach and kids learn, and many educators agree with us." He added that there is an iPad deployment program in every state.