Making The Grade: Making sense of Apple’s current MacBook line for education

Making The Grade is a new weekly series from Bradley Chambers covering Apple in education. Bradley has been managing Apple devices in an education environment since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing 100s of Macs and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple’s products work at scale, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for students.


There’s been a lot of discussion in the Apple community lately about MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air vs. MacBook. Each laptop has its pros and cons, but I want to consider which one makes the most sense in education.

I had to do this process two years ago when I was planning our technology refresh at our school. I came up with a list of guidelines that I considered to be important, and then let those guidelines help me determine what laptop was best for us.

  1. Compatibility with existing hardware (projectors, TVs, etc.)
  2. The maturity of hardware (for reliability)
  3. Price vs. function

While that may seem like a straightforward list, it contains some critical decisions that can impact the overall price significantly. When buying more than a couple of laptops, small equipment decisions can add tens of thousands of dollars to your quote.

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