Over the last few years in the US K12 school market. the very low cost Chromebook laptops are now dominating the market with about 60% market share. Windows based machines have about 22% while Apple is 18%. The US education market is well over $40 billion annually.
Apple’s laptops are over triple the cost of a basic Windows machine. The Chromebook machines are half the cost of a cheap Windows machine. Microsoft has done much to help lower costs which has why they retain a fair piece of the overall market.
The Chromebooks are a minimal machine designed primarily for web based use. There is typically a USB port for flash sticks so that a student can save school work to. Most however are satisfied with cloud based solutions.
Microsoft and Google compete with cloud based services. Apple nominally has iCloud to allow work with a browser when needed. With a modern browser, machines are generally all the same.
Android tablets are inexpensive but better models are available. Low cost Windows tablets are available as well. Apple’s new iPad is $399 which is dramatically less costly than typical models suggesting they are accepting reality that cost does matter.
Windows does fine with 4GB of RAM but a minimum of 64GB of flash storage is needed to cope with Windows updates. A larger 128GB is much more practical. Low cost android tablets tend to have too little storage to handle updates and should be avoided. Like Windows, updates can consume a lot of storage and 64GB is very realistic. iPad starts at 32GB with up to 1TB for the flagship model. At present 128GB seems to be best for any tablet machine.
Given the academic need for thousands of machines. Its small wonder that Chromebooks are dominating the situation. It does not take a degree in economics to realize the price matters.