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Apps Drive Hardware

The increasing number, affordability and practicality of apps, such as iBooks Author, is beginning to drive the choice of hardware devices for both schools and mainstream users, says Gail Palumbo, lead faculty and area chair for curriculum, instruction and teacher leadership for the University of Phoenix. “People are demanding more powerful apps that no longer work on older computers or even many newer ones,” she says.

Children’s Technology Review editor and founder, Warren Buckleitner, says that the sheer speed at which education apps are being created is a huge selling factor for devices that use multitouch technology. In his first 20 years of reviewing products, Buckleitner covered 12,000 products, but in the last four years, more than 17,000 new learning applications have become available in iTunes alone, not including video games.

Cameron Evans, education chief information officer for Microsoft, agrees that the needs of schools should be the first consideration. “Learning has to occur first and the device will follow,” he says. “A decade ago, we thought Palm Pilots and PCs were the future, and now we’re on to cheaper technologies, such as tablets. The bottom line: It should be about whatever technology enriches and enhances the work of the teacher.”