Posted on 01-23-2015 10:49 AM
Just wondering what you have seen at school districts for devices.
Specifically for teachers and students.
We currently have plans for iPads for K-8 and 11-inch Macbook Airs for 9-12.
Teachers are looking at Macbook Pro Retina or Macbook Air 13-inch. Suggestions for 4GB Ram or 8GB for Macbook Air?
Any advice here would be great.
Posted on 01-23-2015 12:55 PM
I always recommend as much RAM as you can afford. Especially with most Macs now having the memory soldered to the board.
Posted on 01-24-2015 09:13 AM
Well put regarding RAM in Retina or Air units!
We're still primarily buying the mid-2012 13" MacBook Pro for most faculty and staff as it's the best bang for the buck, is still easily serviceable (we're an Apple Self-Service facility), and upgradable. Thats said, we will always end up with special needs and fully support the wide spectrum of Apple Devices. Our student program is BYOD so on that end, it's everything that can run the latest OSs, with at least 4GB RAM and at least a 256GB HDD/SSD. We also encourage the use of mobile devices (iOS and Android) in a number of our classes where students prefer additional personal resources. This is difficult to integrate properly FYI!
Beyond that our users that travel heavily tend to request MBAirs, our marketing folks prefer retinas and our labs use iMacs.
Posted on 01-24-2015 11:08 AM
We refreshed all the Macs on campus last summer.
Faculty - base model 13" MBAir - 1.4 GHz i5/4GB RAM/128GB SSD
Administrators - 13" MBAir - 1.4 GHz i5/8GB RAM/500GB SSD & many have Cinema display
Communications - 13" MBPro w/Retina - 2.6 GHz i5/16GB RAM/500GB SSD + Cinema Display or 27" iMac - 3.3 GHz i5/32GB RAM/1TB Fusion Drive
Labs/Photo Lab/Staff - 21.5" iMac - 3.3 GHz i3/4GB RAM/128GB SSD
Video Lab - 21.5" iMac - 2.9 GHz i5/16GB RAM/1TB Fusion Drive
Faculty are very happy with the Airs!
Posted on 01-24-2015 11:18 AM
@lionelgruenberg With faculty and some of those labs running on 128GB SSDs what are you doing for additional storage? I only ask because you mention they seem very happy with the airs and any school I've evaluated with that level of internal storage tend to suffer in day to day use. Also there seem to be heavy use of Cinema displays. Is this branding, political or intentional? I've noticed better performance in other brands of monitors at the same price.
This is all just professional curiosity and interest in what solutions you have in place to make these work for you.
Also, you refreshed them all at the same time? How many users do you folks provide support for? Do you find that difficult within a budgetary cycle? I ask because I've had to break our purchasing up over a three year rotation in order to maintain budgetary regularity even if it's not the most efficient way to do so.
Posted on 01-24-2015 12:59 PM
@Chris_Hafner My team spent a great deal of time evaluating faculty storage *wants* versus *needs* last spring. We based the 128GB SSD decision on the fact that the majority of our faculty had less than 25GB of school related files. Faculty with more than 25GB of data had enormous media libraries with downloaded movie and TV shows. iTunes Match is a fantastic solution for anyone with a large music library and limited internal storage. As a school, we're heavily invested in GAFE. For additional storage needs we fall back on unlimited Google Drive storage for free.
My team chose the Cinema Display for a number of reasons. First, the Cinema display is the only "Apple certified" monitor on the market. The Cinema Display is very easy to use: many folks in our organization were familiar with Dell docking stations/displays. Finally, peace of mind: All of our Cinema Displays have AppleCare.
With a relatively small team of 5 (4 full time + 1 intern), we provided support for roughly 300 users over the summer.
We were up against a wall with AppleCare expiring on all of our old hardware. I can't go into detail about the financial data but can say our CFO spent a great deal of time working with Apple on the leasing agreement.
We transitioned 120 faculty/staff to new MBAirs in less than 2 weeks at the start of the summer. Faculty were thrilled because we originally announced they would be without a computer for over a month. We configured ~ 80 lab iMacs in less than a week and half. Spent the rest of the summer slowly rolling out iMacs to different offices and running mandatory PD classes for staff new to the Mac OS platform.
Posted on 01-24-2015 02:42 PM
Makes sense. Though I mis-spoke when I asked how many you "support". Support may have given the incorrect connotation. I was asking from a budgetary standpoint. Do you plan on replacing the entire fleet every 3 years or are you going to figure out some sort of rotation.
As for storage via Google. How do you deal with Googles current desire to muck with file types regarding video. We're very project oriented and the amount of video our users go through is pretty significant and we'd love to find the best way to utilize our Google space as bandwidth isn't an issue for us.
Posted on 01-26-2015 12:56 AM
-staff get the 13" MBAir 4GB RAM w/256GB SSD
-Students and carts get 11" MBAir w/128GB SSD
-Labs are standard iMac w/Fusion Drive
-Technical/communications people are rMBP's. -Technical for the extra thunderbolt and communications because they can actually use the power. They also get the 512GB SSD's.
We don't buy the old non-retina MBP at all anymore because I think it's pricy now for basically being 3 year old hardware. Also, a 5400 RPM hard drive feels like dial-up after you've had an SSD or start seeing your neighbors with SSD's and their apps just pop open, etc.
Posted on 01-26-2015 02:22 AM
We support quite a few schools. In most cases (particularly for higher education) we get the input of the users regarding their preferred model. It often needs adjusting but we've been bitten in the past when they haven't been consulted.
Regarding models we do a fair bit of research, looking at the OS and apps they are running now and the OS and app versions they are likely to be running during the lifespan of the machine.
Its amazing how under specced some machines are when they are trying to run Adobe CC, Logic or Final Cut, particularly on RAM.
That aside, we would always specify 8Gb of RAM as a minimum (16GB preferred) and SSD (we always avoid the traditional hard drives now as the performance is so poor in comparison with SSD).
I'm surprised Apple are still offering Macs with 4GB of RAM.
Posted on 01-26-2015 05:04 AM
95% of our K-12 teachers are happy with 4GB of RAM and 128GB hard drives (they were turning in slow white Macbooks to get them). We'd love to get everyone 256GB HD, but it's a cost issue.
The teachers that fill up the 128GB hard drives would also tend to fill up 256GB hard drives. I keep a smart group of computers over 85% of capacity and we let teachers know they need to make space when they fall into the group.
Posted on 01-26-2015 10:23 AM
@bwiessne are your existing computers already in Casper? You could pull out metrics from them to help you choose, always better to have numbers to backup your decisions.
Be careful not to assume what people need. I used to work with an administrator who would always make jokes about Adobe Flash only being used for games. He ignored the amount of YouTube videos faculty and tutors were sharing to help students during homework and tutoring sessions. Same goes for what faculty are storing and what software they use.
Posted on 01-28-2015 06:18 AM
What do you guys think about Apple Care on Macs? Or do you self insure?
Posted on 01-28-2015 06:26 AM
I have about 150 employees and I use AppleCare. It's a small expense to get 3 years of coverage and support, not sure if it's worth looking into third party warranty coverage. AppleCare is effortless. Apple is trying to get friendlier in the edu and business market, check out their AppleCare for IT departments breakdown here.
Posted on 01-28-2015 06:45 AM
Posted on 01-28-2015 06:47 AM
We buys AppleCare on EVERYTHING OS X. iPhones and iPads we don't There's just not enough failures that justify it. Also, we're a self-service bay so we fix them under warranty AND get paid by apple for our labor. Between hard drives, and logic boards ew make out over the course of three years. Perhaps there will be a time in SSD land when it doens't make sense but with the EDU discount it's a no-brainer for us.
Posted on 01-28-2015 06:48 AM
No idea how self insurance would work or with who.. I have maybe a dozen repairs a year. I use my local Apple Store and I am also a GSX shop for diagnostics and DIY repairs.
Consider AppleCare just for the protection of logic board failure alone.
Posted on 01-28-2015 06:58 AM
On larger numbers we've found the price to be a bit prohibitive. In some cases the equivalent funds get set aside and used to pay for repairs but it requires a bit of self control from the business.
There is always an increase in failures after the three year age which causes problems if you have opted for three year AppleCare.
It also doesn't take into account accidental damage.
Posted on 01-28-2015 07:27 AM
Back in the late 2000's purchasing AppleCare was a must. You nearly always had one spinning drive replacement, and it also covered you in case of logic board, top case, etc. failures.
Newer machines are engineered much better, and most no longer have spinning disks, so AppleCare isn't the slam-dunk it once was. Personally never bought it on my two most recent Mac purchases.
Posted on 01-28-2015 07:27 AM
Check with your Apple rep. They have had in the past, 3 levels of AppleCare available to schools. AppleCare Protection Plan, AppleCare Repair Agreement and the AppleCare Parts Agreement. best comparison info I could find was from 2008 online though
Posted on 01-28-2015 02:18 PM
I would do the math on this.
# of computers AppleCare cost = Money spent on AppleCare
# of computers percentage of failure = number of computers you expect to fail
Is it really worth to spend $$$ when you are only getting X number of computers failing?
Maybe it is, maybe it's not. That's up for your organization to determine.
I personally think it doesn't make sense the larger the fleet. It's much cheaper to just buy 2-3 spare computers and have it around as a spare replacement in case hardware goes bad then it probably will be to get AppleCare for each computer. For smaller organizations, perhaps it makes more sense to get AppleCare because you may not have the option to buy a spare computer or two.
Anyways, that's just my two cents on that.
Posted on 01-28-2015 02:26 PM
I personally wouldn't go for the 11 inch models, I find the screen to be too small for proper use.
We have gone with 13 inch, 4GB, 256GB models. Overall I am incredibly happy with how they perform, the screen is a good size and the students and staff are very happy with them.
One thing to keep in mind is the life span of the 11 inch model of air, the new 12 inch model coming out could potentially replace it.
I know here in Australia there is education pricing on apple products, this gives the option of bundling applecare with specific models of machines for only marginally more than the normal retail price of that model.
Posted on 01-28-2015 02:39 PM
Yep that sums up my thinking.
Even if you get AppleCare for everything, it won't be a quick enough turn around on repairs to avoid disrupting the affected user, so you would need a spare Mac anyway.
Its safe to expect at least a 3-5 day turnaround on a repair so unless the user can be without their Mac for that long you would need another plan.
Posted on 01-29-2015 04:38 AM
Yep, you're going to need loaners if you're in a high demand environment. If something needs to go out to apple (in the US) it's an average of a 5 business day turn around. However, you can stock a number of basic parts like RAM and HDDs/SSDs, screens, etc... however, the real benefit of being Self-Service/GSX is that you can talk with Apple about fleet issues. I firmly believe that Apple makes the best laptops you can buy. Yet, they still have issues and they are generally identifiable by model.
We've initiated several repair extension problems with apple over flaws that we've discovered in everything form top cases, to hinges to the HDD cables. Otherwise we would only break even on AppleCare with EDU pricing. In addition, we can provide service for our students (BYOD so they're not OUR machines) as well as offering them the best repair prices for non warranty covered issues. This prevents them from having to deal with a repair during school so the turn around if far far quicker.
Posted on 01-30-2015 07:47 AM
To hop into this discussion
Our school is all 1-to-1 with 13" MacBook Airs 4gb of RAM and 128gb hard drives. Almost everybody has the same machine from students to faculty to staff. We found 128gb of space is plenty. There are of course people who have filled it up but like it's been stated it's all with iPhoto and iTunes libraries. NEVER with school related material (funny right?)
Absolutely positively buy AppleCare. Don't even consider not doing it. I feel like I make almost weekly trips to the Apple Store for repairs. We've had batteries fail, tons of logic boards fail, some hard drives, random cables that are in the computer, track pads, keyboards. They also cover the power bricks which WILL go bad because right at the neck of the brick on the cable to the computer is a weak point Apple has known about for AGES but never changes.
For machines that aren't covered under AppleCare we sort of self insure them and realized in 3 years have only spent $8000 on those types of repairs (loss, spills, whatever)
Posted on 01-30-2015 07:57 AM
Posted on 01-30-2015 08:01 AM
By self insure I guess I meant we are our only insurance policy. We charge the family's of damaged machines $250 no matter what the out of warranty repair is most of the time it's a screen or a spill so $500-$800 cost to the school.
We looked into SafeWare but to cover our 500+ Macs would have been like $60,000 over 3 years? Something too high. We decided to chance it and have only spent $8000 on repairs/replacements.
Hopefully that clears up and makes sense.
Posted on 01-31-2015 12:09 AM
I did hear of a university where, due to the number of macs they purchased, they wrangled free3-year APP on all of their purchase.
Maybe it's worth reaching out to your Apple Rep and playing friendly with them?
Posted on 02-10-2015 06:39 AM
That would be cool but I highly doubt it. You would need to be purchasing thousands of Macs and paying for some pretty high level support before that kind of deal broke out. I couldn't see that happening on 500 macs though you would get yourself a good 13-15% off I would imagine (ON top of the edu pricing). So, 3 year AC on something like $150-ish on a 13" MacBook Air when all is said and done.
Posted on 03-05-2015 04:55 PM
what about deployment? what is your workflow from "new-in-a-box" to in a user's hands?
Posted on 03-06-2015 08:17 AM
Figure out exactly what software you want to install/need. Figure out any restrictions you want to apply, and how (Config Profile, script, Restricted Software, MCX). Both of these may be applicable to specific groups of users (i.e. teachers vs students vs office/admin people). Actually testing these beforehand (especially from a security perspective, also setting Firmware passwords), so that your image is fairly done/secure/polished before you deploy it widely (rather than having to apply fixes to machines already imaged out into the field.
Thin image (i.e. don't replace the OS, just update it) vs Thick (wipe machine and replace it).
Think about how you'll handle machine repair or replacement, and also reimaging to address issues.
If the Macs will be running testing apps, you will have even more considerations relating to Java, user account, Dock, etc.