Quick Thoughts: Today’s Apple Education Event

As I write, I am in the twilight zone between having read iMore’s live blog of today’s Apple Education event in Chicago and getting to watch it via the Apple Event app on the AppleTV. That is a strange place to write from but one thing is clear enough to comment on:

Apple is challenging the keyboard’s hegemony.

To listen to most people in tech (and to see me using the Smart Keyboard now), the keyboard is the best and only way to interact with computing devices. With Apple pushing the Apple Pencil across more of the iPad line and, critically, into the updates of the iWorks apps, this paradigm is being challenged on two fronts. Annotating works with a keyboard has always been a less than ideal experience. The Apple Pencil (and other styli) is a superior approach. With Siri, voice is another front.

I don’t think Apple is out to deprecate the keyboard entirely but I do think that these two other options signals a real differentiation between Apple and others — Google especially. It feels much more like Apple is offering options to users rather than choosing one for us. In education, this is especially important. I don’t want a keyboard when marking up a paper. I want a Pencil and the best tools to annotate a document and direct a student. When I am walking between meetings, I want to ask Siri to remind me to do something — not stop and type it into my Phone.

The real question is whether the accreditation industry will be ready to quickly accept that the era of keyboard only needs to be shifted to accommodate the best method for the moment rather than what it simplest for them.

Dr. Matthew M. DeForrest is a Professor of English and the Mott University Professor at Johnson C. Smith University. The observations and opinions he expresses here are his own. You are very welcome to follow him on Twitter and can find his academic profile at Academia.edu.