Total Cost of Ownership of iPad vs Other Tablets for Schools (TCO)

Is the total cost of ownership (TCO) of iPad much higher than other tablets?

Is the total cost of ownership (TCO) of iPad much higher than other tablets?

The cost of ownership of tablets for schools is not only about the upfront cost. There are various costs associated with management of devices on an ongoing basis, right up to the resale of devices for upgradation of technology, which is inevitable in a few years. 

Here we compare the total cost of ownership of iPads with other tablets.

Upfront cost

Tablets come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and qualities, but the good quality devices are not much cheaper than iPad. Having said that, the upfront investment in Apple devices is high.

Apps and Content

Most essential iPad apps are free and beautiful (Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie). The quality and usability of paid apps is usually better than similar Android or Windows apps. Apple’s App Store has over 180,000 educational apps. Many of them are paid apps, but the average quality is better and a lot of them make fantastic learning tools. 


iGnite - Flexible, affordable LMS for schools

Schools can use one of the several good Learning Management Systems (LMS) available in India. With iPad, they can also deploy their own content with an LMS like iGnite, which is a more affordable solution. This brings down recurring costs, and allows schools to continue teaching in their own style.

Security & Privacy

Security and privacy management is a significant cost for organizations which rely on technology. As compared to Android and Windows hardware, Apple devices are built to be more secure, and apps are verified by Apple which reduces the risk of malware. This makes Apple devices less vulnerable to security risks, thereby lowering costs associated with security measures, and resolution of malware, viruses and other security issues.

Total Cost of Ownership of iPad vs Other Tablets

Usage training costs

New users find Apple devices much simpler to use. Native apps are easy to learn, and other iPad apps are quite smooth too. Besides, there are fewer bugs and tech issues, which makes Apple devices much more user friendly. All this brings down the cost of training. At the same time, Apple has a well developed Teacher Training Program, which ensures that teachers can hit the ground running. 

Deployment & Management

Apple School Manager is a free service that helps with  quick, simple and cost-effective deployment of even thousands of devices at once. There are some great Mobile Device Managers (MDM) which can help schools and teachers manage device easily. Android device management is not as streamlined and requires more manpower, time, training and resources – all of which are expensive. Similarly, data backups and restore, reassignment of devices, sharing of devices, etc are significantly less resource intensive in iPads and Macs.

Day to day issues like password resets, etc. also form a significant part of ongoing costs. Apple Device Manager makes it easy to manager such requests remotely in a streamlined, systematic manner, bringing down associated costs.

Repair & Maintenance

iPads have very low maintenance requirements as compared to other tabs. The new iPad screen is much more durable. Devices are covered under Apple’s warranty and enjoy a low failure rate of under 1%. The operating system is much more stable and there are rarely any issues. If and when there are issues, you can rely on Apples strong service network and enterprise repair programs to ensure proper resolution, including free pickup and delivery of devices. Thus, the IT costs of maintaining iPads is much lower than of most other devices.


Most devices requires upgrade every few years, as old technology becomes obsolete. Hence, it is important to evaluate the resale cost of devices before investing in them. iPad is a clear winner here as its resale value after 4 years is substantial, while that of other tabs is negligible. This brings down the Total Cost of Ownership of Apple devices much lower than most comparable devices. 


It is useful to note here that often leasing of devices turns out to be a much better option than outright purchase. Some of the advantages of leasing include potential tax saving by way of writing off rentals faster and reduced tax outflow, freeing up of capital that would be invested in depreciating assets, and reduced risk related to out of warranty devices and disposal/resale at the time of technology upgrade. 

Leasing also allows schools to upgrade to better technology like the iPad, rather than having to compromise with less efficient learning tools. There are various specialised service providers like Rent Alpha which help large organisations with custom designed leasing solutions, including eventual buyout of devices.

Besides these, the actual value derived from investing in tablets for schools students in terms of engaging students meaningfully, bringing creativity in learning and teaching and access to high quality global content - is much higher with iPad.

Hence, on proper analysis of device lifecycle at educational institutions, the total cost of ownership of iPads comes out to be much lower compared to other tablets. This makes iPad for schools a great option.