Districts Should Plan Ahead for iPad Low Supply

Paula Currie


The COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand for iPad and MacBook, as schools and businesses beef up their fleets to handle remote learning and working.

While the supply chain challenges of 2020 are starting to dissipate, it’s clear that the backlog will not right itself just yet. However, there are several things districts can do to regain control over their digital learning fleets.

  1. Plan now for the 2021/22 school year. Regardless how big or small your planned technology purchase is, it’s important to begin planning very early. We recommend moving up your planning by at least three months.
  2. Order immediately. Once you know your technology needs, place your order to ensure you have devices when you need them. Waitlists for iPad lasted up to 10 weeks in 2020, so some districts delayed their refreshes. That means districts will be competing for iPad in 2021 too.
  3. Lock in your trade-in. The supply issues impacting the market for new Apple devices has created high demand for used devices, so buyback companies are paying top dollar for used iPad. Ask your buyback partner if the time is right to refresh your district’s fleet.
  4. Don’t go hybrid. The tight supply chain for iPad is tempting IT directors to mix platforms. Hybrid technology environments are not sustainable because they add complexity to teaching and require more staff to manage them.
  5. Refresh off-peak. Most schools want to refresh devices during the summer when students and teachers don’t need them. Refreshing mid-year—during fall, winter or spring breaks—means that devices are easier to procure and buyback companies often pay a premium.