Thursday, November 08, 2007

Apple adding GPS / Tracking For School Laptops? No.

As reported by MacRumors:

Apple has won large contracts for MacBooks in Kansas and Louisiana. The two contracts are valued at $6.4 million and $5 million respectively

It appears Apple has made efforts to provide custom solutions to educators to meet their needs. Kansas City officials describe additional security measures added to the MacBooks, including a way to track lost/stolen MacBooks:

All of the laptops have stickers clearly identifying them as the "property of the Kansas City, Kansas public schools". The sticker will not come off without virtually destroying the laptop. If thieves find a way around that obstacle, a GPS tracking device will help locate it. If all else fails, district officials said, they could also use a remote device to destroy the hard drive.

---------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY ----------

I'm going to assume that the laptops have RFIDs and NOT GPS units. I don't think it's possible to fit a GPS unit anywhere into the MacBook. The "sticker" most likely is the piece of the equation that contains the RFID. Also, I will assume that Apple just made a contract with Absolute Software's LoJack to provide their "LoJack For Laptops" program. And for the record - there's no such thing as a device that destroys the hard drive remotely - maybe remotely erase the data ... but not destroy.

I also want to point out that educational institutions DESTROY the value of their computer equipment by placing outrageous identification on them. I buy surplus from local school systems and 9 times out of 10, the identification is either etched on the computers and EVERY peripheral or the computer is completely marred by a super glue like substance that ruins the appearance and resale value to people like me. In other words, these extreme security measures devalue the equipment and therefore the school districts may not realize the full economic value/depreciation of the equipment.

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Tom said...

Very interesting point about resale value being destroyed.

Schools tend to hold onto stuff for a very long time, so anything they can do to hold value would make sense.

On the other hand, if they're going to hold onto something for five years (or more), maybe the potential of extra resale value is not worth the increased loss by not using etching or super glue?

fixyourthinking said...


Typically ..

A 5 year old PC is an upper end P3 or a P4

These units typically go for $45-$75

a 5 year old Apple computer is an upper end G4 at this point - in good condition - I'd pay upwards of $350 for it.

Tom said...

Thanks, but I think it's well-proven that Macs hold their resale value much better than PCs.

What I was curious about is a 5-year old Apple without etching or super glue as opposed to the same machine without those things. Assuming their condition was otherwise identical, how much resale does the etching/glue take away from the one Mac vs. the other?

fixyourthinking said...

Tom, it's a considerable reduction in value.

Think about it ... I can put the guts from any "lame box" PC into another good (but still lame) box.

On the other hand ... I can't do that for a Mac. So, if you mess up the case on a Mac you have this situation:

(Me going into a computer resale shop):

"What happened there?"

"It's just where they had identification."

"Well, I'd give you $300 if that weren't on it but I want to display it on the show floor"



"I want it on top of my desk, but I don't like that it says Property Of Whatsamatta University on it - I'll give you $200 for it."

I can sell a G4 867 or 933 tower for $350 and a Dual 1.25 or 1.42 for $1100. Scratched up? $200 and $800

Tom said...


I thought after five years we may be talking about $100 or so, but the figures you reveal make it clear we're talking about something much more substantial.