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iPad program in homestretch despite hitches along the way

September 4, 2020

In an email to all students on July 24, Dean for Academic Affairs Jennifer Scanlon laid out the College’s plan to provide an Apple iPad Pro with available Wi-Fi and cellular data connectivity, an Apple Pencil 2 and the Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad to every enrolled Bowdoin student and interested professor. This plan has nearly come to fruition, but not without a few bumps in the road.

The College “ordered more than 2,300 iPads for faculty and students, and in order to bundle and distribute that many devices, [it] partnered with one of our suppliers and distributors, SHI, to do the packing and shipping for us,” wrote Jason Pelletier, senior director of client services and technology, in an email to the Orient. “They also work with many other schools and businesses and stock a number of Apple devices in their inventory.”

The College communicated with students throughout the summer to request contact information for delivery and provide updates on scheduled shipments. On August 20, students received an email stating that iPads had been held up at U.S. Customs and that their delivery would therefore be delayed.

In addition, students could receive their Apple Pencil 2 weeks after the delivery of their iPad due to an issue with the manufacturer. Students were given the option to update their shipping address for their Apple Pencil 2 on September 1.

The iPad Pros and accompanying Magic Keyboards began arriving in waves shortly after August 20. However, at least four students opened their packages to find a 7th Generation iPad, which is incompatible with the Magic Keyboard. These iPads were sent with shipping labels that erroneously indicated they would be the Pro models promised by the College.

“During packaging, [SHI] inadvertently placed 7th Gen iPads instead of iPad Pros in kits that were shipped to four students. Once we heard from one student that they had received the wrong device, we reached out to SHI, and they researched and verified that they had indeed made a mistake. SHI is processing and emailing pre-paid return labels for the incorrect iPads and will be shipping the correct iPads as quickly as they arrive at SHI’s warehouse,” Pelletier wrote.

The final shipment of iPads are to be sent out shortly, in addition to replacements for the four mistakes.

“A majority of the iPads we purchased have been distributed, but there are still up to 400 waiting in U.S. Customs to be cleared and delivered to SHI,” Pelletier added.



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