This morning, Apple took a shot at Google’s dominance of the education market with its announcement of a new low-cost iPad and a series of new and upgraded software for both teachers and students. The company hammered that point home Tuesday when it unveiled the latest model of its cheapest iPad. The new iPad will be available for purchase in India starting April.
Packed inside the unwavering design of the 9.7-inch iPad is the usual list of suspects.
The upgraded version of the iPad costs $299 for schools, compared to $329 for regular customers. For everyone else, the iPad starts at $329 and the Apple Pencil for $99. This model includes an always on data connection that can share the data that your phone uses. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack and you can connect it with a Bluetooth keyboard for added productivity.
Apple seems to be trying to change that today though.
Elsewhere, the new iPad is distinctly less interesting.
This new iPad will now support new iOS 11 features that were previously only available on the iPad Pro, like marking up screenshots and making handwritten notes. Clips, Apple’s Snapchat-like video app, got new Apple-designed posters and animations that make it easier for students to make mini-presentations on the fly.
How much is the Apple Pencil?
Apple promised to deliver “creative new ideas for teachers and students”, all sponsored by a minimalist brush made logo that reads “let’s take a field trip”.
Apple also launched a sister branch of its “Everyone Can Code” initiative, which aimed to get more children interested in coding and technology.
Apple also introduced a new education service called Schoolwork, which will compete with Google’s Classroom software. Apple likely felt that adding such support would cannibalize sales of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and it’s also possible that it would have forced a price increase. They might not have support for digital pens or AR, but many, including the VivoBook W202, offer compelling kid-friendly features the iPad lacks, including rugged rubber bumpers and waterproofing. I will update this post when I hear back from Apple about the educational discount for this model.
There are no 2018 9.7-inch iPad deals yet. So it will be up to Apple to convince schools and parents that its creative and interactive advantages are worth the premium versus Google’s Chromebooks and better than a new wave of Chrome OS tablets. Its look is not much different from the iPad released past year – a premium metal unibody with bezel at the front, a headphone jack, and a weight of 1.03 pounds, TechRadar adds.
The device also features a large viewfinder for immersive AR experiences, and is created to support the next generation of AR apps, Apple said.
You can use the new iPad Smart Cover to prop up the iPad in landscape orientation to watch a movie or use it to play a game and FaceTime.
Many analysts had expected Apple to roll out a cheaper iPad to help spur sales to budget-strapped schools that have been embracing Google-powered laptops selling for $200 to $250.