Today during an education event in Chicago, Apple took the wraps off a brand-new iPad that’s built for the classroom. The company has struggled in the education space for years at this point, and with today’s introduction, they hope to reattain a presence that’s been bombarded by products from competitors such as Microsoft and Google.
According to Apple, the new iPad comes with a 9.7-inch display much like last year’s $329 model. Its resolution sits at 2048×1536. You may not think it’s seen any significant upgrades, but you’d be wrong as the tablet now supports the Apple Pencil. Previously, only the iPad Pro lineup supported the stylus, but now the company’s low-cost option supports the accessory with the same amounts of tilt and pressure as its higher-end counterparts. It’s obviously a way to make using the iPad more useful in the classroom, but it’s still nice to see that you no longer have to spend $600+ for an iPad that works with a pen.
For specs, this year’s iPad includes the A10 Fusion processor, 10-hours of battery life, Touch ID (apologies to those who were hoping for Face ID and no bezels), an 8MP rear camera, a FaceTime HD camera, GPS, LTE, a compass, a gyroscope, bottom-firing speakers – you know, all the usual iPad specs.
Of course, the tablet is seeing some new features. Apple touted on stage how the new iPad supports AR experiences and works specifically well with educational apps, such as Froggipedia which will let students dissect a frog right on their screen. In fact, the company says there are over 200,000 educational experiences available for download in the App Store. The company sees an opportunity in this space to capitalize on so it built the new iPad around those experiences to provide the best performance and versatility they can offer.
“iPad is our vision for the future of computing and hundreds of millions of people around the world use it every day at work, in school and for play. This new 9.7-inch iPad takes everything people love about our most popular iPad and makes it even better for inspiring creativity and learning,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Product Marketing. “Our most popular and affordable iPad now includes support for Apple Pencil, bringing the advanced capabilities of one of our most creative tools to even more users. This iPad also has the power of the A10 Fusion chip, combined with the big, beautiful Retina display, advanced cameras and sensors that enable incredible AR experiences simply not possible on other devices.”
To accommodate the new iPad, Apple is updating Pages, Keynote, and Numbers (a.k.a. iWork) with some new features that work with the Apple Pencil and will fit the lifestyle of being in a classroom. For instance, teachers will soon be able to annotate documents on a user’s iPad from a central hub called Apple School Manager using smart annotation. Teachers will also be able to create digital books for their classrooms using Macs in the near future in Pages.
Students will also enjoy more iCloud storage. Exclusively for students, Apple will upgrade their storage from 5GB to 200GB for free. I’m sure this will make everyone who doesn’t go to school very jealous very fast.
The new iPad costs $329 for consumers and $299 for schools. It’s available starting today and will begin shipping next week. Meanwhile, the Apple Pencil will still be sold separately but cost $89 for schools.