Apple has unveiled new 9.7-inch iPad at Creative Education event in Chicago. Tim Cook took the stage to announce this education-focused affordable iPad. This effort is to win back students from Google and Microsoft. The new iPad is here to replace last year’s cheaper 9.7-inch model, but this time around, the new model also brings support for Apple Pencil, which was exclusive to expensive iPad Pro lineup. Apple strongly believes that Pencil support will enable a whole new level of possibilities for students. Interestingly, Apple is successful in keeping the price tag at $329. Also, Apple is offering its new product to schools and students at a discount price of $299.
Even though Apple is advertising its product as a “new 9.7-inch iPad”, it’s hard to distinguish from its predecessor at least visually. You get typical iPad outer shell with impressive 9.7-inch Retina display, Touch ID, and 8MP rear camera. Also, there is a Retina HD camera at the front for FaceTime calls.
However, Apple has equipped new iPad with faster A10 Fusion chip. Unfortunately, it’s not A10X or A11, but it’s still far more powerful than A9 found in last year’s iPad 9.7-inch model. Not to surprise about SKUs, you can get this new iPad model in both Wi-Fi and Cellular options. As far as storages are concerned, Apple is offering 32GB and 128GB variants. Schools can purchase the base 32GB Wi-Fi only model at a price of $299 in the USA, while others can grab it for $329 (€349/ £319/₹28000). As expected, the price will skyrocket to $459 (€479/ £449/₹38600) for 32GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model.
The new 9.7-inch iPad seems like not so great at first glance, but it has a lot of potential up its sleeve. The price and Apple Pencil support are key selling points. This time around, Apple bets more on software. There is a slew of updated apps available with new 9.7-inch iPad to take advantage of powerful hardware and software combo. There is a new Classroom App, which will allow shared iPad experience in the classroom. The app will be released in June as a beta product. Apple said it is releasing an update to iWork suite of productivity apps, including Notability, Pages, Numbers, Keynote and Microsoft Office, etc. to take advantage of Pencil.
There are compelling third-party apps as well, which are designed to enhance the classroom experience. Apple is also working with an array of developers to bring support for Pencil within their apps. As we already know, Apple loves Augmented Reality stuff. In other words, Apple executives touted a lot of AR support within new iPad. Students should be able to visualize a variety of things using AR centric apps by sitting in a classroom.
Last but not least, new 9.7-inch iPad doesn’t support smart accessories as iPad Pro lineup does, but Logitech released a rugged case + keyboard combo to use iPad as a typical laptop computer. If you are interested in Apple Pencil, the company is separately selling it for $99 (€99/£89/₹7600) but schools can get it for $89 in the USA. There is a new Logitech pencil as well, which will be sold for $49 (€45/£39/₹3400).