As expected, Apple launched a new iPad in Chicago on Tuesday, but it's not really cheaper than previous models, although it is also better in several ways.
The new Apple iPad will cost schools $299 (retail is still $329). It has the same 9.7" screen size, bezels, Touch ID sensor, and button placement as before, but it also gains Apple Pencil support, which works the same as it did on the iPad Pro, and it has been updated to the A10 CPU. Like the previous model, the new iPad has an 8MP rear camera, a measly 1.2MP front camera. Weighing in at 1lb, the iPad has 10 hours of battery life. It also has a gyroscope, and is built for AR, according to Apple.
This tablet is a nice incremental upgrade, which is good news for anyone who bought an Apple iPad recently. Surprisingly, there is no Smart Keyboard connector, which seems like a big mistake given that the iPad has to compete in the academic market with Chromebooks.
The new Apple iPad is available in silver, gold, and space gray, and it is shipping today. Retail is $329, and the Apple Apple Pencil is $99 extra.
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So that's the hardware; what about the software and platform?
From the press release:
Everyone Can Create is a new, free curriculum that makes it fun and easy for teachers to integrate drawing, music, filmmaking or photography into their existing lesson plans for any subject. The new curriculum joins Apple’s successful Everyone Can Code initiative as one-of-a-kind programs for teachers that keep students excited and engaged.
Apple also announced Schoolwork, a powerful new app that helps teachers create assignments, see student progress and tap into the power of apps in the classroom. Schoolwork builds on the success of Apple’s Classroom app, which is used in schools around the world to help integrate iPad into the classroom. Schoolwork and Classroom are designed to help teachers and administrators get the most out of integrating Apple technology into schools.
Apple is late to the party, but I am sure their platform will be pretty. Whether it will be pretty useful compared to its many competitors, now that is another question.