Apple Introduces New $299 iPad Geared Towards Education

Posted on March 27, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Hardware, iOS with 84 Comments

At its education-focused event today, Apple is introducing a new iPad. The company has been lagging behind Google and Microsoft in the worldwide education market. Both Microsoft and Google have made significant investments in the education market in the recent years, which is likely the key to the success so far. But Apple has been falling behind for obvious reasons: its products are too expensive for schools.

And the new, $299 iPad is supposed to fix that. The display of the new iPad is a 9.7-inch panel, and the design is nothing different from most of the latest generation iPads. Powered by an A10 Fusion chip, the new iPad comes with support for Touch ID, as well a camera for FaceTime. Apple is offering a new LTE option that’s capable of delivering 300 Mbps, too. Apple says the new iPad is “more powerful than most PC laptops and virtually ever Chromebook” which is a big claim for sure.

The 9.7-inch display also supports the Apple Pen and comes with an updated iWork suite of apps. The company will release updates to the Pages app, which will come with a new feature called Smart Annotation that’s meant to allow teachers to easily mark and share notes on their students’ work. The company is additionally bringing its Classroom service to the Mac and introducing a new Schoolwork app that helps teachers share assignments, documents, links, or anything with students. Students will then be able to access all the resources and documents from their Schoolwork app on their iPad.

Software and deployment is obviously a big part of any education-focused product. And Apple is launching a new School Manager which will let schools and IT Pros easily control all the iPads. Apple will also be offering 200GB of free iCloud storage with the new iPad as well — but only to schools.

Now — here is the thing: if you are a regular consumer, you will be able to get the new iPad for $329 and the Pencil for $99. But schools will be able to get the device for $299 and the Pencil for $89.

Apple is introducing a couple of other education-focused products at the event today, which is supposed to help the company gain at least some share in the education market. Whether the new iPad, combined with the new education services will actually help Apple gain some control over the education market remains to be seen, but it seems like a step in the right direction.

Tagged with , , , ,

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (84)

84 responses to “Apple Introduces New $299 iPad Geared Towards Education”


    This isn't the 9.7" iPad Pro... They clearly rebalanced the specs to include Apple Pencil support. But I think that the price is amazing for what you get. I apologize for this, but I moved my Mom to an iPad years ago... I just do not have time to support her on Windows. Sorry, but life moves on.

  2. Lauren Glenn

    Wow. A whole $30 cheaper. How generous. :/

    Yes, it's more than $0 but a far smaller discount than if you tried to get the full suite of Office or a programming language as a student. Especially when you're trying to break into the market bigger.

    But still.... I bought an old Fujitsu laptop (T901) for $199 with touch screen, Wacom stylus, and Windows 10 w/ a hard drive. Even if I bought a few extra batteries for extra life when at school, it's still cheaper. I can get this to last 6 hours on a full charge which is enough to get through school.

    • PincasX

      In reply to alissa914g:

      Comparing hardware costs to software is odd. All that deeply discounted software still has to run on something. In addition, Apple’s software for education is all included in the cost of the system. So productivy software, development and deployment/management are all free of cost. I’m not saying Apple has the winning or best solution just that your cost comparison doesn’t really makes sense.

    • Jeffsters

      In reply to alissa914g:
      • This is the single unit price. No district with any sort of volume pays the Apple EDU Price. These things are negotiated, rolled in with services, etc., and come in far lower. The "full suite" stuff isn't a factor as students typically use a limited feature set. As for programming Swift is obviously is climbing up the ladder and well supported but I would agree that it's not for people using other graphical IDEs.

  3. dontbe evil

    Bhuahuahauhuuah "cheap" iToy for school

  4. hrlngrv

    I'd be very surprised if any US public school district which tried iPads in the past would ever try them again. New suckers this time around.

  5. longhorn

    Poor children, they will finish school without knowing how to type.

  6. jblank46

    Meh, Apple has lost this battle. The new Chromebook tablet seems far more compelling than an iPad from a k-12 IT administrator’s perspective.

  7. dcdevito

    Apple has lost its mojo. They seem clueless about what schools really need.

  8. skane2600

    I note Apple said it was "more powerful" rather than faster. "Powerful" can mean anything Apple wants it to mean.

  9. Jorge Garcia

    A much better offering would have been an Apple Laptop that runs a desktop-ish variant of iOS. MacOS and Windows will persist for a good while in the business world, out of necessity, but will be all but dead in the home and school in the not-too-distant-future. Given that Android has native mouse/track-pad/keyboard support and can be "forced" to "Window", it cannot be THAT hard to give iOS that same treatment. In fact, if Apple ever does release this "iBook" I can see them hitting a Trillion dollar valuation, but without this, I see them plateauing.

    • Oreo

      In reply to JG1170:

      The generation that grows up with touch-based operating systems (e. g. because their first computer is an old Android phone or iPhone) will feel right at home. Rather than merging a touch-first with a mouse pointer-first OS, I'd rather keep the two separate and work with one or the other as the situation demands.

      • Jorge Garcia

        In reply to Oreo:

        I strongly disagree. I feel there is no harm in offering an in-between solution, and everything to gain from having those options out there. I feel that offering younger folks a flavor of their favorite mobile OS that introduces them to -some- desktop-like features would help them be more productive if they choose to never migrate to a "real" OS, and also ease their transition to a REAL OS should they choose to advance to one, be it for themselves or because the working world demands it. Look at a product from last year called the iView is a low-end offering that leaves a lot to be desired hardware-wise, but software-wise I think it is ingenious and it represents exactly how future generations should "step-up" from their mobile devices. Right now, I see younger and older folks alike suffering while performing certain tasks on their smaller devices simply because the painful step-up to a real OS is not worth the productivity benefit in their eyes. If there were an intermediate half-and-half solution, I feel their perceptions would be very different.

        • Oreo

          In reply to JG1170:

          I think there is harm in that: you’d make the touch-based OSes worse. Microsoft has tried it for decades and their efforts haven’t taken over the mass market by storm — for good reason. (There are niches where this works extremely well, but those are niches.)

          Your characterization that the step up to what you insist on calling a „real“ OS as painful is just right: it is painful, because the software isn’t as user friendly and it takes more know how to administer the OS. The step up in usability will happen not by adding mouse support to touch OSes, but by making touch OSes more powerful than they are today.

        • Oreo

          In reply to JG1170:

          Android and iOS are real OSes, and for quite a few jobs, the world has already switched to touch-first mobile devices. The insistence to call touch-first OSes not “real” OSes is quite misguided, because of the growth of CPU power (which is comparable to that of x86-based notebooks, in some cases better) and the rapid pace of development compared to mouse cursor-based operating systems, mobile operating systems have become very capable. The step from a touch-first to a mouse cursor-first interface to them is like going from a GUI-first OS to a textmode OS, where the arguments were largely similar — the former is a toy, not a real OS and people would eventually graduate to an OS whose primary interface is text-based.

          For almost all school stuff, I don't see any need for a traditional user interface, and there are many things where a touch-first interface is undoubtedly much better. Plus, the new generation has developed different habits, e. g. when it comes to typing. I don't really love typing on glass (I am writing this on a keyboard with a mechanical key switches), but if you grow up with that, you probably care much less.

          “Classical” computers will still have their place just like I still use the command for some stuff today. And it is clear that you can't do certain things on touch-first OSes, e. g. you can't develop Android apps on an Android tablet. Eventually, this will be possible, though, and traditional windows-based GUIs will be relegated to specialist tasks.

    • skane2600

      In reply to JG1170:

      iOS is fine for the niche it was designed for. It would be a waste of effort on Apple's part to try to evolve it into a half-assed desktop OS when they already have a perfectly usable one already.

      This where Apple was smarter than Microsoft: They recognized that the two OS's served different purposes and didn't try to combine them.

      • nbplopes

        In reply to skane2600:

        Yes. Don’t think turning iOS into a desktop OS is the way to go. Nevertheless its use is being extended to the desk. For that matter, the mouse, for many tasks is more effieicient. You know, to avoid playing twister with your two fingers on the top of such a small screen.

        Apple has achieved a lot already when it comes to the touch language and device response. Add mouse support seams trivial.

        • William Clark

          In reply to nbplopes: In the past I would have completely agreed with you regarding mouse versus touch but ever since I got a laptop with a touch-screen I can see the value of touch. Yes, a mouse is great and very precise, but when I just want to scroll up or down on a web page it's far easier to just touch the screen and move my finger up and down. In a perfect world you would have both and use the one which is most appropriate.

      • Jorge Garcia

        In reply to skane2600:

        You and I, who were raised on DOS and command prompts (or worse) may feel this way...but you're disregarding the upcoming generations who were raised 100% on mobile, have no idea or interest in how or why a computer works at all (sad), swear by their beloved (and regularly updated) mobile apps and have almost no interest in learning about start menus, file folders, app drawers, right click, double click, etc. These generations will absolutely be OK with a mobile platform that half-assedly dips it's toe into the desktop world, whereas the industry is trying to do the opposite...make full desktops that dip their toe into the mobile world. Mind you, I'm not saying "get rid of" MacOS or Windows, they will still be necessary for more advanced participants and businesses.

        • William Clark

          In reply to JG1170: to be fair, there are still lots of "command line" folks out there and they're not all old-farts like me. Mostly Linux guys but it's still quite common to use command line commands versus graphical user interfaces. Even when using services like AWS they still have a command line interface (in addition to a GUI).
          A touch interface is great for its intended purpose but I don't think it's going to take over the world, so to speak. There are times when a keyboard is the best and quickest way to get data into a computer.

          • Oreo

            In reply to waclark57:

            Touch-based computers already have taken over the world. There are roughly 2 billion Android devices out there compared to 1.4 billion for Windows. And then you need to add >1 billion active iOS devices. In terms of device shipments touch-first OSes lead by more than 5x.

            • William Clark

              In reply to Oreo: Those touch-based computers, if you're talking about phones/tablets are largely client devices, not the servers that do the heavy lifting. Apple did sell about 1B iPhones from 2007 to 2017 but that doesn't mean they are all active. The numbers I've seen are more like 700M in use. Also,according to Quora, there are about 75M servers powering the Internet which doesn't account for private servers inside a company's on-premise data center. And it doesn't tell us to what extent those servers have been virtualized but I would expect at least a 10 to 20:1 ratio of physical to virtual servers.

              According to Statista there are about 2.3B smartphones worldwide as of 2017. Depending on whose numbers you believe there are about 1.2-1.4B Windows users and another 100M MacOS users worldwide. So smartphones do outnumber "computers" by about 2x but what we don't know is how those touch devices are being used. I would suggest that they are largely being used as consumption devices for music, video, social media and books. Sure, there are some people using them productively maybe even a large percentage but I suspect they are using them to access data processed or held on a server somewhere.

              It's not that I'm against touch devices, I think they are great and can be quite effective in a learning environment but I don't think they will replace desktop/laptop computing entirely and they likely won't replace server applications at all.

            • skane2600

              In reply to Oreo:

              The misconception that many people have is that touch-based computers and PCs/Macs/Linux computers are in a zero-sum game. They serve somewhat different purposes with smartphones dominating in mobile-centric and consumption applications and conventional computers dominating creativity and productivity.

              But relative sales numbers alone aren't really evidence of which type of device is most appropriate in the classroom anyway. That should be based on other factors such as cost, difficulty of management, appropriateness for the tasks students are asked to perform etc.

              • Oreo

                In reply to skane2600:

                Ideally, we should start the discussion from which is better for students. And I agree that in practice cheaper device costs are the driving force in most corporate environments (I include schools here). Even TCO often takes a back seat to that. But that’s different from claiming what is most appropriate — that’s a question of what device type students benefit from the most.

                Here you can make arguments either way, I think. But honestly, I’d probably prefer a school with a smaller number of students in a class.

        • skane2600

          In reply to JG1170:

          I have teenage children who don't find start menus, file folders etc scary or intimidating. They don't have any interest in "how or why a computer works" but like most people they don't need to understand these things any more than they have to understand how cellular data is transmitted on their smartphones to use them.

          Given that young children in school today have, depending on the school, access to Macs, PCs, Chromebooks as well as iPads, it can hardly be claimed that they are being raised "100% on mobile". It's also true that not every pre-school child has access to a smartphone or tablet.

  10. Jeffery Commaroto

    Just classic Apple. Older generation hardware whose big new feature is an expensive accessory acting a poor substitute for keyboard and mouse. They offer a minuscule discount to institutions struggling to survive. Then they have the audacity to wrap their event around current events as if Apple is part of a social revolution. They are the part that does almost nothing to actually help anyone in need while exploiting labor around the globe. Viva the establishment.

    I like my iPad and my iPhone and if they made good MacBooks again I would buy one. I am just sick and tired of the way they hide their lack of vision and innovation plus their endless pursuit of magnificent margins behind a cloak of moral righteousness. It would be nice if Apple really was reinventing the classroom and helping teachers and students in a meaningful way. Those people are all using Chromebooks and Windows machines to build the future. So...yeah.

  11. Waethorn

    So, $388 for iOS, and $329 for Chrome OS + Android.

    Does the Acer include the stylus though, or is it just supported?

    • MikeCerm

      In reply to Waethorn:

      iOS is cheaper if you don't want the pen. I certainly wouldn't have any use for a pen -- can draw just was well without one. (Which is to say, terribly.)

      • William Clark

        In reply to MikeCerm: I have to agree on the pen. I bought an Acer with a pen hoping to use it for note taking with customers but it just doesn't work well enough. Much like trying to "touch" type on a tablet or phone. It can be done but a keyboard is just better.

        I could see where the pen might be useful for drawing or for the teacher to make notes or circle things on a students documents but other than that, I just don't think these pens are quite there.

  12. Waethorn

    "Apple is launching a new School Manager which will let schools and IT Pros easily control all the iPads"

    But what does that cost?? No doubt at least the price of an expensive Apple system.

    Google's management is free and works in most web browsers (although Chrome is preferred - which can be run on even another Chromebook).

    • lvthunder

      In reply to Waethorn:

      I think Apple's stuff is free except the hardware itself. Plus I would be leary of handing all the kids into the arms of one of the biggest marketing companies on the planet.

      • Waethorn

        In reply to lvthunder:

        I wouldn't say that Apple or Microsoft's privacy policy is any worse than Google's. In the wake of the Windows 10 PR fiasco, I would say that Microsoft's reputation is trending worse than Google's right now....or at least it was, up until Google's new campaigns of political censorship.

  13. Nic

    Bargain! /sarcasm

  14. MikeGalos

    "If you see a stylus, they blew it." - Steve Jobs, 2010

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      Play fair. You know Steve Jobs was talking about needing a stylus to navigate and use the device; that is not what the Surface Pen, Apple Pencil or various Wacom devices are for. Come on now, you know this in your heart to be true.

      • PincasX

        In reply to Chris_Kez:

        It's kind of misguided to expect honesty out of Mike. This is the same guy that said Apple used a microphone connected to a Mac to fake the HomePod demo at its introduction even though there was no actual demo to have been faked.

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to Chris_Kez:

        Nope. I AM playing fair. His comment targeted precisely the market that is now being filled by the Apple "Pencil".

        Playing fair in this case is recognizing that Jobs totally blew this one and Microsoft nailed it by having stylus support on products starting with Windows for Pen Computing back in 1992 on Windows 3.1 and then continuing on with Pen Services for Windows 95, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition in 2002 and building pen support into all later versions of Windows.

        You know, like deleting floppy drives and CD drives and headphone jacks and USB-2 ports, sometimes a company needs to be ahead of the curve. And if you really like your customers, sometimes you do that by adding features and not by removing them.

        • nbplopes

          In reply to MikeGalos:

          As I remember my tablet PC, to work with it as a Tablet I really needed a stylus. It was not even touch based. The all Windows needed the precision of a cursor to be usable.


          Of course now one can sing it the way they prefer emotionally. After all, its just a bigger iPhone.

          PS: This was my first Tablet PC:

        • Stooks

          In reply to MikeGalos:

          "His comment targeted precisely the market that is now being filled by the Apple "Pencil"."

          Wrong. His first comment on the subject was in 2007 when he asked "who wants a stylus" at the iPhone launch. He was TARGETING phone users, you know like those horrible Windows Mobil Treo phones that had a stylus. There others at the time as well.

          His comment you are referring to in 2010 was a response to a question at the iPhone 4 launch.

          Stylus does NOT equal Apple Pencil. The Stylus made popular, if you can really say it was, was to make up for a shitty UI on Windows Mobile. You needed it to hit this tiny touch points and such.

          The Pencil is used like a Wacom device usually in a artistic way for drawing and such. You knows this to be true but your childish Apple hate won't let you admit it. You and Paul both have that problem with Apple.

        • Chris_Kez

          In reply to MikeGalos:

          I often agree with you, but I have to respectfully disagree here.

  15. nbplopes

    This is going to sell like hot cakes if the pencil support is as great as the iPad Pro. I can see a lot of educational software developers making use of the Pen to teach all sorts of things.

    • Jorge Garcia

      In reply to nbplopes:

      A great many Pencils will grow legs in no time. A great many iPads will also grow legs (even if they are locked down) and of those that remain, a ton will end up with cracked screens. High-End tablets in schools was a bad idea a few years ago when LAUSD tried it, and continues to be a bad idea.

  16. Michael Miller

    I think Apple threw the IPAd pro 10.5 under the bus with the new Ipad 9.7. For $429, you can get 128g of storage in the new iPad which has pencil support. Compare that to $649 for a 64g 10.5 iPad Pro. Yeah, the pro is slightly bigger with better refresh rates and with a keyboard connector. But its a pretty big price point leap for virtually the same type of device with the same processor chip. I think Apple now has canabilized its product line to an extent, something they are loathe to do.

  17. red.radar

    That pencil is going to get lost in education. I doubt anyone actually buys it.

  18. skane2600

    IMO, a $299 Mac laptop would have been a lot more useful for schools. But at least including FaceTime will give students something to do besides classwork when they get bored.

  19. AnOldAmigaUser

    So, the price will be $388 without a keyboard, and kids are not taught handwriting anymore. That is going to work real well. The graph on contribution to GDP could be done equally well on paper with colored pencils or crayons, which are much cheaper to replace if broken.

  20. RobertJasiek

    No laminated, reflection-reducing display. Not generally working files app. Bad iTunes. Possible repair ripoff in the case of attempted battery replacement.

  21. Daekar

    No keyboard. Why would you buy this for school?

  22. nbplopes

    Saw the event last night and ...

    I really disliked the tone of the event. I felt that both teachers and students were used as manequins for the products rather then being at the center of what its all about. The interventions of teachers looked extremely scripted with very little information of how they have done it, pitfalls and solutions. I've felt the merit was down to the products rather than the people made it look faked considering. Once SJ noted that the perfect product is one that is out of the way, that is not what I felt here, I felt the product pretty much wanted to be in the way.

    I also felt, albeit probably untended, that Apple did not had the courage to avoid branding education around a technology company with no track record e teaching beyond its products ( Apple Teachers, Apple Education)...! Maybe such thing in the US is not much a problem, maybe Americans welcome this, but not Europeans!

    If we can see through this, trying hard to keep focus and not so sleep over it, I really like what I saw about the tooling. Really did!

    $450 the base model with the Logitech Rugged iPad Keyboard Case and Logitech Crayon Stylus its not cheap by Chromebook $200 to $300 school standards but it also outperforms those solutions at many levels and its cheaper than other Chromebook's.

    The core software and services seam to be free for one thing and overall looks like an interesting value proposition.

Leave a Reply