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.