At the education event earlier today, Apple revealed a 9.7-inch new iPad with Pencil support – adding this useful functionality that was previously limited to Pro models.
This new iPad with Pencil brings the utility and creativity of the Pencil and its educational merit to a more affordable iPad – and the price is even more attractive for school systems. With the release of the new iPad with Pencil, schools can manage to snag an iPad for just $299 which, while not a significant discount from the base retail price of $329, may make a difference if school systems are to purchase them on a large scale.
Alongside the new iPad with Pencil, Apple is releasing new versions of the iWork suite with additional Pencil features such as smart annotation, and iBooks creation added to pages.
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While the main takeaway from the announcement was the new iPad with Pencil, the company also shared some stats on their products and how they are uniquely suited to the educational environment
- 200000 education apps made for iPad
- 1 million apps for iPad total
- 9.7-inch screen size is the most popular, making it a good choice for the new iPad with Pencil
The biggest benefit to the new iPad with Pencil is the Apple Pencil itself, but there is also a bump in specifications that gives the 9.7-inch iPad some more impressive performance. Most notable among the changes is the upgrade from the A9 chip to the newer A10 Fusion Chip. The A10 Fusion is the chip used by iPhone 7 phones, which are quite speedy despite falling behind models like the newer iPad Pro and the current generation of high-end flagships.
We’ll also see both WiFi and LTE models included, allowing you to access the internet while on the go should you choose if you’re willing to pony up a little extra, and likely pay an extra fee to your mobile provider.
The specs overall are actually quite similar to the original 9.7-inch iPad Pro – albeit without Smart Connector and True Tone display – with a chip that is actually even faster. The $329 price is pretty impressive with this knowledge, given the fact that the hardware is so similar to a model that previously cost nearly $600.
New models are available to order today and will start shipping this week, meaning it won’t be too long until a variety of students have their hands on a new iPad with Pencil support. Being able to use their tablet like a traditional pen and paper may bridge the gap between traditional education and education in the digital age, and by getting their iPads in the hands of students across the country, Apple may stand to recapture some of the market that they’ve lost to companies like Google and Microsoft.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how widespread the adoption of the new iPad with Pencil is. There’s no doubt that it’s an extremely useful tool for both students and teachers, but the $299 price, though discounted significantly from previous models, might not be enough for any but the richest of school systems to bring the technology to the classroom.