Apple’s education event brought us some new and interesting details. Rumors had it that Apple was looking to introduce a new entry-level iPad specifically targeting education. VP Greg Joswiak announced the “new ” iPad, which is an update on the mode that was introduced just around a year ago.
Apple said that last year’s 9.7-inch model has been the most popular iPad in education “by far,” and now for the first time, the entry-level iPad will come with support for the Apple Pencil, a move that help take away a big difference between the cheaper tablets and the high-end iPad Pro lineup.
The new iPad include an A10 Fusion chip that’s also found on the iPhone 7, 10 hours of battery life (usual), an 8-megapixel back camera and “FaceTime HD” front camera, LTE connectivity option, and the same 9.7-inch Retina display that we saw last year. These are pretty much the same specs that were introduced last March, but with the A10 chip.
Regardless of hardware upgrades, software continues to be one of the biggest cases for iPads. Joswiak said that Apple has over 1 million iPad apps in its store, with 200,000 of them focused on “education and reference.” Now, Apple is releasing updates for its suite of apps including Pages, Numbers and Keynote that bring better support for the Apple Pencil. One fo the new Pencil-specific features is called “smart annotation,” which is a feature that anchors handwritten notes to specific words. These new iWork apps are available today.
For those that were hoping for a price drop, there isn’t good news. The iPad starts at the same $329/£319 price point as last year’s model. There’s a $299 price for schools, and will start shipping this week. Storage options remain the same at 32GB for the base model and 128GB for $100 extra. Additionally, education plans now include 200GB of storage in iCloud, up from the previous 5GB.