Apple unveiled a new 9.7-inch iPad with a (supposedly) budget-friendly price tag for schools, launching a renewed challenge to the dominance of Google’s Chromebook in the classroom.
The new tablet features Apple’s A10 fusion chip, augmented reality functionality, an 8MP main camera and compatibility with the Apple Pencil stylus, which is sold separately. The device is available to schools for $299, some $30 less than models sold to consumers.
Apple lined up a range of education-focused features including 200GB of free iCloud storage for students and teachers, and a new Schoolwork app (due out in June) designed to help teachers create assignments and track student progress. The company also debuted Everyone Can Create, a cache of curriculum resources intended to assist teachers to integrate drawing, music, film-making and photography into their lesson plans.
There’s also a new Smart Annotation feature for its Pages word processing app allowing teachers to digitally mark students’ work.
The move is an attempt by Apple to claw back share in the education market, a sector apparently dominated by Chromebook since 2014. But Apple could fall short due to the cost of peripherals.
For those who want a keyboard and stylus, the lower cost of the new iPad will swiftly increase. The Apple Pencil alone is an additional $99, though the company did highlight a $49 “crayon” alternative from Logitech which will also work with the device.
Apple’s regular smart keyboard costs $150, but even a rugged Logitech keyboard and case combo Apple highlighted at its launch event will add an extra $99. At the very least, those prices raise the overall cost to nearly $450 for educators.
The vendor is already accepting orders for the device, which is due to hit shelves in 25 countries “later this week”.