Apple unveils new $299 iPad for students with support for augmented reality, Apple Pencil
Apple hasn’t branded it an ePad.
But Apple CEO Tim Cook and other executives took the stage in an auditorium at Chicago’s Lane Tech College Prep High School on Tuesday and unveiled a new education-targeted $299, 9.7-inch iPad, with support for the Apple Pencil stylus that once was only reserved for its premium iPad Pro tablets. Apple hopes this new, lowest-cost iPad ever will appeal to students and educators.
iPad sales have been fairly soft in recent years, and now Apple is looking to education to execute a turnaround.
The company’s last budget iPad cost $329 for consumers and $299 for schools. Introduced about a year ago, it helped the tablet’s sales gain some traction.
Though the price of this new iPad is the same as last year’s, the latest tablet is more powerful, with, among other features, an A10 Fusion chip that can handle augmented reality. Bonus: 200GB of free iCloud storage.
There’s also the aforementioned support for the $99 Apple Pencil, which students can use to draw, sketch or take notes, including through the company’s Pages (word processing), Keynote (presentation) and Numbers (spreadsheet) apps. Logitech will also be selling its own stylus that’s compatible with the new tablet for just $49, though it isn’t “pressure-sensitive” like Apple’s own stylus.
Apple sold 11.4 million iPads in the third quarter of 2017, compared to 9.9 million iPads during the same period a year earlier. It saw a slight uptick in the December quarter: 13.1 million vs. 13.0 million iPads sold.
Though once dominant in the classroom, Apple in recent years has slipped behind Google and Microsoft, which sell lower-cost tablets and laptops that better fit tight school budgets.
Google’s cloud-based Chrome operating system, at the core of inexpensive Chromebooks, captured a 59.6% market share in K-12 mobile computing U.S. shipments during the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Futuresource Consulting, with many of those models in the sub-$300 ballpark.
Notebooks and tablets that run Microsoft Windows ranked second, with a 25.6% share. Apple was third, with its iOS mobile operating system (for iPads and the iPhone) and MacOS laptops having 10.6% and 3.5%, market shares, respectively.
Can Apple make headway in schools with its new iPad? The company announced that there are some 200,000 educational and reference apps for its tablet.
Apple also emphasized new third-party augmented reality apps, including an app that will let students virtually dissect a frog.
‘There’s no doubt AR is going to change how this generation learns,” Apple executive Greg Joswiak said on stage.
Apple separately announced software for teachers and renewed its push for the previously announced Everyone Can Code initiative and Swift programming language. Apple also launched a new initiative called Everyone Can Create, with a focus on skills in music, video, photography and drawing.
While educators pay $299 for the new tablet, regular consumers can pick one up when it goes on sale this week for $329.
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