During their Education Summit in Chicago, Apple announced the “most affordable iPad yet.” It’s a $300 9.7 inch iPad with Apple Pencil support. The low-cost iPad is geared and marketed towards students and educators, looking for a low-cost computing solution. The iPad slots in right around where most Chromebooks would cost, giving Apple an easy way back into classrooms. Apple actually lead the way in classroom adoption, but started to fall behind as more affordable alternatives from Microsoft and Google emerged.
Now, this new iPad gives Apple a way to reintroduce themselves to educators while also relying on the strength of their portfolio. The biggest advantage behind this iPad is that it’s actually pretty stacked on the spec side of things, but the addition of Apple Pencil functionality amps things up substantially. This new iPad will rock an A10 Fusion Chip with 64-bit Desktop architecture. This gives users a 50 percent boost in graphical performance, and a 40 percent faster CPU overall, when compared to the previous 9.7 inch model. The front camera will be a Facetime HD camera and the rear sensor will also provide hi-res photos and videos.
Another huge addition to the new iPad, is the inclusion of AR or augmented reality apps. As more and more classrooms require more access to enhanced technology, the ability to use AR on an affordable device becomes an incredibly important resource. AR apps allow teachers to take students on virtual field trips, retaining the engagement of a normal trip while remaining incredibly cost-effective.
The new iPad is available starting today in the Apple Store and on Apple.com. The pricing starts at $299 for students and $329 for consumers. The Apple Pencil will be available at $89 for students, while consumers will spring $99 for it. There will also be a WiFi + Cellular model available, and those will start at $459. The new iPad will be available in Space Gray, Silver, and a new Gold finish.