Apple announced its latest entry-level iPad, a 9.7-inch model that shares the same A10 Fusion processor as the more expensive iPad Pro. Like the Pro, this sixth-gen iPad supports the Apple Pencil.
There will be 32GB and 128GB storage options, an 8MP rear camera that supports 1080p HD video recording and a front 1.2MP camera with 720p HD video recording support.
Schools will get a free 200GB of iCloud storage, instead of the usual 5GB.
Besides the new iPad, Apple also announced software targeted at schools – the Schoolwork app will allow teachers to assign activities to students, as a well as a Classroom app to help teachers guide students through lessons.
iWork also got trotted out and Logitech unveiled its own cheaper Apple Pencil alternative, the US$49 Crayon. No word, though, what will make it different from the more expensive US$99 Pencil.
Pricing for the new iPad starts at US$329 (US$299 for educational institutions) and it comes in silver, space gray and gold. It is available to order in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the US.
India, Russia, Thailand, Turkey will follow in April, with South Korea and other countries and regions following in May. Whether Malaysia will get it in the second or third batch is anyone’s guess at this point but it’s likely pricing for the Malaysian market will be announced in the coming weeks.
Why a new iPad now, ahead of its usual announcement periods in June and August? It’s likely to address the challenges Apple faces in the education sector with Google currently dominating the space with its Chromebooks. Both Google and Microsoft are making more headway in the classroom, compared to Apple’s falling share with both iOS and Mac OS.