Apple’s education and iPad and iWork event in Chicago was obvious from the invitation. That cursive Apple logo smacked of Pencil and education and Apple delivered everything expected except a keyboard and a competitive price tag.
With few exceptions the new education iPad was here already. It’s a 9.7-inch iPad that looks and feels like Apple’s old 9.7-inch iPad, except this one works with Pencil. It also comes in a variety of colors, has a fast Apple-designed A10 Fusion chip inside, has dual cameras, and is light as a feather at a pound. What’s the big deal?
Software & Storage
There are a few big deals with the iPad for education. First up, it’s priced at $299. For education. If you want one, and you might, it’s $329 for a very anemic 32GB of storage. Cough up another C-note to get 128GB. But that’s for you and me. Kids and schools have a different deal.
Not only does the new iPad come with the standard Wi-Fi and an LTE option, Bluetooth, Touch ID fingerprint sensor and other goodies, $299 for iPad also comes with 200GB of iCloud storage (Google offers students 100GB of cloud storage for two years). That’s a big deal.
Wait. There’s more!
Not only is this a very fast iPad at a competitive price– especially so for students and schools– it also comes with new software specifically aimed at schools and education. This iPad works with Apple’s popular Pencil and a new and much less expensive drawing and writing device called Crayon ($49, made by Logitech, not Apple).
Wait. There’s more.
Apple updated iOS versions of the Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps– think iWork suite– that work with Pencil and Crayon. Yes, students can draw on the iWork apps, save everything in 200GB of iCloud storage for schools, and get a $10 discount on the $99 Pencil. Crayon is not Pencil but it’s like Pencil and works the same way but it’s only for schools and not available for sale at Apple Stores or online. Yet.
Wait. One more thing.
Apple also has an iPad version of iBooks Author. This is a big deal for schools, too, as Author makes it drop dead easy to create lesson materials. Think iBooks Author for Mac, but for iPad and education.
That means iPad has two tiers. iPad Pro at the top. iPad at the bottom. It looks as if iPad mini 4 is on the way out. What’s missing in this iPad announcement? A keyboard. iPad will work with inexpensive Bluetooth keyboards and Logitech makes a few, but this iPad does not have a Smart Connector.
Apple has been losing education marketshare to Google’s Chromebooks for a few years because they cost less and school budgets are all about the benjamins. The new iPad will at least stop the bleeding.