Apple is prepared to go toe-to-toe with Google Chromebooks after unveiling a new, budget-friendly iPad with Apple Pencil support. While Chromebooks hold a majority of the U.S. educational PC market with about 60% market share, Apple’s new education-focused iPad, with benefits for both students and teachers, will provide serious competition.
For starters, the 9.7-inch tablet comes with an A10 Fusion chip. Able to edit videos in 4K and operate a host of augmented-reality apps on the iPad’s Retina screen, the new iPad offers a stronger processing unit than the ones used in Chromebooks. These tablets also start at a more affordable price of $329 for individual consumers and $299 for schools.
Students will benefit from a plethora of improvements to the previous generation of iPads. These upgrades include an 8MP camera capable of recording at 1080p, 10 hours of battery life, and compatibility with the apps in the iWork productivity suite like Pages and Keynote. With the Apple Pencil (or Logitech’s alternative stylus) in tow, students will be able to make smart annotations directly on any handouts or documents.
While the iPad may be student-focused, Apple has released tools compatible with the iPad that will greatly improve both teacher and classroom experience. The ClassKit developer tool comes with two apps, Classroom and Schoolwork, with the former functioning as an in-class administrative tool that can monitor what students are seeing on their iPads and the latter allowing teachers to manage assignments and activities. Additionally, any app developed with ClassKit is fully compatible with either Classroom or Schoolwork.
Not only that, Apple has increased its iCloud storage for schools from 5GB to 200GB, made the Classroom app available for Macs as well, and announced an Apple School Manager program. With this program, teachers can create 1,5000 Apple IDs in under a minute, either making accounts in bulk or individually.
“Macs and iPads are used throughout schools by students for everything from music to language arts and even advanced robotics,” recognized Apple CEO Tim Cook. And truly, with this new iPad, Apple has really invested in its educational program.