Mobility

Apple unveils new $300 iPad, education IT software, promises to protect privacy

The new 9.7-inch iPad has support for the Apple Pencil, and will be able to be used with augmented reality.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Apple unveiled a new $299 iPad for the education market with custom software and support for the Apple Pencil and AR.
  • Apple increased iCloud storage for schools up to 200GB, and unveiled the Apple School Manager system.

At an education event in Chicago on Tuesday, Apple revealed a new, budget-friendly iPad aimed at the education market. Company leaders announced that the device would cost $299 for schools and $329 for regular consumers.

It was initially rumored that the event would see the formal release of iOS 11.3, new low-cost MacBooks, a new Apple Pencil, and even new iPhones, but none of those rumors were true. Instead, the company simply showed of the new iPad and explained some changes to its software ecosystem to make it more useful to educators.

The new iPad features a an 8MP camera with HD video, LTE support, and a 10-hour battery life. The screen is 9.7-inches, and the device is powered by Apple's A10 chip. While Apple did not introduce a new Pencil, company leaders did note that the new iPad would support the existing Apple Pencil.

SEE: IT hardware procurement policy (Tech Pro Research)

What's especially interesting is the iPad's support of augmented reality (AR) through Apple's ARKit. AR could be used in the classroom and beyond to supplement certain learning exercises.

Apple didn't stop at hardware either. A host of new software tools and platforms were also released for the education space. Apple School Manager, for example, will allow teachers create individual Apple IDs, or create a bunch of them in bulk. At the event, Apple said that teachers could create IDs for schools of 1,500 students in less than a minute.

Another new tool is the Classroom App, focused on helping teachers manage students and their work. With this app (available in beta in June), teachers can see what the students are working on with their iPad. It will also work with Macs in the future.

For assignments and handouts, teachers can use the Schoolwork App. This cloud-based app will tell students what their assignment is, and send them to the proper app so they can get it done. Developers can integrate their apps into the Schoolwork App through the ClassKit software kit. This will be helpful for schools that have an in-house developer and have certain needs for their student assignments.

On the teacher side of things is Apple Teacher. This program helps teachers earn more tech skills, and rewards them with badges as the progress. Another program for teachers is Everyone Can Create, which will offer free content for the creative arts.

As noted by ZDNet's Larry Dignan, it's clear that Apple is working to compete against the dominance of Google's Chromebooks in education. And with Futuresource Consulting noting that Chromebooks have captured nearly 60% of the K-12 market, it's clear that Apple has its work cut out for it.

Also see

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Image: James Martin/CNET

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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