Apple released a new affordable iPad model on Tuesday that supports Apple Pencil and is compatible with all-new versions of Apple’s word processing, spreadsheet and presentation apps.
The new iPad will be offered to schools for $299 and is available to order today. It will start shipping and arriving in stores this week. Consumers can buy it for $329.
It’s all part of a new suite of products that Apple is offering the education market.
The new device will bring some of Apple’s high-end specs, like Retina display, Pencil support and A10 Fusion chips, to a lower-end device. It will also take the iPad back to its roots with new digital book creation features: Co-founder Steve Jobs worked both inside and outside of Apple to bring computers to college campuses, and digital textbooks was one of the original use cases that inspired the creation of the iPad, according to biographer Walter Isaacson.
Apple hosted the Tuesday launch event at Chicago’s Lane Tech College Prep High School. At the event, CEO Tim Cook emphasized the company’s investments in community colleges, as well as expanded classes at Apple’s retail locations through the “Today at Apple” program announced last year. Apple has 200,000 apps made for education, according to Apple vice president of product marketing Greg Joswiak, who discussed the iPad.
New apps are taking advantage of Apple’s augmented reality development kit, executives said.
Boulevard AR’s app allows students to virtually walk through a museum and see artwork, while a WWF app allows students to interact with wildlife. Froggipedia allows students to dissect a virtual frog with their Apple Pencil.
In addition to more education-related content in Apple’s augmented reality developer program, Apple is also rolling out a new software development platform, ClassKit, aimed at education.
Apple’s Classroom app is also expanding to Mac, executives said. A new free app, Schoolwork, will make it easier for teachers to assign handouts and track students’ progress.
Apple also announced that iCloud storage will be free up to 200 GB for the education market, and education users will get the Apple Pencil at a $10 discount.
Apple’s “Everybody Can Code” program, focused on mobile apps, recently expanded to 70 more colleges, and iPad devices host Swift Playgrounds, a code education platform. Apple said it plans to expand that curriculum on Tuesday to support broader creative activities.
But while Apple products still get prominent placement in university bookstores, Google’s low-cost Chromebooks have surged to over half of all computing devices shipped to schools. Apple didn’t unveil any new Mac devices during Tuesday’s keynote, despite some rumors that a lower-priced MacBook might be on the way.
Apple said in January it would fund 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai’s women’s education advocacy. Yousafzai was shot in the head, neck and shoulder as a teen after publicly defending women’s education under Taliban rule.
On Tuesday, Cook also addressed recent U.S. gun control rallies at schools across the country and in the nation’s capital, saying Apple has “always believed that people with passion can change the world.”
Apple also didn’t stray from the controversy surrounding rival technology companies over privacy, noting that “it’s important to us that you understand this data stays private.” Apple has emphasized parental control options after criticism that children were developing addictions to its tech products.