Apple today held its “field trip” education event in Chicago, unveiling a new iPad with Apple Pencil support, a slew of software features, and much more. While the event wasn’t as jam-packed as usual Apple showcases, there were a few things that may have easily slipped under the radar.
Head below for our full roundup of everything Apple announced today….
The star of the show was, of course, the new 9.7-inch iPad. While it comes in at the same $329 price for consumers and $299 price for schools, it features Apple Pencil support and more. This iPad is the first non-Pro model to feature support for Apple Pencil, while Logitech also unveiled a new Crayon stylus accessory for the device. Logitech also announced a new $99 rugged keyboard case for the new iPad.
In terms of specs, the new iPad features the A10 Fusion chip, which Apple says makes for a 40 percent faster CPU and 50 percent faster graphics performance. It also features stereo speakers.
Furthermore, Apple announced it was discounting the Apple Pencil for education customers from $99 to $89. While not a huge difference, it will definitely make a different for schools buying in bulk.
Educators also now get a discount when buying AppleCare+ for their new iPads, with prices starting at $59 for two years of coverage.
Read more about Apple’s new iPad and iPad accessories below:
In addition to the new iPad hardware, Apple also unveiled new software features for education users. Headlining the announcements today is a new Schoolwork application.
With this application, Apple hopes to create a one-stop solution for teachers in terms of handing out assignments, giving students features, and much more. Apple also touts the privacy of Schoolwork, saying it protects all student data, with only teachers being able to see information.
Integrating with Schoolwork is a new ClassKit framework. Apple says this framework will allow developers to link and expand on different parts of their apps, doling out assignments via Schoolwork. A handful of apps will support ClassKit, including Apple’s own apps such as GarageBand and Swift, and a handful of third-party apps.
ClassKit, and presumably Schoolwork, will be available in June as part of iOS 11.4. Here’s how Apple explains the framework:
The ClassKit framework, coming in iOS 11.4, works with a powerful new iPad app called Schoolwork that helps teachers and students keep track of assignments and progress. With ClassKit, you can help teachers easily discover specific learning activities in your app, take students directly to the right activity with a single tap, and securely and privately share progress data to help teachers personalize instruction.
In addition to ClassKit and Schoolwork, Apple also introduced major new versions of its iWork applications, available today. With this update, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote now support rich Apple Pencil integration. Pages offers a new Smart Annotation feature that allows users to mark up their documents, with the annotations not just sitting free-form on the page, but rather being attached to the words around them.
Pages also adds a new book creation feature, serving as sort of a replacement for iBooks Author, which requires a Mac. Apple hopes adding this book creation capability to iPad will attract more users since it no longer requires a Mac.
Speaking of the Mac, Apple is bringing its Classroom app to the Mac. Classroom, for those unfamiliar, is the app that allows teachers to manage their students’ iPads.
Apple also announced updates to Clips and GarageBand on iOS. The former brings a host of new content options, including new Pixar Selfie scenes. The latter includes TrueDepth support on iPhone X and more.
Last but not least, Apple also announced that students will now receive 200GB of iCloud storage for free. This is up from the previous 5GB limit, though the limit remains the same for general consumers.
Read more about Apple’s new software announcements below:
Apart from the new iPad accessories targeted at the education market, Apple today made a few other announcements via its online store. While we still don’t have a release date for AirPower, the company did make the previously-announced spring Apple Watch band colors available online.
Furthermore, Apple released new colors of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro Smart Cover and Leather Sleeve, as well as new Apple Pencil Case options. These colors, much like the Apple Watch bands, are spring-inspired with bright hues.
Perhaps most notably, however, you can now buy the Space Gray iMac Pro accessories separately from the iMac Pro itself. While the accessories themselves are pricey, it’s certainly not as expensive as buying the iMac Pro itself.
Read more about Apple’s new accessories below:
All in all, Apple made a handful of solid announcements today, for both educators and consumers alike. Whether or not the new education features are enough to win over holdouts in that market, however, remains to be seen. Nevertheless, bringing Apple Pencil support to the entry-level iPad, along with the new software features and other accessories, is certainly notable.
What did you think of Apple’s announcements today? Do you think they’ll attract any additional education customers? Let us know down in the comments!
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