A lot was expected from today’s Apple event at the Lane Tech College Prep High School on Chicago’s north side.
What was announced was good. But it didn’t come close to expectations. Many were hoping for a lower priced MacBook Air, which essentially hasn’t been updated in over 4 years. Instead, Apple is still trying to push the iPad as a laptop replacement, which it isn’t.
The “new” 9.7-inch iPad now comes with a faster processor (the same one found in the iPhone 7) and support for the Apple Pencil. Previously, only the iPad Pros supported the Apple Pencil. The “new” iPad might be better described as an upgrade for the older 9.7 iPad.
Apple Pencil is $99 extra in the US. If you are in Canada, it will set you back $129 loonies. There will be a “Crayon” available sometime this summer, but it will be restricted to the education market.
A keyboard will also be needed. Only Bluetooth keyboards will work with the new 9.7″ iPad as it doesn’t have the Smart Connector that is on the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros. However, many school districts don’t allow Bluetooth connections to their devices due to security concerns.
Let’s not get started on the cost of the various dongles you might need to connect cameras, or almost everything else.
This is Apple’s answer to the Chromebook in the education market. But only elite schools will be able to afford this. And why would they. The iOS operating system constrains users. Students that want to explore and try new ways, their own ways of doing things, will be frustrated by it’s limitations. Customers are likely going to be people looking for a good tablet.
What the new updated iPad is likely to do is take sales away from it’s own 10.5-inch iPad Pro. At $329 it is essentially half the price of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro ($649), and there’s not enough to differentiate them now that the non-Pro supports the Apple Pencil. So I’m a little peeved I purchased a 10.5-inch iPad Pro just a few months ago.
A lot was expected today. I’m not sure Apple delivered.
*In the U.S., schools can purchase 9.7-inch iPad starting at $299 and Apple Pencil for $89. In Canada, schools can purchase iPad starting at $399 and Apple Pencil for $115.
Apple’s New Approach To Education Is Humbler, But Stronger – Andy Ihnatko, Fast Company