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Apple has updated its entry-level iPad, adding some improved specs and support for the Apple Pencil. But beyond that this is an incremental update, with more staying the same than changing. And this isn’t the budget iPad for students some were expecting.
There have been rumors suggesting Apple was preparing to launch a budget iPad to compete with Chromebooks. Which now includes the first Chrome OS Tablet. Unfortunately, Apple’s bottom line prevents the company from offering a true bargain.
The New iPad: Just Like the Old iPad
The new Apple iPad is just like the last Apple iPad, and the one before that, and… you get the idea. It boasts a 9.7-inch screen, the A10 Fusion chip, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, an HD FaceTime camera, and 10 hours of battery life.
For ordinary consumers, the new iPad will cost $329, the same as the current model. The Apple Pencil, which this new model supports, will set you back a further $99. However, schools can get the iPad for $299 and the Pencil for $89. A saving of just $40.
I’m a big iPad fan. And the new iPad education software Apple showed off today looked great. But the school discounts for the new iPad and the pencil seem way too paltry.
— Walt Mossberg (@waltmossberg) March 27, 2018
Apple thinks this makes the iPad a bargain for students, which is why it focused this event on education and held it in a school in Chicago. The idea being to take the fight to Google, which, thanks to the success of the humble Chromebook, owns the education sector.
Unfortunately for Apple, these paltry savings are simply not enough to make the iPad an attractive option for public schools. Which are facing budget cuts forcing parents to crowdfund for basic supplies. Spending $388 on an iPad/Pencil combo is not a priority.
Maybe Apple Will Crack It Next Time
While iPads are fantastic devices for creating and consuming content, a Chromebook makes much more sense in a classroom. Especially as most Chromebooks cost less than the new iPad, and come with a keyboard allowing students to write comfortably.
If Apple really wants to compete in the education sector the company will have to launch an actual budget iPad. Or maybe even forgo a slice of its profit in order to help the next generation of consumers get a good education. But that hasn’t happened yet.