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Apple’s cheap new iPad supports Apple Pencil, available today

by Brandon Russell | March 27, 2018

Apple on Tuesday officially unveiled its newest iPad, which the company says is its most affordable tablet yet—as low as $299 for if you’re an educator. For everyone else, the device is $329 and is available beginning today. Apple says it’s the most powerful iPad for students and teachers.

It’s easy to dismiss the latest tablet as just a cheaper iPad, but it’s so much more than that. Apple emphasized how its tablet empowers students around the world to create, learn, and collaborate—something that’s core to the new iPad’s experience. Students will be able to use Apple’s suite of iWork apps to create during lessons, and many of the most popular apps will be utilized in the classroom through a portal available to teachers.

Apple says the iPad is crucial to the development and curiosity of students, allowing them to explore subjects in an immersive way. Adding Pencil support is a natural evolution to the cheaper iPad’s growth and makes the device hugely enticing in the education market. It makes for a viable replacement for expensive laptops and they’re much more portable than a Chromebook.

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The device features a familiar design, but the main draw is its support for Apple’s Pencil. It’s not exactly as powerful as an iPad Pro, but it’s not as basic as a traditional iPad either. You get an A10 chip, TouchID, an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, and LTE support. It’s a powerful device—one that Apple said is more powerful than any Chromebook out there.

So, who would want this? Everyone. But, more specifically, Apple is gearing the device toward educators and students, using advancements of ARKit as an example of why the iPad has a place in the classroom. Rather than going on a field trip, for example, Apple is working with museums to allow students to view classic works of art right in the classroom.

Pencil support is as you’d get from the iPad Pro, including tilt support for more refined writing and drawing. Apple showed off a really cool example of how the Pencil and iPad will work together in the classroom. Rather than dissecting a frog, apps are being created that will allow students to dissect a digital frog and learn all about its anatomy. That’s a lot easier and less slimy!

Apple has created a neat multi-user feature that will be friendly for classrooms. Just pick up an iPad in your classroom, tap on your name, and you’ll be up and running. This experience will be backed by 200GB of iCloud storage for each classroom. If you’re a student, the possibilities are nearly endless here regarding what you can learn about—the new iPad puts the power of the internet right at your fingertips.

But beyond that, apps and programs are being developed to encourage kids to create, code, and program. That’s not something I did when I was at school!

Many of the new software experiences are being tailored to educators, but consumers will still find the new device exciting because of its affordable price. Of course, in order to take advantage of what the device can do, you’ll have to pay the extra $99 for the Pencil, bringing the price to $429 if you go all in. If you want the LTE model, the price jumps to $459, which is not an insignificant amount.

You can purchase the new 9.7-inch iPad beginning today with shipments set to go out later this week.

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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...


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