Apple Announces 9.7-inch iPad With Pencil Support And Discounted Pricing For Schools

apple ipad apple pencil
As has been widely expected, Apple today announced an upgrade to its 9.7-inch iPad. The device has refreshed hardware and is now powered by the Apple A10 Fusion processor (which is an upgrade from the previous generation’s Apple A9). That A10 Fusion processor debuted on the iPhone 7 family in 2016 and should provide a nice speed boost across the board.

The other big change is that this will be the first consumer-centric iPad with support for the Apple Pencil, which is a $99 optional accessory. Apple Pencil support means that users will be able to write and draw on the display with pressure and tilt sensitivity, which should enhance the inking experience.

The new 9.7-inch iPad retains its Touch ID authentication system instead of adopting Face ID from the iPhone X, which isn't a surprise given the cost-sensitive nature of Apple's entry-level tablets. You'll also find an FaceTime HD camera, 8MP rear camera, and optional 4G LTE connectivity (which adds another $130 to the price tag). Apple says that battery life for the tablet is rated for up to 10 hours.

We all know that public school budgets are very tight, and Apple is keenly aware of this. So, while the iPad will be available to regular consumers for $329, it will be priced at $299 for schools. That still isn't as cheap as some budget-focused Chromebooks running Chrome OS, but it definitely puts Apple in the ballpark.

But while the pricing makes the new iPad more competitive, Apple still doesn't provide the same level of management utilities and features like multi-user login/account support that's possible with Chromebooks.