Google has already responded to the new Apple iPad
Apple has partnered with Logitech for a Pencil alternative, and made additions to its already strong educational apps ecosystem
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The battlelines have been drawn, again. With focus on educational institutions, Apple announced the expected iPad refresh at an education-centric event at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago. Apple retained a lot of the ingredients of the new iPad’s predecessor—the 9.7-inch screen, the design, aluminium body, as well as the $329 starting price tag—it is priced at $299 for schools under the Apple Education banner. At present, the iPad 2017 is priced upwards of Rs28,000 and considering the prices aren’t changing, the iPad 2018 should be a like-for-like replacement in Apple’s product line-up.
What is new, however, is the added support for the Apple Pencil, or basically any stylus designed to work with the iPad. And on that point, Apple’s partnership with Logitech could come in really handy. The Apple Pencil, as a $99 accessory, isn’t exactly affordable for many if used in the classroom. The new Logitech accessory, called the Logitech Crayon, is priced at $49 and retains the same set of scribbling, drawing, jotting and sketching features as the Pencil. On the software side of things, Apple has updated the iWork suite of apps (this includes Pages, Keynote and Numbers) to support the Pencil and the Crayon accessories. Additionally, Apple will offer students 200GB free iCloud space (priced at Rs219 per month). There is now also the Schoolwork app—it allows teachers to create assignments and see how students are progressing, create and send assignments, share work in the form of PDFs and documents, assign specific activities, and customize the process according to each student’s needs.
In the lead-up to Apple’s announcements, there was great speculation as to how Apple might be able to position the iPad line-up to compete against Google Chromebooks, which are quite popular in US educational institutions, and also the Microsoft Windows 10 S computing devices. Google pulled a rabbit out of the hat instead—the Acer Chromebook Tab 10—which is the world’s first tablet to run the Chrome OS. It will also go on sale at $329, includes support for a stylus, has a 10-inch display and has 32GB internal storage.
According to research firm Futuresource Consulting, Chrome OS powers nearly 60% of devices shipped to US schools in 2017.
Apple may be, in a way, banking on the fact that many parents already use iPads, many a times with their children too at home. This means the children, if they get the iPad to the classroom as well, will essentially have the same device and user experience at home and at school. This not only reduces the learning curve, but the same set of class and schoolwork management apps can let parents, teachers and children be on the same page. With the Schoolwork app now already seeing integration support from popular classroom apps such as Nearpod, Tynker and Kahoot, and the many educational apps that are already available on the Apple App Store for the iPad, it’s no surprise that Apple sees the iPad’s powerful hardware, productivity assisting iOS 11 as well as the robust educational app ecosystem as key to getting into the classrooms.
Apple has confirmed that the new iPad will be available in India from April, though there is no word on the arrival of the Acer Chromebook Tab 10.
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