Date
26 April 2018
An Apple official explains the features of the new iPad at an education-focused event at Lane Technical College Prep High School in Chicago, Illinois, on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters
An Apple official explains the features of the new iPad at an education-focused event at Lane Technical College Prep High School in Chicago, Illinois, on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

Apple unveils new iPad, software with eye on education market

Apple Inc. rolled out a new iPad and classroom software aimed at grabbing more of the US education market.

However, the tech giant did not cut the price of its entry-level tablet despite schools flocking to laptops costing a third less, Reuters reports.

The new iPad has a more powerful computing chip and an extensive set of new, free software for teachers to manage students and schoolwork.

But the unchanged starting price of US$299 for students and US$329 for the general public, without a keyboard or case, compares with less than US$200 for some Windows and Google Chrome models.

Some analysts had believed Apple might cut prices, but the company stuck with its more traditional approach of packing more features into a device.

Despite the new software, Apple faces a tough battle in the educational market given the popularity of Google and Microsoft’s productivity suites, said Carolina Milanesi of Creative Strategies.

Google’s G Suite fueled Chromebook sales because it was seen as easy to use to manage assignments. “Most teachers don’t look past G Suite for education,” she said.

Apple, as part of its response, on Tuesday announced improvements in its iWork suite at an event in Chicago, where school bells and announcements over a public address system directed press and more than 300 teachers into an auditorium at Lane Tech College Prep High School.

The event came during a spring buying season when many schools are making purchasing decisions for the upcoming school year.

“We’ve been at this for 40 years and we care deeply about education,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said at the event.

Apple executives said the new iPad works with its pencil accessory and features an upgraded A10 Fusion chip, the same CPU that powers the iPhone 7. It is available immediately.

The Apple Pencil remains priced at US$99 for the public and US$89 for schools, though Lenovo will release a device called Crayon for US$49, the first third-party stylus to work with the iPad.

Apple made up just 17 percent of the K-12 US educational market in the third quarter, according to data from Futuresource Consulting. 

Apple in recent years made changes to its operating system so that more than one student can log into an iPad, and to its software to let teachers better manage students.

On Tuesday it updated iWork – which includes word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software – to allow students to take handwritten notes more easily, along with adding more free storage on its iCloud service.

Apple also released a new app called Schoolwork to help teachers create assignments and track student progress. Google has a similar app for managing student profiles, but analysts highlighted Apple’s Schoolwork app as unique in helping teachers manage assignments and progress.

The previously iPad-focused Classroom teacher administration app would start working on Mac computers in June, Apple said.

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RC/CG

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