Apple announces a new $329 iPad with Apple Pencil support

Apple March 27 event Apple education event Apple March 27 education event Apple Chicago event iPad low cost 9.7-inch iPad iPad Mini 2 Apple Pencil 2 Mac Book Air 2018 entry level Mac Book Air ClassKit iOS 11.3

ClassKit is essentially a framework designed for education apps

For consumers it'll be the same $329 starting price. AR could be used in the classroom and beyond to supplement certain learning exercises. However, Apple is looking to bank on users with its unique user experience.

CEO Tim Cook is opening the show by noting that Chicago Public Schools has been working with Apple to teach coding to hundreds of thousands of public students. The announcement drew loud cheers from the crowd of journalists and teachers packed into Lane Tech's auditorium.

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Expect Apple to tout its programming chops: Apple has already been promoting its Swift programming language to kids, and previous year it expanded its "Everyone Can Code" program to Chicago schools. Rumors of Apple launching a more affordable iPad, MacBook and iPad with Apple Pencil support are pouring in as Apple is expected to launch a product to cater to schools and colleges.

The new iPad, meanwhile, still includes the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, versus Face ID 3-D sensor system on the iPhone X, but adds a new A10 Fusion chip which was first released in the iPhone 7 in 2016, up from the A9 in the previous low-priced iPad. Last Fall, Apple released curriculum of its own, called Everyone Can Code, through which aspiring developers can learn to make apps using Swift, a language developed by Apple that only works on iOS, Mac, watchOS, and TVOS apps. Devices running Google's operating systems held 60 percent of the market, and Windows PCs had 22 percent. But in the USA, the education market has mostly opted for Google Chromebooks over the past several years. Microsoft past year introduced an education-focused laptop from partner Lenovo Group Ltd running Window 10 S.

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But it faces a tough battle in the educational market given the popularity of Google and Microsoft's cloud-based productivity suites, said Carolina Milanesi of Creative Strategies.

It's $299 for educational establishments, $329 to non-members of the teaching profession. And while people can use a third-party Bluetooth keyboard with the existing iPads, we suspect that for many a Bluetooth keyboard becomes another device to charge and carry - something students might not like to crowd their bags with. Sales of iPads made up just 8.3 per cent of Apple's US$229.2 billion total revenue past year, however, compared with the almost 62 per cent of sales generated by iPhones.

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