For the first time, Apple’s entry-level iPad will work with the Apple Pencil digital stylus. Apple said the new iPad would feature the same support for Apple Pencil as the higher end version of the tablet, the iPad Pro. The company also announced it would be building support for the Apple Pencil into new versions of the company’s productivity apps — Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Apple didn’t announce any updates for the Apple Pencil, which is sold separately for $99.
Another major move on the new iPad is the addition of Apple’s A10 Fusion processor. The inclusion of the chip will provide a 40-percent leap in CPU performance and a 50-percent boost in graphics speed over the previous entry-level iPad, which featured the A9 chip, according to Apple. The result should be “seamless multitasking” and capabilities for meeting the needs of graphics-intensive apps, the company said.
9.7-inch screen on the new iPad would feature Apple’s popular Retina display technology. Meanwhile, thanks to an 8-megapixel camera and motion-tracking sensors such as an accelerometer and gyroscope, the new iPad is specially outfitted for use with augmented-reality apps. Other key features include 10 hours of battery life, fast wireless capabilities (up to 300 Mbps over LTE) and support for Touch ID fingerprint recognition for authentication.
Apart from the support for drawing and annotating with Apple Pencil, which should have plenty of applications for classroom activities and homework, the new iPad is also being targeted for use with other new education software. Apple said the forthcoming Schoolwork app, which will be released in June, will enable teachers to create assignments and view the progress of their students. Features in the Schoolwork app will include an easier method for creating and distributing assignments, called Handouts.
Apple is keeping the pricing the same for the new 9.7-inch iPad — starting at $329 for the Wi-Fi-only model. School pricing will also stay the same, starting at $299 for the Wi-Fi-only model for schools. Schools will also be able to buy the Apple Pencil for $89, compared to the typical $99 price.