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Apple’s new 9.7in iPad sports a gutsier processor and takes aim at the education world

APPLE HAS REVEALED an iPad targeted at the education world and aiming to figuratively kick Chromebooks out of the hands of school students.

Now you’re probably expecting a cut down fondle slate that’s something of a love-child between Jonny Ive product design and a Fisher Price ‘my first tablet’ toy. And you’d be wrong.

The new iPad comes rocking the sleek-ish current-gen iPad design with a 9.7in Retina display that plays nice with the Apple Pencil. The display’s pixels are powered by Apple’s A10 Fusion chipset; not quite the A11 Bionic found in the iPhone X and iPhone 8, but it’s no slouch either.

But there’s more; Touch ID, LTE connectivity, 10-hour battery life, stereo speakers, and even augmented reality (AR) support that will allow school pupils to experience things like museum attractions while remaining in the classroom – though we rather enjoyed a school trip back when we were young and the world looks less grey. The AR capabilities will supposedly let students dissect creatures like frogs digitally thus potentially saving amphibian lives.

So far this looks like an iPad with a few educational extras, but accessories like Logitech’s crayon stylus and a keyboard bring the iPad back to school; albeit at the cost of $49 and $99 respectively.

One of the more interesting and unexpected parts of the new iPad is the ability to share it between school pupils with the Shared iPad support being added for education outfits, allowing multiple student profiles to be used on one iPad. All these profiles can be assigned and corralled using the Apple School Manager, which allows Apple ID to be created in bulk and divvied out to school pupils in minutes.

And there’s a suite of new and updated software to appeal to schools and their students, such as an app called Schoolwork that enables teachers to more easily assign activities to classrooms in the app, as well as track the progress of individual students. Schools will also get 200GB of free iCloud storage, which basically ruins excuses like ‘my dog ate my USB stick’ from work-shy students.

The new ClassKit toolkit allows developers to integrate their education apps with Schoolwork, essentially paving the way for an education focussed mini-ecosystem within the iOS ecosystem.

All in all this is basically a normal iPad with a layer of education software, tools and accessories. And that’s reflected in the price, which starts at $329, some £320, but with a discount of $30 for schools. Though this new iPad is apparently the most affordable iPad ever.

This new iPad will replace the current iPad, which came with a less gutsy A9 chip. But other than updated software in the form of refreshed Pages, Numbers and Keynote app, there’s not a huge amount to make you rush out and buy this iPad if you have one from 2017. It’s almost as if Apple is running out of ideas…..µ

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