Earlier this week, Apple unveiled a brand new 9.7-inch iPad.
It’s a direct successor to last year’s 9.7-inch iPad, in every conceivable way possible, but obviously a lot of the conversation surrounding the new tablet is its focus on the education market. Which is understandable, considering Apple decided to announce the new product at an event meant entirely for students and educators, where a lot of the focus was on software, too.
Apple could have launched the new iPad with a press release and called it good, in terms of hardware only. Did it deserve to be a centerpiece at a media event? Probably not. But Apple wants to make sure the world knows it has a renewed, rejuvenated outlook on education, and to help with that the new 9.7-inch iPad was used to draw eyeballs.
The new iPad is probably going to do pretty well for itself. Sure, it costs $329 for general consumers, but it has noteworthy discounts for educators and students, which may actually help Apple make a resurgence in schools across the globe. Will it fight back areas where Chromebooks have already flourished? Maybe not. But that’s where the new software elements that Apple announced will really come into play.
And only time will tell in that regard.
As far as I’m concerned, the biggest news out of the event, for me personally, was the fact that the Apple Pencil is now supported on an iPad that isn’t a Pro model. I think there has been a bit of a back-and-forth on this topic, with some wondering if Apple should bring stylus support to other Apple products. That means not just iPads, but also the iPhone — where there has been plenty of speculation that Apple intends on adding Pencil support for the smartphone lineup.
Does Apple bringing Pencil support to the new 9.7-inch iPad mean that it’s one step closer to adding it to the iPhone? Maybe! With the iPhone X Plus rumored to see the light of day later this year, it would be interesting to see Apple confirm Pencil support for the big, bezel-less phone.
I’m keeping attention on the new iPad for now, though. Because while I can’t take advantage of the education discount, I’m still planning on picking one up — and it’s solely because of that Apple Pencil support. I already have a 10-inch iPad Pro, which is one of my favorite Apple products to date, but it’s an expensive product and, as such, I’m not always a fan of letting my two kids play with it. But my youngest loves to draw with the Pencil and on the tablet, so I grit my teeth and let it happen.
I picked up last year’s 9.7-inch iPad when it launched and I’ll be keeping it, but I’m definitely picking up the new model, too. It’ll serve its purpose as a tool for educational purposes, the majority of the games my kids play are learning titles in some way or another, but it will also be a great drawing tablet for a kid who envisions herself becoming an artist one day.
I’m glad that Apple broadened the Pencil support to another iPad model. And if it works as well as it appears to, based on the early hands-on reports, I’m sure I’ll be happy with the purchase. Hopefully it also means a future where big iPhones have the stylus support, too.
Are you planning on picking up the new 9.7-inch iPad? Why or why not?