Apple – Everything about the iPad announced yesterday sounds old. It’s called The New iPad. We have heard that before. It runs on a chip which is in iPhone 7 and 7 plus which are almost a year and half old by now. The less said about the design, the better. People like me are excited about this product. Why? Because it’s Apple and that’s the kind of world we live in right now.
Apple Pencil support
Hands down the best feature of this otherwise forgettable device. Full Apple pencil support comes with the new iPad. Previously the pencil was only limited to the Pro models but which this new iPad, people might consider buying it. It has the same tilt and pressure sensitivity support options. But the bad news is it’s not bundled in with the tablet. You need to pay an additional $99 if you are a consumer and $89 if you are an educator or a student.
School focussed Apps and AR Apps
Apple held yesterday’s event at a school which is to show that this iPad is concentrated mainly on the students and teachers. Naturally, they have released a bunch of apps which facilitate teachers and school work. Apple’s new Schoolwork app sounds familiar to Google Classroom where the teacher can assign homework, push through announcements, etc. Apple has also revealed that it’s going to give 200GB of iCloud storage for students which is significantly much higher than the 5GB that the regular users get. Apple usually charges $3 for 200GB.
“Affordable” Price tag
We say “Affordable” with a hint of sarcasm because of how absurd it sounds. The new iPad costs $329 for general consumers and $299 for students. Add in the Apple pencil for $99 or $89. To get the full experience, you also would want to purchase a keyboard case. In this case, it is to be purchased separately from a third-party sellers/manufactures. That final price tag puts the device into expensive Chromebook category.
Same Old Design
The iPad has had the same design for a long time, and the same design has been carried over to the new iPad. Even the pro models look the same. At this point, it is tough to predict when Apple is going to change its aging design. However, if Apple is in need of some inspiration, there are several rumor videos on YouTube from where Apple can source its new designs. The no bezel look might not work that well on a tablet though as we would need to hold the device regularly.
No connector pins which means no Apple Keyboard Cases
Almost all the promotional pictures show that the iPad gets the best work done when it is used with a keyboard case. Due to the lack of a particular connector, the new iPad will not be able to use Apple’s Keyboard cases. They depend on third-party cases and keyboards to do the job. One caveat with this, however, is that the third-party accessories use Bluetooth. Schools traditionally prefer to have fewer devices as possible so that they don’t have to do much of the administrative work. Apple did announce a keyboard case and a stylus from Logitech for this device.
As one of the cost-cutting measures, Apple used its old A10 Fusion chip on this new iPad. The processor holds up fine for now but how it will handle every new iteration of iOS remains a question. For many price-driven markets, it doesn’t matter what the internals are as long as it works fine and is cheap. Apple knows that reasonably well.
Why is Apple making cheaper products all of a sudden?
According to research firm Futuresource Consulting, in 2017 laptops using Chrome or Android system accounted for nearly 60 percent of devices sold for classrooms. This covers classes starting from kindergarten through 12th grade. Windows take second place at 22 percent. Apple held the top spot in 2013 with the iPad’s share being more than 50 percent of mobile computing in U.S classrooms. Apple is pushing hard to reclaim its place, but it is unlikely that it will happen anytime soon. Even at $299, the iPad is still not cheap when compared to the Chromebooks. Add in the software and cloud prowess of Google, using Chromebooks sweeten the deal for schools even more.
So, buying is the “new” iPad not worth it? – Final Thought
Not necessarily. I wanted to buy an iPad pro for a long time just because it supported the Apple Pencil but didn’t because of the high price tag. I wished that Apple made an iPad which is cheaper and also supported the Apple Pencil. It looks like Apple did hear my wish. At $329 plus the $89 for the pencil, it is not necessarily cheap. However, looking at how long these devices last for, it does make sense to invest in this iPad. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend the top pro models irrespective of how hard Apple pushes it to be a laptop replacement. Most of our daily media consumption comes from our mobile devices and iPad is just that. A media device. We might buy it, but you need to be in the Apple ecosystem to truly enjoy the potential of the device.