Apple was once the brand of choice for school-goers across the US and many more parts of the world. But premium prices and a focused market charge from rivals Google and Microsoft, each offering low-cost laptops specifically built for schools, has rather diminished Apple’s share in the classroom tech market.
However, Apple is out to correct its follies and has now come up with a low-priced iPad that is more powerful and offers a range of new and free software to help teachers manage students and schoolwork.
But the $299 pricing for students and $329 for the rest could still be considered steep by parents and schools as rivals Google and Windows are offering some laptop models for less than $200. And the company still refuses to lower the price of its Apple Pencil, priced at $99 for the public and $89 for schools. Offering an alternative, however, Apple will introduce a low-priced stylus from Lenovo called the Crayon for $49, which will be the first third-party stylus to work with the iPad.
The launch event for the new iPad was held at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago, where Apple said it had improved the iWork suite much to offer more to students and teachers. The improvements to iWork, which includes word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software, offers additional ease of taking handwritten notes and added storage on iCloud.
The launch event also showcased Apple’s new app called Schoolwork, which allows teachers create assignments and track students’ progress. Later this year, Apple will introduce “Everyone Can Create” lessons on video, photography, music, and drawing. They will be similar to its existing “Everyone Can Code” guides that help novices become better at computer programming.
The “Everyone Can Create” lessons will complement and give prominence to the new iPads’ features such as camera and microphone. With apps like Clips and GarageBand, Apple is encouraging youngsters to enter the world of digital creation relatively young, a smart strategy to rake in the generation that has grown in a world dominated by YouTube, Faceboook and Instagram.
Analysts think the new educational iPad is certainly more expensive than its rivals in terms of just being an assistive classroom gadget, but given its additional features like camera and microphone and the upcoming lessons on video, music and drawing etc, its usability could transcend the boundaries of classrooms and help children learn much more and become better at a number of things, not just taking notes and managing assignments.
And that seems to be the nail Apple is trying to hit on the head.