Earlier today, at the company’s education event in Chicago, Apple unveiled a small subset of educational updates, a new collaboration with Logitech on a lower cost iPad stylus and a brand new iPad 9.7-inch, which is technically the sixth generation of iPad as Apple calls it.
So, what is new? Well, this new iPad replaces the lower cost, entry level 9.7-inch iPad which Apple introduced this time last year via a press release. That release came at a strange time, see a year previous to that cheaper iPad being released, we saw the iPad Air 2 be replaced by the iPad Pro 9.7-inch back in March 2016. For an entire year, the barrier to obtaining a new iPad from Apple was set quite high.
Then last year, there were some rumours suggesting that Apple would be introducing a cheaper iPad, which would benefit the educational market mainly. And today’s release takes that model a bit further on, albeit a very familiar design which comfortably sticks to the same iPad formula. The new model retains the same 9.7-inch Retina display which everyone is used to, reports from people who had hands on time mentioned the air gap between the glass and the LCD is still present, so those looking for the best iPad screen experience should probably plump for the slightly larger iPad Pro 10.5-inch.
While the form factor is the same, Apple has added Apple Pencil support for the first time on an ‘non pro iPad’. The internals get a spec bump with the A10 Fusion Chip which can be found in the iPhone 7, no supercharged A10X Fusion here that remains in the iPad Pro lineup. The cameras are unchanged from the last version, 8MP on the rear and the usual 1.2MP FaceTime HD selfie cam on the front side, again if you’re looking for a high end camera system on an iPad, we’d recommend the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
Pricing and availability
Rumours of the last few weeks were suggesting a price drop for the new iPad, however this is not the case. The 2018 iPad 9.7-inch remains at £319 / $329 for the 32GB version and £409 / $444 for the 128GB model. In terms of colours, the usual silver and space grey remain, however the gold version has had a tonal change which is now more similar to the iPhone 8 colour.
The new iPads are shipping today.