Apple opens education-focused event in Chicago

At today's Apple event, the iPad strikes back

At its first major event of 2018, held on Tuesday at a Chicago high school, the tech giant unveiled a new, hotly-anticipated version of its 9.7-inch iPad, describing it as its "most affordable" model ever. Students also get a $10 discount on the Pencil. With the new relatively low-priced education iPad, the company hopes more people will start using the low-latency (20 milliseconds) Apple Pencil.

All of this is created to make Apple more competitive in the educational space, where Google has enjoyed a comfortable lead thanks to its cheap and easy-to-manage Chromebooks. Market research firm Futuresource, which tracks shipments of computing devices to K-12 schools and districts, shows Apple's share of mobile computing devices (that is, pretty much everything except desktops) in the USA peaked in 2012, at more than 50 percent.

So, if you want to know what's coming next from Apple, has made the trip to Chicago and here's all the news live as it happens.

The new iPad for schools comes with 200GB of free iCloud storage - up from 5GB. This was also the very first Apple keynote that hasn't been livestreamed since January 2012.

The device weighs only a pound and is equipped with an A10 Fusion chip, which Apple claims is faster than "virtually every Chromebook". If Apple can put more iPads in classrooms, it'll boost its tablet sales, and help the company grab a piece of the multi-billion dollar education tech market. A cheaper model that integrates Apple's hardware with new services could help revive the tablet market.

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The largest change is support for the Apple Pencil. At $299, Apple calls it a "love letter to education".

The tablet will have a starting price in Canada of $399 for students and $429 for consumers.

"We believe today's announcements will have a small impact on their education business, but an immaterial impact on their overall business", Munster wrote about Apple in a blog post today. The iPads will come new stylus-friendly versions of Apple's Pages and Numbers productivity apps, as well as the ability for multiple students to share the same device.

Chromebooks are popular due to their affordability, reliability, simplicity, quick boot-up and "because students seem to like the keyboard", said Alison Bullock, digital literacy support teacher with the Waterloo Region District School Board.

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