When Apple launched its first tablet, one of the things that made it different from the dozens of Windows tablets that came before was that you didn’t need to use a stylus. Early iPads were basically iPhones with big screens and they were designed to run apps that you could use with your fingers.

In fact, Apple founder Steve Jobs once famously said that “if you see a stylus, they blew it.” I don’t exactly think he was rolling in his grave five years later when Apple launched the iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil… after all, it was a “pro” device aimed at folks who wanted extra functionality. You still don’t need a stylus to use an iPad Pro, it’s just an optional feature for folks who want it.

But it looks like the Apple Pencil isn’t just a Pro feature anymore. The company just unveiled its first new iPad of 2018, and it’s an entry-level 9.7 inch model aimed at the education market. And it’s the cheapest Apple product to feature Pencil support to date.

The new Apple iPad has a 2048 x 1536 pixel display and an Apple A10 Fusion processor, which is a step up from the A9 chip that powered last year’s entry-level iPad… although it’s still a generation behind the Apple A11 Bionic chip found in the company’s latest iPhones.

Apple’s new tablet has an 8MP rear camera with 1080p video recording support, a Facetime HD camera on the front, a Touch ID fingerprint sensor in the home button, and support for up to 10 hours of battery life.

There’s optional support for 4G LTE with speeds up to 300 Mbps.

Apple unveiled the new tablet at an education-focused event today in Chicago, where the company noted that there are more than 200-thousand educational apps available for iPads.

The new 2018 iPad will have the same $329 starting price as last year’s model for consumers… but education customers can buy the iPads for $299 and up.

The Apple Pencil is still sold separately for $99 (or $89 for students), which drives up the starting price… especially when you compare the new iPad to Acer’s new $329 Chromebook Tab 10 which runs Android apps, has a full desktop version of the Chrome web browser, and comes with a pen.

Update: Well, there is a cheaper option. Logitech and Apple have unveiled a new $49 Crayon accessory.

via Engadget

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15 replies on “Apple unveils new 9.7 inch iPad with Pencil support”

  1. I for one am intrigued. This might make a good tablet for use at work to take notes, document markup pdfs, etc. I like the Acer Chromebook tab, but we are not allowed to use Chrome BYOD devices on my office network.

    I am reserving final judgement on the new iPad until after I play with one.

  2. Apple’s blatant lack of courage strikes again – what’s sad is how they completely wasted the headstart they had in this segment just a few years ago.

  3. My son is able to connect his chromebook to my monitor/keyboard/mouse dock at home. He works with that device just like I do with my work laptop. His doctor also uses a notebook to take notes when he has his checkup. The only tablets that I see in the workplace are in restaurants for taking orders and paying checks.
    Typing is a skill that pays.

  4. I noticed they aren’t pushing a keyboard with this which is a missed opportunity to have a cheqper iPad pro like device. I can see a iPad pro with keyboard for under $500 but not the $800+ it costs for the pro models with keyboard. I’m not even an apple fan, just an insght.

    The Chromebook tablet is the better of the deals here imo especially when the keyboard/trackpad accessory rolls out to make it a sweet surface alternative for people who don’t need Windows but want a more desktop experience over iOS.

    1. iPad keyboard cases are no big thing. Amazon has them starting for $36. I even had on for my iPad 2, back when it was new.

  5. I guess I’m out of step with other folks, but I think that $329 for the new basic iPad is great irrespective of the outrageous $99 stylist. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to buy into Apple infrastructure. It is quite powerful, too.

    Having said that, I’d never buy another iPad. For me, my Samsung Tab E does everything I need. It even has a real file system and a memory expansion slot, which the iPad lacks, for about half the price of this “cheap” iPad. Amazon’s Fire HD 10 is another lower cost alternative.

    As for the stylus, you can buy a basic one for only $10-$15. These are fine if all you want to do is check boxes, draw lines or write words on your table. I used a couple of these on my ancient iPad 2. The iPencil is much more and far beyond what I want or need. I don’t even use the stylus that came free with my Surface Pro 3.

      1. But you get a faster CPU and iPencil support. For Apple, those are real improvements for the same price.

    1. From the perspective of the education sector, which they seem to be targeting with today’s event, and which I happen to be a part of, this isn’t that enticing, and isn’t going to be the Chromebook-killer until they vastly improve device management.

      But it sounds like you’re speaking from a consumer perspective. Trying really hard to put aside the many issues I have with Apple as an ecosystem, Apple as a technology leader, and Apple as a company, I don’t think $329 is that great, and I think you make good arguments for why.

      Buying into the Apple infrastructure is still $329 when all the great alternatives you mention are comparatively inexpensive even with the extra features. Even if you think it is a great price, you’re still not convinced it’s worth it to buy in. What are the benefits you get paying double for buying into Apple over Samsung or Amazon? In my experience, a more locked-down device with more expensive apps.

      Having owned two computers with styluses and countless Palm devices, I like having the extra tool, but $99 is too much.

    1. Okay, that’s crazy. Ruins the stylus experience. Greedy greedy.

      Who wouldn’t get the Acer Chromebook tab over this?

  6. G stands for Greed. That’s it! Stylus for a mere $99 it’s space-level greedy, because most of the technology price already lies in the device, not in the stylus.

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