New 9.7-Inch iPad Hands-On: ‘Very Familiar’ Update Benefits From Apple Pencil Support and A10 Fusion Chip

Following the announcement and launch of Apple's new 9.7-inch iPad, a few websites have gotten hands-on time with the tablet and shared their thoughts online this afternoon. The initial consensus appears to be that while the iPad isn't very surprising in terms of form factor and features, it's a solid entry-level model that benefits from added Apple Pencil support.

Engadget said the new iPad is "as fluid and fast as the iPad Pro," which it described as an "impressive feat." The site said the iPad has a great screen, although it isn't as sharp as the iPad Pro's display. Engadget also pointed out the air gap between the display and cover glass on the new tablet, and its lack of the higher-end iPad Pro's True Tone color correction feature and 120Hz ProMotion refresh rate.

Image via Engadget
Following today's education-focused presentation in Chicago, we got a chance to pick up the new tablet for ourselves and, well, it's just about the same as last year's model. That's not a bad thing -- it still feels as solid and well-built as ever. The biggest change is Apple Pencil support, and after a brief test it feels almost as fluid and fast as the iPad Pro, which is an impressive feat.
The Verge began its hands-on coverage by stating the new iPad is "very familiar," with all of the expected screen size, bezels, Touch ID sensor, button placement, and cameras users have come to expect from Apple's tablet line. The Verge said the display was "vibrant and responsive," and the site got to mess around with an AR demo, which was "as good as any AR demo" it has seen.

Image via The Verge

The Verge also pointed out that Apple's demo area was not really "focused on the hardware," but instead software demos that showed real-world use in the classroom, with Tim Cook walking around and discussing the new announcement with reporters.
We just spent some time with Apple’s new $329 iPad, announced here in Chicago at its education event. It’s... an iPad. Holding and using an iPad, it feels very much like an iPad! The air gap on the screen is the same as before — large by iPad Pro standards, but only iPad Pro people will really turn their nose up at it. Same goes for the screen overall, which doesn’t have all the True Tone magic of the Pro, but is nevertheless vibrant and responsive.

I checked out a quick demo of an AR classroom app and was as good as any AR demo I’ve seen. Not knock-your-socks-off good, but it didn’t lag and the baby elephant stayed put right on the table where it was placed. Obviously we’ll need to spend more time to say for sure, but the A10 Fusion processor certainly seems up to most tasks.
Besides the new iPad, Apple today announced that its Classroom app will be coming to Mac this June, revealed a new "Schoolwork" app, showed off iWork updates for iOS, and more. New accessories and devices have also emerged on Apple.com following the Field Trip keynote, including standalone Space Gray color options for the Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2.

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Apple Announces Free ‘Everyone Can Create’ Curriculum for Teachers

Apple announced Everyone Can Create, a new free curriculum for teachers, during its "Let's Take a Field Trip" event at Chicago's Lane Technical High School today.

Everyone Can Create makes it fun and easy for teachers to integrate drawing, music, filmmaking or photography into their existing lesson plans for any subject. The new curriculum joins Apple’s successful Everyone Can Code initiative as one-of-a-kind programs for teachers that keep students excited and engaged.
Apple says the new curriculum is designed to take advantage of the new 9.7-inch iPad with Apple Pencil support, which was also unveiled on Tuesday, costing $299 for schools. The curriculum includes a range of free learning resources and teaching guides to help teachers include drawing, music, filmmaking or photography into lessons, topics, and assignments.

It also features teacher and student guides, lessons, ideas and examples to aid teachers in bringing more creativity and new communication skills into existing subjects like English, math, science and history, according to Apple. For instance, students can use the iPad's built-in camera to learn about fractals, or use Apple Pencil and apps like Tayasui Sketches to learn about symmetry.

The curriculum feeds into Apple's other software announcements at Tuesday's event, including the new Schoolwork app that helps teachers create assignments and keep on top of student progress, and a new teaching assistant Mac application called Classroom, which helps teachers manage student iPads while guiding students through lessons.

Apple will begin teaching the Everyone Can Create curriculum as part of its regular Today at Apple sessions for educators.


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Apple and Logitech Announce $99 Rugged Combo iPad Keyboard Case and $49 Crayon Stylus

Apple and Logitech today announced Crayon, a more affordable stylus for the iPad, at its education-themed event in Chicago. The device will cost $49, roughly half the price of the Apple Pencil.


As well as the Logitech Crayon, Apple revealed that Logitech are offering a new rugged iPad case with integrated keyboard. Apple hasn't yet offered any pricing details for the case, and a release date is currently unavailable.

More details to follow.


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Apple Announces ‘Classroom’ Coming to Mac, Reveals New ‘Schoolwork’ App for Educators

Apple during its education-focused event in Chicago today announced that its existing iOS "Classroom" app will be making the move to Mac, beginning with a beta this June.


At the same time, the company revealed a new "cloud-based" app called Schoolwork that lets teachers assign handouts and track progress of their students. Educators will be able to make handouts that include PDFs, links, and other documents, as well as check in on the progress of every student for a specific assignment.

Apps will be able to integrate with Schoolwork using Apple's ClassKit API, and Schoolwork will be available for teachers in June.

There will also be a new "Apple Teacher" professional learning program available online, aimed at helping teachers build skills, chart their progress, and get inspired to launch new lesson plans. The program will allow teachers to earn badges shaped like gold stars, encouraging them to continue using the program and evolve their classroom.


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Apple Updating iWork for iOS: Pages, Numbers and Keynote Get Book Creation and Apple Pencil Support on 9.7-Inch iPad

Apple today announced it is working on a new version of its iWork productivity suite for iOS during its "Let's Take a Field Trip" event at Chicago's Lane Technical High School, where it also introduced a refreshed low-cost 9.7-inch iPad with Apple Pencil support.


Integrated Apple Pencil support in the new upcoming versions of Pages and Keynote will enable users to add drawings directly to reports and take advantage of smart annotation features, while students in particular will benefit from using the input device in Numbers to add to their "lab reports", said Apple.

Teachers on the other hand will be able to mark up students' Pages reports directly using an iPad and Apple Pencil, thanks to the suite's enhanced markup functions. When users annotate, for example, the markup anchors to the word or image. So as edits are made, the pencil annotations move.
"iWork is a powerful suite of apps designed for iPhone, iPad and Mac that is used in classrooms around the world," said Susan Prescott, Apple's vice president of Apps Product Marketing. "With Apple Pencil support on iPad, the new Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps now let students bring a whole new level of creativity to their documents, spreadsheets and presentations, while the innovative new Smart Annotation feature gives students the ability to give, receive and incorporate feedback easier than ever before. Students can also use the built-in, real-time collaboration tools available in iWork to explore and learn together."
Apple also announced that it is building digital book creation into the new version of Pages, which will come pre-installed on the new $329 9.7-inch iPad. Books generated within Pages can include photos, videos, Apple Pencil illustrations, and more.

Pages, Numbers, and Keynote on iOS and Mac are free and come preloaded onto most devices, including the new 9.7-inch iPad. Today's updates will be available to download "soon" on the App Store and Mac App Store.


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Apple Reveals New 9.7-Inch iPad With Apple Pencil Support, $299 for Schools and $329 for Consumers

Apple today announced an all-new 9.7-inch iPad, describing the tablet as its "most affordable iPad" yet and confirming it will work with the Apple Pencil. Apple said that the device was designed for powerful AR apps.

The tablet has a 9.7-inch Retina display that features a higher-resolution touch sensor to enable support for Apple Pencil, previously only compatible with iPad Pro. Apple Pencil provides a "fluid and natural" drawing experience with sensors that measure pressure and tilt so that users can take notes or illustrate in various apps.


The new iPad has an A10 Fusion chip with 64-bit desktop-class architecture, providing 40 percent faster CPU and 50 percent faster graphics performance when compared to the previous generation 9.7-inch iPad. Apple said that both front and rear cameras provide HD video recording for everything from document scanning to FaceTime calls.

One of the main applications aimed at the new iPad is augmented reality, fueled by the device's Retina display, powerful chip, enhanced cameras, and advanced sensors with a gyroscope and accelerometer. The tablet was built for mobility and durability for students, sporting an aluminum unibody construction.


The 32GB iPad with Wi-Fi is priced at $329 in the U.S. and $459 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model, and Apple Pencil can be purchased separately for $99. Schools will be able to buy iPad for $299 and Apple Pencil for $89. The new iPad is available to order beginning today and will arrive in stores later this week in more than 25 countries, listed below:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the US. India, Russia, Thailand, and Turkey. More countries and regions will follow in April, with South Korea and others coming in May.

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Live Coverage of Apple’s Education Event in Chicago

Apple's "Let's Take a Field Trip" event in Chicago begins at 10:00 a.m. Central Time (8:00 a.m Pacific), where the company is widely expected to unveil a lower-cost iPad, new education-focused initiatives, and perhaps make some other announcements.

Photo via Tim Cook

Apple is not providing a live video stream of today's event, but will post the video on its website and the Apple Events app on Apple TV following the event. We will be updating this article with live blog coverage—no need to refresh—and issuing Twitter updates through our @MacRumorsLive account as the keynote unfolds.

Highlights from the event and separate news stories regarding today's announcements will go out through our @MacRumors account.

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Apple's online store is currently down in advance of the event. It should be accessible again shortly after the event ends.

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