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Apple hopes to regain ground in U.S. classrooms

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9.7-inch iPad gets Apple Pencil support

Apple unveiled a new, cheaper iPad model as low as $299 aimed at students from elementary school to college.

One of the most noteworthy features of Apple's new education-focused 9.7-inch iPad is its support for the Apple Pencil.

Together with keen teachers, these apps have the potential to change the way students learn, and even what they carry to school.

If you need an iPad for basic tasks, then the previous-generation model is more than enough to get things done. Apple has not announced if it will donate any iPads and Apple Pencils to any of Chicago's schools.

Apple is also pushing the versatility of the new iPad, which is why it's included a front and rear camera. The new 9.7 inch iPad weighs 1 lbs.

Advanced sensors measure both pressure and tilt, and provide pixel-perfect accuracy and low latency for activities in apps like Notability, Pages, Numbers, Keynote and Microsoft Office.

The new iPad features a stronger A10 Fusion processor that matches of the CPU power of its iPhone 7. Apple authorized reseller B&H is also accepting pre-orders for the 2018 iPad line with no tax collected in most states.

Attendees at the event were treated to live demos of the new software, including a chance to try its Swift Playground (Apple's coding app for kids) which is getting a new augmented reality module.

Its newly announced Classbook app will let teachers assign students specific tasks within an app - no more faded, photocopied worksheets crammed into backpacks.

But it faces a tough battle in the educational market given the popularity of Google and Microsoft's cloud-based productivity suites, said Carolina Milanesi of Creative Strategies. On March 16, it blasted out notices inviting people to "take a field trip" with Apple and "hear creative new ideas for teachers and students".

There's further good news for schools as Apple has increased free iCloud storage from 5GB to 200GB - sadly though general consumer accounts will not get the same bump. "We're excited to see Apple's new classroom offering and how schools in our area will adopt them", he said. "So we made a video and I'd love to run it for you now".

Chicago: Taking on Google, Apple on Tuesday unveiled a new 9.7-inch iPad that will be available for schools in the U.S. for just $299 ($329 for consumers).

And that's the real key with Apple's big education push - it's not really about the hardware, but the software.

Chicago Public Schools is the third-largest school system in the country and one that, as Cook said during the event, is progressive, diverse and shares Apple's "strong belief that technology has a role to play in the classroom".

"We've been at this for 40 years and we care deeply about education", chief executive Tim Cook said. That positive experience, he said, created many lifetime Apple customers.

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