Apple announced their newest iPad at an education focused event on 27th March in Chicago. The 2018 iPad, primarily aimed at the education sector, ships with a powerful new A10 processor and support for Apple Pencil. It is available for a price of $299 to schools and $329 for everyone else. For some people, it seems like a great upgrade because a popular feature from iPad Pro, Pencil support, has trickled down to a regular iPad model. But when you look at where Apple has cut corners in terms of features on the new iPad, to make it the ‘cheapest iPad’ ever, you realize that maybe the iPad Pro is worth the extra money.
The new iPad has the following features that differentiate it from last year’s iPad:
- A10 Fusion chip & M10 coprocessor
- Support for Apple Pencil
Apart from this, every other feature is still the same one as 2017 iPad. It has the same front-facing and back cameras, same amount of RAM, first generation Touch ID and so on. Infact, like its predecessor, the new iPad does not have a laminated display or anti-reflective coating. These are features which were a part of iPad Air 2, which was released in 2014.
Apple has marketed the new iPad as their cheapest one. So at this price, you only get one feature from iPad Pro which is Apple Pencil support, while other features from the Pro line-up are still missing:
- Four speakers
- Wide color gamut display
- True Tone
- ProMotion (120 Hz refresh rate)
- f1.8 camera with 4K video recording
- Smart Connector
- 4GB RAM
One would think that with time, the Pro’s feature would be cheaper for Apple to produce and would spread to the whole iPad line-up, at least to those versions still being updated. But the modern Apple puts profit before features while making decisions for every feature, in every SKU. Not only is the new iPad still too expensive for most schools, the Apple Pencil costs an extra $99. So the basic package for a school to buy an iPad for a student is $399 if they want to include the Pencil. This is without even adding price for a Bluetooth keyboard.
I’m a big iPad fan. And the new iPad education software Apple showed off today looked great. But the school discounts for the new iPad and the pencil seem way too paltry.
— Walt Mossberg (@waltmossberg) March 27, 2018
If you look at the price for regular users, the iPad’s starting price is half of an iPad Pro. This makes it seem like a good deal but it is cheap for a reason. You get less than half of the Pro’s main features which makes it half the computer too. But Apple has realized with 2017 iPad’s release that this formula works as they had sold three times more iPads than Macs. So this year’s update is bound to sell well too.