Apple unveils new iPad, new software in attempt to recapture education market

At an event in Chicago Tuesday, Apple showed off a new iPad and software aimed at the education market as it attempts to reengage students and educators.

Apple's vice president of iOS, iPad and iPhone product marketing, Greg Joswiak, announced the new 9.-7-inch iPad. It supports Apple Pencil, comes with Touch ID, A10 Fusion chip and 10 hours of battery life. It costs $329 for consumers and $299 for schools. “Our most affordable iPad has support for our most creative tool," he said during the announcement.

He also announced new versions of Apple's iWork suite of productivity apps, including Pages, Numbers and Keynote, all of which now support Apple Pencil, Apple's stylus. A new version of "digital book creation" was announced for the iPad, which has over 200,000 apps dedicated just for education use. 

APPLE IS TRYING TO MAKE ITS OWN DISPLAYS, REPORT SAYS

New versions of the GarageBand and Clips app were also introduced.

The new iPad is available today and starts shipping this week.

Apple, which usually holds its product events in California, showcased the new products at Chicago's Lane Tech College Prep High School.

The company also said it was bumping up free iCloud storage for students to 200GB worth of storage, up from 5GB. For consumers, iCloud storage remains at 5GB.

Apple also introduced a third-party stylus and keyboard for the iPad, with Logitech showing off the $49 Crayon, which works with the iPad.

The tech giant showed off a new cloud-based app, Schoolwork, which lets teachers assign handouts and track students' progress. It also works with other educational apps and is available starting in June. Apple's Susan Prescott noted that Classroom, which lets teachers control students' devices remotely, would be available on the Mac, starting in June.

Prior to the product unveiling, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company was "deeply inspired by the courage of students using their voices to bring about change in America," a reference to the recent March For Our Lives event that took place over the weekend.

Near the end of the presentation, Cook summed up the announcements, citing Apple's expertise as a key advantage over the competition. 

“We’ve been at this for 40 years, and we care deeply about education," Cook said. "We believe that our place at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts makes it possible for us to create powerful products and tools that amplify ... creativity. This is something that only Apple can do.”

TODDLER LOCKS MOM OUT OF HER IPHONE FOR 47 YEARS

Turning the tables

According to a report in The Washington Post, Apple has ceded significant ground to competitors such as Google and Microsoft in the education market. Apple's iOS operating system accounts for just 12 percent of school technology, behind Microsoft at 22 percent and Google at a staggering 60 percent, aided in large part by its cheaper Chromebook laptops.

The tablet market, where Apple still retains dominance, could be one area to even out the playing field in the education sector and potentially set the stage for future growth, according to experts.

"[W]hile the tech revenue generated by the education segment remains small, at less than 10 [percent] of the market, the products used in schools are important as they set a precedent for future use," Deutsche Bank analyst Sherri Scribner wrote in a research note ahead of the event. 

While research firm IDC found that the overall tablet market fell 6.5 percent in 2017 to 163.5 million units, Apple managed to buck the trend and grow its shipments to 43.8 million, giving it 27 percent of the market.

The research firm credited Apple with maintaining its "solid lead" in the market due to its lower-priced 9.7-inch iPad and its newly refreshed iPad Pro tablets.

"While the lower-price iPad has continued to drive a strong consumer upgrade cycle, the shifting focus is to iPad Pro and its potential in the commercial and education segments," IDC wrote in the February press release.

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia