Cheaper 2018 iPad is a steal for consumers

Apple’s new iPad may be aimed at schools but it’s also a great deal for consumers.

Though Apple is touting the new iPad for the education sector, some analysts are skeptical about its prospects, even with the education discount.

While Apple once dominated the education market, analysts aren’t buying the pitch in 2018. “We find it difficult to imagine Apple displacing Chromebooks when prices start as low as $170,” said Jeffrey Kvaal, an analyst at Instinet, in a note to investors, referring to laptops that run Google's Chrome software.

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“Chromebooks still offer a very competitive price,” Jitesh Ubrani, an analyst at market researcher IDC, told Fox News. 

But consumers should take a closer look at the 2018 iPad

The new 9.7-inch iPad starts at $329 ($299 with an education discount). Importantly, the silicon on the new iPad has been upgraded to Apple’s latest A10 chip. That speed bump is something consumers will notice since new processors make apps snappier, run games better, and enable new features like augmented reality, which is supported on the new iPad.

The new iPad also gets support for the Apple Pencil, though that’s probably not a huge deal for consumers because it’s an extra $99. “Having support for the Pencil is great, but I’m not sure that will help drive additional sales in the consumer segment,” Ubrani said.

Big price gap between new iPad and existing iPad Pro

But the biggest takeaway is that the new iPad is much cheaper than the iPad Pro while still offering plenty for the average consumer. The iPad Pro is almost twice as much, priced at $649. 

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The high-priced Pro offers some extra goodies but they’re aimed at the tech conscious, not the average user. The Pro, for example, offers things like a slightly bigger 10.5-inch display, better cameras, and a smart connector for a keyboard – though you can still get Bluetooth keyboards for the cheaper iPad.

The low-cost iPad still gets you a high-resolution Retina display, 32GB of storage (which is plenty if you store photos and video in iCloud), and 10 hours of battery life. You can get 128GB of storage for $429. That’s a good deal too. A few years back, that much iPad storage cost hundreds of dollars more.

Throw in that speedy new Apple chip that comes with it and the new iPad is a solid buy for consumers.