Apple announced a new “low-cost” iPad at an education event at the end of March. The device became available this weekend and I received a couple of the new iPad to test the device, the improvements and the advances.
The new iPad is 9.7” (same screen size as the standard iPad — Air, Air 2 and Gen 5) and similar weight. One substantial difference is the Gen 6 (2018) iPad is compatible with the Apple Pencil and will work with the iPad (2018 and iPad Pro models). The HUGE difference with the iPad 2018 is that the device costs $299 (about 50% the cost of a 10.5” Pro), has a slightly smaller screen, lower resolution cameras and display and does not support True Tone color and does not have the higher refresh rate on the Pro (Gen 2).
In using the iPad 2018 for a few hours today I found it good — not great. Snappy with the newer processor and responsive, but when it comes to the Apple Pencil, it clearly did not feel like a Pro. The Pencil works well BUT I did feel that the writing, display and the responsiveness were sluggish compared to the Pro.
Over the next week I am going to get the device to some users that have not used the iPad Pro yet and see if they find the iPad 2018 with Pencil to be a viable solution. Review and feedback has started coming in from other websites (The Verge) to round-out the initial information.
I believe the 2018 iPad is a solid device for education and a nice progression from the 2017 version — clearly helpful for the education market with a lower price point and ability to use the Pencil (though cannot imagine one Pencil/ iPad) if these devices are in line for students in 2018–19 school year. NOTE: In reading this morning — following a few tear-downs, the iPad 2018 is NOT getting high marks for the repairability of the device (iFixit) giving it a 2 our of 10.