Apple has unveiled a new 9.7-inch iPad with Apple Pencil support at its education event. Prior to today, Apple Pencil support has been limited to Pro models of the iPad.
Apple previously offered a 9.7-inch version of the original iPad Pro which worked with Apple Pencil, but it was replaced a year and a half later with the 10.5-inch model.
The new education-focused model brings support without the Pro label (and price).
Apple is also releasing new versions of its iWork suite with new Pencil features including a smart annotation feature in beta, and Pages will now support iBooks creation.
A few numbers shared during the keynote:
200,000 education apps made for iPad
1 million for iPad total
9.7-inch screen size most popular
Spec wise, the new model upgrades the A9 chip to the newer A10 Fusion chip while still offering both Wi-Fi and LTE models. A10 Fusion is the chip used by iPhone 7 series phones — the current iPad Pros use an A10X chip with beefier graphics but similar performance speed-wise.
Price wise, the new iPads will go for $329 for consumers and $299 for schools. New models will be available to order from today and ship starting this week.
Specs are very similar to the original 9.7-inch iPad Pro — minus Smart Connector and True Tone display — with the chip actually being faster.
That makes the $329 price quite interesting with the hardware being so similar to the $599 model that ships not so long ago.