During Apple's education event at Lane Technical College Prep High School in Chicago on Tuesday, the company made a bold re-entry into the education market - showcasing a new iPad that supports Apple Pencil and a number of ARKit-enabled apps.
Over the last several years, education PC makers have become highly competitive. The industry is currently led by Microsoft's Windows 10 and Google's Chrome OS platforms, both of which have recently launched new education software experiences and upgraded school-oriented hardware.
However, on Tuesday, Apple jumped back into the education industry, presenting an updated version of its popular iPad with support for Apple Pencil that will result in even greater performance, starting at $329 ($299 for schools). The new 9.7-inch iPad and Apple Pencil will give users the ability to be even more creative and productive, from sketching ideas to marking up screenshots.
The iPad features a large Retina display, the A10 Fusion chip and advanced sensors that help deliver immersive augmented reality, as well as having all-day battery life.
The new iPad supports Apple Pencil and features even greater performance.
“iPad is our vision for the future of computing and hundreds of millions of people around the world use it every day at work, in school and for play. This new 9.7-inch iPad takes everything people love about our most popular iPad and makes it even better for inspiring creativity and learning,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Product Marketing in a press release.
Apple's ARKit apps become reality
Back in June of 2017, Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has always been keenly interested in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), dedicated a large portion of the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) to Apple's ambitious new plans to bring VR to your Mac, and AR to your iPad and iPhone.
Based on Apple's guidelines, here are the iOS devices that will be able to run ARKit apps:
- iPhone 6s ($499.99 at Amazon.com) and 6s Plus
- iPhone 7 ($769.99 at Amazon.com) and 7 Plus
- iPhone SE ($198.25 at Amazon Marketplace)
- iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
- iPhone XiPad Pro (the 10.5-inch model, 12.9-inch model, and the older 9.7-inch model)
- iPad (2017)
Apple's iOS 11
Apple recently released iOS 11, and now everyone in the industry is talking about ARKit, Apple’s SDK that lets developers build augmented reality apps. According to Yalantis, ARKit "puts 3D images into the real world using what’s called visual inertial odometry. Visual odometry estimates the position of a moving camera in three dimensions relative to its starting position."
Once ARKit was released, independent software developers created some incredible-looking experiences for the iPhone – everything from virtual portals to virtual zombies in your living room. On Tuesday, Apple showcased some of the most popular and interesting ARKit apps.
Apple ARKit apps showcased
The ARKit app for Froggipedia, which should launch on March 30 for $3.99 on the App Store is promising. For those of us who had to dissect a real frog in Biology class, welcome to the virtual world. Now, students can use the Apple Pencil stylus to peel the skin off a virtual frog. It's a less traumatic experience for the squeamish and should presumably save frogs.
iPad is designed for powerful AR apps with its large Retina display, powerful chip, enhanced cameras and advanced sensors.
The GeoGebra app has a new update that brings AR support to math classes. Teachers can select a math curriculum from early years to advanced mathematics. Future versions of GeoGebra will support STEM curriculum.
The Free Rivers app from the World Wildlife Federation, available on iTunes, puts an entire landscape in your hands. Through this immersive, augmented reality experience, you can find out what happens when a river is dammed or just learn about various ecosystems around the world.
With Microsoft, Google and now Apple aggressively competing for classroom dominance, all three major ecosystems may have some interesting hardware options and dedicated learning experiences available, all helping to digitally transform the education sector.