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In the Zone

The tablet goes back to school

Ed Hannan's picture

by Ed Hannan on 03/28/2018
Blog Category: Devices

Both Apple and Acer this week unveiled new tablets for the education market. For solution providers serving the education market, this is big news.

The market for detachable tablets has slowed. In part, that’s due to the growth of smartphones in both numbers and function. That is, more people are using smartphones. And the phones themselves have gotten larger and more powerful.

Yet the K-12 market remains strong. For one, schools aren’t supplying their classrooms with smartphones, at least not yet. For another, there’s a never-ending supply of new students coming through classrooms.

All that adds up quickly. Sales of detachable tablets hit 6.5 million units in last year’s fourth quarter, an increase of 10% over the previous holiday season, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.

Apple’s new iPad

The tech world was abuzz on Tuesday with news that Apple had updated its iPad with a 9.7-inch version. The new tablet, which supports both Apple Pencil and what Apple calls “greater performance,” has a retail price of $329 for the Wi-Fi version, and $459 for the Wi-Fi plus cellular model. The Pencil retails for $99. Shipments begin now.

Apple 9.7-in. iPad and Apple Pencil

Apple’s new 9.7-in. iPad tablet: aimed at K-12 classrooms?

Apple says the new 9.7-inch iPad, together with Apple Pencil, lets users “be even more creative and productive.” They can use the combo to sketch ideas, jot handwritten notes, and mark up screenshots.

Although you wouldn’t know it from the Apple press release announcing the new iPad, the new device is an education play. In large part that’s due to the Apple Pencil. It lets users take notes and illustrations in apps such as Notability, Pages, Numbers, Keynote and Microsoft Office. All good for students.

Apple for the teacher

Check out the fine print, and you’ll see that Apple indeed is offering schools a discount. The new iPad is being offered to schools for $299 (a discount of $30), and the Pencil for $89 (a $10 discount).

Apple also unveiled its Everyone Can Create program. This free curriculum aims to help teachers integrate drawing, music, filmmaking and photography into their lesson plans. For example, Apple says, students could use the iPad’s built-in camera to study fractals.

Also new from Apple is Schoolwork, an app that helps teachers create assignments, see student programs and more. It builds off Apple’s Classroom app, which schools use to integrate iPad into the classroom.

Oh, and buried deep in the announcement of the education tools is the news that starting immediately, any teacher or student with a Managed Apple ID can access 200GB of free iCloud storage.

Acer’s K-12 Chrome tablet

Acer is much more direct in discussing the education aspects of its new tablet, which it unveiled on Monday.

The new tablet, called the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, is the first known tablet to run Google’s Chrome OS, which until now has powered only low-cost Chromebook workstations. Acer says the Tab 10 is for K-12 classrooms. The device, it adds, was built to “promote engagement and collaboration between students and teachers.”

The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 has a starting retail price of $329, the same as Apple’s new Wi-Fi-only iPad.

The new Acer device weighs 550 grams (1.2 lb.) and includes a 9.7-inch touch display. Also on board: 2MP HD webcam, two speakers and mic, USB-C port, 4GB of memory and 32GB of storage. North American shipments are set to start in April, EMEA in May. 

If you serve the K-12 education market, check out the new Apple and Acer devices. They’re high-quality options in this cost-conscious yet steady-growing market.

 

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