Apple held an education focused event in Chicago today at Lane Technical High School. CEO Tim Cook took the stage and began his announcements with a nod to the student marches that occurred this week in support of gun control.
Cook praised Lane Tech High for having more PHDs coming out of it than any school in the country and highlighted its programming and robotics efforts.
Cook says that Apple has had an education focus for 40 years, from the early days of the company. “We believe that technology could help deliver a truly unique and personalized experience to students and teachers.”
Cook highlighted Apple’s efforts to increase coding efforts and opportunities to vocational schools and high schools including the City Colleges of Chicago with Swift and Swift playgrounds.
Cathleen Richardson ConnectED Program Development Executive at Apple works with classes and teachers to put Apple devices into classrooms. She took the stage to give some examples.
The program is clearly focused on Apple positioning itself as a global supplier of educational instruments and processes to classrooms. Programs in China and London were highlighted.
This event should be viewed in the context that according to FutureSource, new machines running Google software accounted for about 60 percent of what U.S. classrooms received. Apple’s iOS held 12.3 percent and its MacOS had 4.7 percent.
Apple’s Greg Joswiak took the stage to talk about iPad. Joz hasn’t been out on the platform for a hardware launch in a while. He continues the thread of talking about iPad in classrooms allowing students to use them for robotics, music and other kinds of projects. Joz quotes 200,000 ‘apps for education’ on the App Store.
Cassie Williams from Woodberry Down Primary School in London comes on the stage to talk about iPad being implemented in the classrooms that she teaches in.
Up to this point we’ve gotten a lot of Apple talking points about iPad and Apple in schools, basically.
Now, we get a new 9.7″ iPad focused on the education market that can use Apple Pencil just like iPad Pro. Apple also introduced a new version of Pages, Numbers and Keynote that support Apple Pencil drawings and editing. Apple also previewed a feature called Smart Annotation that can mark up a student’s paper right in the Pages app. This feature is still in beta.
Digital book creation also comes to iPad with this new version of iWork.
Apple’s new iPad 9.7″ uses the A10 fusion chip appears in the new iPad. Joz also specifically mentioned that this was more powerful than many Chromebooks. The fact that he chose to mention Chromebooks specifically is surprising, but not shocking given the above context. This is the war that Apple is waging in the classroom.
The iPad is AR capable, and he highlighted some apps that allow students to view museum pieces and artwork. Another app lets students modify interactive landscapes and view them in augmented reality.
The new iPad is the same $329 for consumers and $299 for schools. For sale this week and new iWork apps available this week.
Starting today, student Apple IDs come with 200GB of iCloud storage, up from 5GB. Some new accessories come for the iPad too like Logitech Crayon, a $49 Pencil alternative for schools.
Now we’re on to teacher-focused tool announcements. Classroom, the iPad app that lets teachers manage their students and classrooms is coming to the Mac. It’s available as beta in June.
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