Apple is hosting an education-focussed event in Chicago on Tuesday, where it is expected to launch a full-sized iPad aimed at students. This iPad is expected to be a low-cost model, even cheaper than the 2017 model that started at $329 (market price of roughly Rs. 24,000 in India). It is expected the new 9.7-inch iPad model has been developed in order to compete with affordable Windows laptops and Google Chromebooks, which have gained traction in the education sector in the US. And one of the USPs of the new model, apart the low price tag of course, might be support for the Apple Pencil stylus.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a reliable track record when it comes to Apple leaks, has said in a research note that the new 9.7-inch iPad model will likely support the Pencil. The research note, which MacRumours has accessed, mentions the Apple Pencil support will help the company distinguish the new model from low-cost Android tablets.
He also says the 9.7-inch model will account for 70 percent of all iPads shipped in 2018. Last year, the $329 iPad helped the company beat market expectations by a wide large as it sold 43.8 million units against an estimate of 35 million units due to its pricing and large display, he added. The model is said to go in mass production in the second quarter of 2018.
According to the rumour mill, Apple will price the 2018 iPad model with 9.7-inch display at $259 (roughly Rs. 17,000). While the price is certainly competitive, buyers may have to shell out another $99 (roughly Rs. 6,500) for the Apple Pencil; it is not yet known whether the company also plans to launch a cheaper version of its stylus as well. The MacRumours report also raises the possibility of a keyboard to go with the new iPad, which would be an added cost.
The Apple media invite clearly shows the company’s logo made using the Pencil, which can be seen as a hint towards the big change coming to iPads. It will be the first non-Pro model getting Pencil support so far. If it turns out to be true, the new model may give a significant rise to the sale of the Apple-made stylus, as students may find it handy to use in classrooms.
Kuo also mentions Apple may add Pencil support for iPhones in coming years, and the chances of this “may increase with future iPhone screen size being enlarged.” However, this feature would not be included in the 2018 iPhone models. As for the iPad Pro, he says Apple will launch new Pro models with TrueDepth camera system around Q3 2018, which aligns with a September or October launch.