Later this week, Apple will be holding an education event at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago. Although education was a core market for Apple, the efforts made by Google and Microsoft over recent years have eroded Apple's pull in that market. But it seems Apple is planning to relaunch their campaign. What will they deliver?
The iPad looked like a great device for schools when it was first released almost eight years ago but it's been overtaken by lower-cost Google-driven devices and flexible Windows 10 convertibles like the Surface Pro. And while Apple boosted the iPad through the iPad Pro line, they are very expensive and limit a lot of what people want to do with their devices.
My tip is an all new, lower cost iPad, with support for an Apple Pencil will be announced. That device will, I think, have the current iPad's 9.7-inch display but add the ability to either use the existing $145 Apple Pencil or a new, lower cost Pencil. And I also think a new keyboard option might be in the offing.
Some folks might remember the older Apple iBook G3 or it's predecessor the eMate, that had the cute outer case with a handle. I wonder if there will be a retro-looking option that offers a protective case, integrated keyboard and a place to hold the Pencil. That would be a very neat accessory.
Alongside all that, Apple is expected to announce software updates for the iBooks app, more partnerships with textbook companies, better creation tools for teachers and an update to iTunes U which allows teachers to publish curricula, class materials and other useful things for students.
That is backed by the discovery of a new set of software tools called ClassKit, that were buried in the beta for iOS 11.3.
I also expect a new notebook computer to be announced. The MacBook Air is getting very long in the tooth. While the MacBook is a great student machine, it's very expensive compared to similar Windows systems and way dearer than most Chromebooks. I expect that either the MacBook Air will see a massive update, or it will be dumped and replaced by a new, low-cost MacBook.
In any case, by Thursday, we'll see plenty of changes to the Apple website.