It’s been eight years since Apple released the first iPad, and at the time I was hoping it would help simplify my school routine. As one of the first to own an iPad, I made it my goal to digitalize my life. Whether it was homework or a presentation, I was determined to do it all on the iPad or MacBook. Instead of a whole bunch of folders full of paper, it would simply be the iPad. The problem was that there was a dearth of solutions at the time. Apple didn’t release iWork for the iPad until months later, and even then, it wasn’t perfectly optimized. There were practically no keyboards, and for those that did exist, you had to go through the tedious process of connecting to Bluetooth, which took a few minutes. All in all, my project went somewhat south.
Now, eight years later, Apple is making a full-throttle attempt to get into the school domain even more. With the lightweight 9.7-inch iPad and the Apple Pencil, things are already looking better than they did then. But can the new iPad deliver what Apple has promised? To find out, I put it to the test for several weeks.
So What’s New?
The new iPad has some built-in features that are otherwise only familiar to us from the iPad Pro. The result is that this tablet has turned into a real processing machine. Since the tablet was intended for school, I took a look at some of the apps for students and was once again impressed by the AR technology
With the A10 Fusion Chip (same as iPhone 8), the iPad now has the power needed to run AR apps. Without any slowing down issues or other problems, I was able to examine and dissect a frog using Froggipedia, sit in my living room and view a painting by Sir Henry Unton, and learn a few things about our world.
I’m not a great artist, but I still enjoy playing around on the iPad with the Apple Pencil. I’m excited that they adopted this function from the iPad Pro and made it available to students. I think it’s a great idea to finally be rid of the paper mess. As with the iPad Pro before it, writing and drawing with the pencil is fluid and precise.
What They Skimped On
The new iPad ranks in the same class as the earlier standard iPads, which are among Apple’s cheapest. Since the 9.7-inch iPad took on some of the iPad Pro’s functions, Apple had to skimp in other areas.
Compared to the iPad Pro, the size of the display is somewhat smaller, and the finish is also not quite perfect, i.e., it reflects more while you work than the iPad Pro did. Unfortunately, Apple also skimped on the True Tone display, which adjusts the color to the ambient light and improves your work experience.
Smart Connector – Keyboard
If you work with the iPad a lot, you’re guaranteed to be using a keyboard. For the iPad Pro, Apple finally created a built-in interface that quickly connects the keyboard to the iPad without having to go through the hassle of waiting for a Bluetooth connection. This keyboard was axed from the new iPad, which is a real shame since this is one function that will be a guaranteed necessity for both school and work.
When you work with the new 9.7-inch iPad, you hardly notice that you’re dealing with one of Apple’s budget options. The iPad runs smoothly and has no problem with image processing or Augmented Reality apps. Writing and drawing with the Apple Pencil is easy as a rule. Unfortunately, Apple has failed to include the Smart Connector, which means that they’ve lost the great potential of a keyboard that connects quickly and simply, a feature that would be perfect for school. But if I compare this device with the one from eight years ago, that’s still a world of progress.
What I find great about the current version are the AR-related apps and also the new, revised iWork Suite with Keynote, Pages , and Numbers, all of which make working with the iPad so much easier than eight years ago. Once the teachers get to know this device and school assignments become digitalized, both back pain and paper will be a thing of the past.
The 9.7-inch iPad is available at a starting price of USD 329 in the US and GBP 319 in the UK.