Apple iPad for education adds pencil, forgets schools are poor

The iPad is an incredible device, it’s easily the best tablet on the market, but for for all the hype and fanfare around Apple’s big education event, the new version of the iPad, now comes with a Pencil.

The iPad features a retina display, has 10 hours of battery life, runs split screen apps, its thin and light, sound familiar?

There’s no revolution here, with the exception of some upgraded cameras, this is the same iPad that was already available, just with a new target audience.

Apple is pushing hard to sell iPad to schools and to kids under the banner of it being for education. The problem with that is price.

Cash-strapped education providers have to buy hundreds of devices for students. That means the per-item cost of a device matters, something Google realised years ago and has seen amazing success in education by delivering simple, low-cost devices.

The new iPad starts at A$469 for the 32GB model and runs right up to A$799.00 for the 128GB, 4G model. Apple is the richest company on the planet and its incredibly disappointing to see them pretend to be serious about education, without actually addressing this issue. If they had to cut features, then we’d understand, but if Apple are serious at playing in this space in a meaningful way, they need a l0w-cost device and A$469 + case + keyboard isn’t it.

For rich private schools this won’t be a problem, the burden of cost can be shifted to parents, but for mainstream public education this won’t fly.

While iPads are geat tools to get our kids started with technology, at some point in their education, the device should shift to one that aligns with what they’ll use in the workplace.

Apple have announced their School Manager will provide some relief to IT admins responsible for managing hundreds of Apple IDs. There’s new tools to create accounts quickly and to remove access for students that leave the school.

One nice change is the to the iCloud storage available, upgraded from an insufficient 5GB to 200GB. This should provide enough storage for kids for a majority of their education years.


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Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwright
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021


  1. Are we talking about primary or secondary schools? Certainly neither of the high schools that my children attend (WSSC being one) purchase devices for the students and a full price iPad is roughly half the price of the subsidised 2 in 1 (laptop) that all students are expected to purchase.
    I have a pretty good knowledge of what software they run and the iPad is easily powerful enough for the vast majority of students. Any student doing MultiMedia or other processor intensive tasks are directed to buy an even more powerful (and expensive) laptop in any case.

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