A 9.7 inch display is not new in the iPad segment. The 2017 iPad that came with a 9.7 inch display was an instant hit. It soon grew to be popular as an affordable take on a feature-rich iPad variant with a large screen, and great power packed under the hood.
Apple surprised us with its new 9.7 inch iPad in 2018 and started the year with a bang! It has widely been marketed as the new 9.7 inch iPad with Pencil support. That made us breathe a sigh of relief because the support for Pencil is something that we have been missing out on the affordable iPad variants. And Apple finally heard us and has designed one! So is the only extra feature that Apple has added? Is this new 9.7 inch iPad any different from its predecessor with the same screen size in terms of the other features?
If you have been following Apple closely, you would have noticed that there has been an increase in the brand’s focus on education, to help in “unleashing the creativity in the classroom”. The newer affordable iPad with Pencil support has been in line with this approach and this definitely is expected to be an iPad that students would be able to put to good use.
A gist of the features
- 9.7 inch Retina display
- Comes in 3 different colors- silver, gold and space grey
- Internal storage 32GB/128GB
- Home button with the Touch ID
- 3.5 mm headphone jack
- A10 fusion chip
- 8MP primary camera and 1.2MP secondary camera
- Available as WiFi only as well as WiFi+cellular variants
The specs look very much similar to that of the previous 9.7 inch variant. But the real different lies under the hood.
Pencil not just for the Pro’s any more
Using a stylus for performing basic tasks and to create and edit content on the smartphones and tablets is not a new concept. In fact Samsung Note variants made this feature a more practical one and tapped into the potential of being able to use a stylus to make the smartphones even better. Apple ups the ante of every feature there is and the Apple Pencil came as one such upgrade to the normal stylus.
The iPad Pro variants which have been designed for professional use have been released with Pencil support. But the affordable iPads have been missing this support till date. Breaking that trend, making it possible even for the students and the entry level users to be able to make the best use of Pencil the new and affordable 9.7 inch iPad has been designed with Pencil support. To make this addition more practical, iWork suite has also be improved in order to allow the users to do a lot more with their Pencil.
What if you cannot buy the Pencil?
The Pencil is however relatively more expensive than the other smartphone stylus options. A typical Apple user would not have any issues in spending a little extra for the Apple Pencil. But considering the pricing of the new iPad, if a student or any other basic iPad user is not willing to spend so much on the apple Pencil then there is reportedly a less expensive alternative to be soon released. And this Pencil alternative is called Crayon – designed by Logitech, especially for students.
A10 makes augmented reality a reality in the cheaper iPads
Apple has been actively taking part in the race of introducing AR in smartphones and tablets. One of the notable differences that makes the newer 9.7 inch iPad more powerful than its predecessor is the inclusion of the A10 fusion chip. The 3.3 billion transistors that function under the hood result in lightning fast speeds in performing every single task on the iPad.
Are you someone who juggles between a bunch of tasks all at once, no problem! This new iPad can handle it all. Are you looking for excellent video editing features, gaming experience and much more? The new iPad offers them all. The notable addition that A10 chip brought with it was the support for AR apps. Now that AR is making it easy to deliver an immersive learning experience this new iPad designed keeping the avid learners in mind comes with the best support for AR apps.
Should you dump your 2017 9.7 inch iPad for the 2018 variant?
To sum it up, there is the support for Pencil that is included and a new and upgraded processor that is built in. Other than these additions the other features remain pretty much similar to that of the previous iPad variant. The pricing is also nearly the same.
If you are planning to buy an iPad anytime soon and if you are on a tight budget then this new 9.7 inch iPad is definitely worth a shot. But if you own a 2017 variant of the 9.7 inch iPad, then the choice of whether you really should dump that and go for the new one boils down to the question of how much you would want to use the Apple Pencil and the way you plan to use your iPad.