The 2019 iPad: What’s New for Schools & Everyone Else?

At their annual September event, Apple announced a new seventh-generation iPad that replaces the sixth-generation iPad that was released in March 2018. New iPad models usually bring new features, but this one is mostly an exception to the rule. Although it does have some new additions, it’s certainly a more modest update than you may have expected. So, without further delay, here’s what’s new with the 2019 iPad.

The biggest, and most noticeable change is the increase in screen size. The seventh generation iPad now has a 10.2-inch screen, and simultaneously signals the retirement of the popular 9.7-inch screen size from Apple’s lineup. The new screen sports a 2160-by-1620 retina resolution at 264 ppi. The extra real estate puts it closer to the 11-inch screens found in many school-issued Chromebooks. It’s still a smaller than your average Chromebook, but it is much richer and more vibrant thanks to the increased resolution.

Also new to the 2019 iPad is the addition of a Smart Connector. This allows you the ability to use Apple’s Smart Keyboard. This is a great keyboard, I like it a lot, but it is almost laughably overpriced at $159, which is basically half the price of this new iPad. That said, the Smart Keyboard can be found for much less if you do a little digging because it’s the same keyboard that was sold for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which is the same one that is now sold for the 10.5-inch iPad Air. On Amazon, you can find it for around $50 less than Apple’s retail price, and if you are willing to buy a refurbished one, you can even get it for less than a $100.

Otherwise, everything else is about the same as the 2018 iPad. It continues to support the 1st generation Apple Pencil, (or the Logitech Crayon), and it will ship with the brand new iPadOS when it is released on September 30, 2019. It has the same cameras, the same processor, the same battery life, and it weighs almost exactly the same as before.

The seventh-generation iPad starts at $329 for a 32Gb version, and sells directly to schools for $299, just like the 2018 iPad did. It sits comfortably at the bottom of Apple’s iPad lineup, with the iPad Mini and the new iPad Air available as next steps for those that need more flexibility. However, Apple says that the entry-level iPad is their best selling model, and with little to no competition from Android tablet makers, it’s easy to see why. The $329 iPad is great value for money, and thanks to iPadOS, it’s more capable than ever.

If you are still using something like an iPad Air 2, then the seventh-generation iPad will be a decent upgrade. It will be faster, have a bigger screen, and will give you the option of using the Smart Keyboard or the Apple Pencil. However, if you are using a more recent iPad, the decision over whether to upgrade is a lot harder, especially when the sixth generation iPad is currently selling for around $249 or less.

This blog post contains affiliate links for products listed on Amazon.com.

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