Apple Inc. is adding the ability to use a digital pencil to draw and write on its cheapest iPad model in an attempt to make the tablet more compelling for creating, teaching and learning.
The tech giant’s pencil previously worked only on its more expensive iPad Pro line.
The company unveiled its latest iPad on Tuesday in a Chicago high school to signal a renewed emphasis on education. Apple’s products have been losing ground in U.S. classrooms to Google and Microsoft in the last few years.
In addition to the new iPad, Apple is rolling out a new educational app called Schoolwork to help teachers make assignments and monitor students’ progress.
Apple also is offering teachers and students 200 gigabytes of free storage in its iCloud service so they can access documents, photos and other digital content from any internet-connected device. Apple gives all account holders five gigabytes of storage before charging for additional space. The company normally charges $3 per month for 200 gigabytes of storage.
Apple is offering a $30 iPad discount to schools, but the regular price for the 9.7-inch iPad model remains at $329. Many analysts had expected Apple to roll out a cheaper iPad to spur sales to budget-strapped schools. The pencil costs an additional $99, or $89 for schools. The new iPad ships this week.
Google has emerged as the education leader in the U.S. market, thanks largely to laptop computers running on its Chrome software. Some of those Chromebooks sell for $200 to $250; the cheapest iPad costs $329.
After the hourlong event, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook huddled for several minutes with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in an adjoining classroom where some of the new iPads were on display. Last year, Chicago announced a program with Apple in which hundreds of thousands of Chicago public school students would learn coding.
11 a.m.: This article was updated with the digital pencil’s price and new iPad’s availability.
11:10 a.m.: This article was updated with additional announcements by Apple and information about CEO Tim Cook meeting with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
This article was originally published at 9:40 a.m.