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What to expect from Apple’s education event

What to expect from Apple’s education event
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Apple is hosting one of its signature product-unveiling events today, March 27, in Chicago, starting at 10am CT, which is 11am ET or 8am PT. Recode will be covering it live; refresh our Apple section for the latest.

The event is billed as education themed — the invitation reads “join us to hear creative new ideas for teachers and students” — and, in a twist, it will take place at a public high school (during spring break).

Here’s what to expect:

  • A new, cheaper iPad tablet “that should appeal to the education market,” according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who says Apple will also show off “new software for the classroom.” Some seem to think it will support a version of the Apple Pencil stylus, which has been an iPad Pro-only tool so far.
  • A rumored price tag of $259 would be around 20 percent cheaper than today’s standard iPad, which starts at $329. It would be almost half the price of the original iPad, which debuted in 2010, starting at $499.
  • As The Verge’s Tom Warren notes, this is Apple’s latest attempt to fend off Google’s Chromebooks, which have become very popular in the education market.
  • What might Apple’s new classroom software do? A new tool called “ClassKit,” found in iOS beta code, seems to be designed to help software developers make educational apps, possibly including in-class tests.
  • Perhaps we’ll hear more about Apple’s student-aimed “Everyone Can Code” program, which is expanding in Chicago schools and colleges.
  • Beyond that, here’s a practical wish list from well-known educational technologist Fraser Speirs in two tweets, including “unlimited iCloud storage,” an AppleID directory service, “support for volume purchasing” for in-app purchases, a more robust device-management system, “desktop-class browser compatibility,” etc.
  • Apple will probably also go over some of the other features included in its forthcoming iOS 11.3 release, potentially including new battery health info (added after last year’s Slowgate) and Business Chat, which lets companies message with (and even sell stuff to) their customers using iMessages in apps like Safari, Maps and Siri — a would-be rival to similar services from Facebook.
  • We don’t expect much else. Apple’s next big product keynote is likely to be in June at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. There, expect things like iOS 12 and maybe some new Macs, iPad Pros, etc.

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