Apple revealed education-based news today at a live event in Chicago.

In a departure from their normal routine, Apple held a live event today from Chicago that was completely based on education. After the announcement in December that Apple was working with the city of Chicago to bring the Everyone Can Code program to nearly 500,000 students, Chicago was a natural option for this announcement event. This special education event was not live-streamed, but the video is available on Apple’s website. The event took place at Lane Tech College Prep High School, a participant in the Everyone Can Code initiative.

Event Details

The event began with a signature Apple video playing. This time though it featured a child’s voice. The theme was ‘imagination’ and ‘creative inspiration’. At the conclusion of the video, Apple CEO, Tim Cook, took the stage. He started by saying, “We hope that you love that video as much as we do. We’ve always believed that people with passion can change the world.” He went on to say that the video had been displayed at the marches that took place over the weekend (March for Our Lives) and said, ”We are deeply inspired by the courage of students using their voices to bring about change in America.” He said all of this standing in front of a video screen that depicted whiteboard-like images.

Cook said they were proud to be in Chicago where the school district believes that technology has an important role in the classroom. Cook then summarized Apple’s efforts to enhance education over the past 40 years. He referenced Apple’s first appearance in classrooms and their role today with the Swift Playgrounds app, which teaches coding. He then talked about the internal classes that Apple teaches through their retail stores.

Cook introduced Kathleen Richardson, a ConnectED Program Development Executive with Apple, to talk about her work helping teachers learn to teach with Apple products. She discussed how she worked with a teacher in Tuskegee, Alabama to teach a class about a veterans history project. They invited veterans to their class so that the students could record the stories and then reference them online using their iPads. The digital project will be showcased at the Library of Congress.

Cook came back on stage to start discussing what iPad does for education and in the classroom setting. He invited Greg Jozwiak on stage. He reviewed the different creative apps (iMovie, Garage Band, Clips, etc.) that can be used across education to enhance a students understanding of the world around them. He references several different options for this including a field trip project. During his segment, Jozwiak had a school teacher come on stage to discuss how she has used the iPad in classrooms. When he came back on stage, he introduced a video for iPad which showcased a new iPad 9.7 with Apple Pencil support and the presentation began discussing new releases.

New iPad 9.7

Apple announced an updated iPad with support for Apple Pencil plus even greater performance, starting at $329. The new 9.7-inch iPad and Apple Pencil give users the ability to be even more creative and productive, from sketching ideas and jotting down handwritten notes to marking up screenshots. The new iPad is more versatile and capable than ever, features a large Retina display, the A10 Fusion chip and advanced sensors that help deliver immersive augmented reality, and provides unmatched portability, ease of use and all-day battery life.

Built for durability and mobility, the new 9.7-inch iPad features an aluminum unibody construction and ultrafast wireless that can deliver two times faster cellular data connections, so it is even easier to stay connected anywhere. With Apple SIM, customers can connect to wireless data plans right from their device when traveling in more than 180 countries and regions.

The new affordable iPad was released with the following specs:

  • 10-hour battery life
  • 9.7-inch display
  • 8MP camera
  • LTE Option
  • A10 Fusion Chip
  • GPS
  • Compass
  • Lightweight (1 pound)
  • TouchID
  • HD FaceTime Camera
  • Retina Display

Pricing: iPad comes in silver, space gray and a new gold finish and starts at an Apple retail price of $329 (US) for the 32GB with Wi-Fi model and $459 (US) for the 32GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model at apple.com and Apple Stores. It is also available through Apple Authorized Resellers and select carriers (prices may vary). Schools can purchase iPad starting at $299 (US) and Apple Pencil for $89 (US).

Availability: iPad is available to order today and starts delivering to customers and arriving in stores later this week.

Software Updates and New Releases

In addition to the new hardware, Apple also announced the following software upgrades/releases:

  • iWork with Apple Pencil Support: For the first time, users will be able to draw, sketch or write with Apple Pencil directly in the Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps. With Apple Pencil, advanced yet easy-to-use tools allow all users, from students to professionals, to bring their documents to life with drawings, illustrations, diagrams and more. Apple Pencil can also be used to easily and precisely add color, texture and more to any drawing.
  • Smart Annotations: Launched today in beta, Smart Annotation is an innovative new tool in Pages that allows users to easily give, receive and incorporate feedback in a document using Apple Pencil. With Smart Annotation, comments and proof marks will dynamically anchor to text. And as a user integrates feedback and the document changes, remaining annotations will stay with the text they were attached to.
  • Digital Book Creation: Book creation is now possible in Pages for iOS and macOS, making it easy for anyone to create fun, interactive digital books, from short stories to travel books. Users can start a book using a variety of templates, and then customize it with drawings using iWork’s new drawing tools or with image galleries and videos from their Photos library. Users can collaborate in real time with their classmates or colleagues to create books together on iPad, iPhone, Mac, and iCloud.com. Books can then be shared and will display beautifully in iBooks.
  • Garage Band (update)
  • Clips (update)

Additional new features include Presenter Mode in Pages, allowing users to transform their iPad or iPhone into a virtual teleprompter for distraction-free reading. The text can auto-scroll at an adjustable speed, and text size, spacing, font and background color are all customizable during text playback. Integration with Box lets users collaborate in real-time in Pages, Numbers and Keynote documents stored in Box.

Availability: Pages, Numbers, and Keynote on iOS and Mac are free and come preloaded on most devices. Today’s updates are available to download from the App Store and Mac App Store.

Education Infrastructure Improvements

Apple continues to show their commitment to education by providing a new and improved infrastructure from which teachers and administrators can manage their classrooms. Some of these additions include updates to the Shared iPad feature, an Apple School Manager, and more features with Apple Teacher. Plus, teachers and students get 200GB of free iCloud storage (with a Managed Apple ID).

Classroom Available for Mac

Classroom, a powerful teaching assistant that helps teachers manage student iPads and guide students through lessons, keep them on track and share work, is now coming to the Mac. With Classroom, teachers can easily launch apps, books, and web pages on all student devices at once or send and receive documents. Classroom lets teachers view student screens during class to help students stay focused, assign shared iPads to specific students for class and even reset a student’s password. The Mac version of the app will be available in beta starting in June.

Schoolwork

A free, cloud-based classroom management tool that allows teachers to assign handouts and apps as easily as sending an email. It also provides visibility into a student’s progress. (similar to Google Classroom structure). Available in June.

Schoolwork is a new app that helps teachers create assignments, view student progress and bring the power of apps to the classroom in exciting new ways. Schoolwork features Handouts, an easy way to create and send assignments with almost any type of content, from web links to PDFs and documents. With Schoolwork, teachers can take advantage of the power and creativity of apps available on iPad. They can easily assign a specific activity within an app and direct their students directly to the specific point within the app. Popular education apps like Nearpod, Tynker, and Kahoot are already integrating support for Schoolwork.

There is a rich ecosystem of education apps available for iPad today. Developers can now easily update their apps to take advantage of Schoolwork by utilizing ClassKit, a new education framework, to make it easy to assign activities and view student progress. Schoolwork and apps that take advantage of it give teachers new insight into how their students are performing, helping them tailor their teaching to the needs and potential of individual students. With Schoolwork, teachers have a snapshot of each student’s overall class performance and can check on students’ app activities and progress on their assignments.

Everyone Can Create

Following in the footsteps of the Everyone Can Code initiative, Apple announced the release of Everyone Can Create,  a free curriculum designed to make it fun and easy for students to unleash their creativity. There are four disciplines – music, video, photography, and drawing. Available for preview today (3/26) with more content coming this summer.

Everyone Can Create is designed to take advantage of the new 9.7-inch iPad and Apple Pencil, so teachers and students can be even more creative. Everyone Can Create is a range of free learning resources and teaching guides that help teachers easily weave drawing, music, filmmaking or photography into any lesson, topic or assignment. The curriculum gives students different ways to express themselves and helps them to discover and develop new skills.

Developed in collaboration with educators and creative professionals, Everyone Can Create includes teacher and student guides, lessons, ideas and examples to help teachers bring creativity and new communication skills into their existing subjects like English, math, science, and history. For example, students can use the built-in camera in iPad to learn about fractals or they can use Apple Pencil and apps like Tayasui Sketches to learn about symmetry.
Beginning later this spring, Apple Stores will begin teaching Everyone Can Create as part of their regular Today at Apple sessions for educators. Apple’s 501 stores in 21 countries have already taught nearly 5,000 hands-on Teacher Tuesday sessions on topics including coding and app design, movie and music creation, and presentations or spreadsheets.

Wrap-up

After all the Apple Execs took the stage to make the education announcements, Tim Cook came back on stage to review the announcements.

“We think it’s an honor to be able to support teachers. We’ve been at this for 40 years, and we care deeply about education. We believe that our place at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts makes it possible for us to create powerful products and tools that amplify … creativity. This is something that only Apple can do.” – Tim Cook

They closed the event with a video.