Apple CEO Tim Cook helped make the announcement of the new 9.7 inch iPad retailing for $299 for teachers and students and $329 for the general public. The company said that teachers and students get 200GB of free iCloud storage.
The new iPad supports the Apple Pencil, which sells separately to the general public for $99 and to students and educators for $89. Apple says you can dissect a frog on an iPad with the Apple Pencil.
The total cost of the iPad and Apple Pencil for educators and students will be $388. Apple has not announced if it will donate any iPads and Apple Pencils to any of Chicago's schools.
"We know that our products can unleash the creative genius in every kid," Cook said.
The new 9.7 inch iPad weighs 1 lbs.
"He could have been anywhere. Any city. Any school district. And he picked Chicago because of the growth our students and our teachers and principals are seeing," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
"He said Chicago is one of the most diverse, forward-thinking school systems so I think he picked the right place to come and launch these tools and take CPS to the next level," said CPS CEO Janice Jackson.
The company also announced a new app called Schoolwork, geared for educational purposes that allows teachers to markup homework and students to create digital books and read textbooks.
Thanks to the students and faculty of Lane Tech for being our gracious hosts. Rich with history and forward-thinking — we couldn't ask for a better place to talk about the future of education. @ChiPubSchools pic.twitter.com/YcriSm6eeB— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 27, 2018
The move is a bid to win back students and teachers from Google and Microsoft, whose products are cheaper and already very entrenched in schools.
"Nothing comes even close to offering the powerfully simple or magical experience that iPad can. Even with all these enhancements, we are pleased that we are able to offer this new iPad for the same $329 starting price for consumers and we are super pleased to offer this to schools for just $299. It is available to order today and will start shipping to customers and arriving in stores this week," said Apple's Greg Jowiak.
Chicago Public Schools is currently battling back from a $1.1 billion budget deficit.
Elementary school teacher Kasia Derza was the only local person in Apple's presentation, and spoke about how some of the new software is teaching her and her students how to code.
Apple says it's proud of the work it's doing with Chicago schools. In December, it partnered with CPS and City Colleges of Chicago on a coding curriculum.
Meanwhile, teachers said the lower-cost iPad would be a game-changer.
"For my classrooms, it just means we'll have access to more creative tools than we've had before. We have more access to innovative products and ideas," said Jennifer Smith, a teacher at South Middle School in Arlington Heights.
"There are definitely certain features the Apple ecosystem provides that Chromebook definitely can't so not just more affordable, it keeps to vision of creativity and all wonderful things that can be accomplished with Apple products," said Rita Mortenson, an educational technology coach at a high school in Verona, Wis.
Apple has to get the decision makers and the educators to buy into this, and there was certainly a lot of excitement at Lane Tech.