Apple’s New iPad: Impact on Education

So, Apple made their big announcement today and unveiled the third-generation iPad that the blogosphere has had so much fun speculating about over the last few months. But, now that the dust has settled, what were the significant takeaways for educators?

The iPad 2

Seems funny to be talking about the iPad 2 after the launch of the iPad 3 (or the ‘new iPad’ as Apple is calling it) but the fact that it will remain in the Apple lineup alongside the latest iPad could well be a tempting option for schools. Priced at $399, it is $100 less than the new model, but it is still a very capable tablet that still outperforms a lot of its competitors. As one publication put it today, “Good luck trying to build a better tablet than the iPad 2 for $399.”


Educators have been using the Dragon Dictation app for years now, but it has never quite managed to be all that we hope it will be. It just never quite had the accuracy that was needed or the flexibility to deal with different voice styles and accents. By including a dictation feature in the next-generation iPad, Apple may just have fixed this and opened up the doors to some truly great speech-to-text technology that is based upon the already wildly popular Siri. It will be great for students with learning disabilities and I look forward to trying it.

iSight Camera

At last, the iPad looks to have been equipped with a half-decent camera. This was my biggest complaint about the iPad 2, and although it is not going to replace a serious digital camera, it will hopefully mean a lot less digital noise and some true clarity to digital images and video that was severely lacking (in my opinion) on the iPad 2. It is capable of 1080p HD video and should look great on the new high-resolution screen.


Insurance is a necessary evil, but we all need it. Not all schools buy into the Apple Care agreements, but they might with the new AppleCare+. It extends the warranty to two years and adds up to two incidents of accidental damage to the coverage that it offers, (subject to a $49 service fee). This may well be the perfect peace of mind for schools looking to go 1:1 with the iPad because it allows for those accidental breakages that almost always happen at school or home.


The entire iLife and iWork series of apps received an update today, but the launch of the iPhoto app was a happy surprise. Are there better photo apps already available in the app store? Almost certainly, but the ease of use, familiarity, and ability to natively edit and organize your photos will likely make this a must-have app. It has a host of useful features that even include the ability to beam photos between devices. This could be a great way for students to collaborate on projects, or for teachers to collect photos from students on their iPads. (Wouldn’t it be great if Apple could incorporate document beaming for iWork files?)


So, what did you think about the announcement today? Did you get everything you hoped for? Will you be buying a new iPad? It is available now for pre-order and will be hitting retail stores on March 16.