Apple’s new 9.7-inch iPad is more affordable than ever


An iPad refresh could be right around the corner.
Photo: Apple

Apple today introduced a new 9.7-inch iPad that’s more affordable than ever before.

The device looks almost identical to the iPad Air 2 that it is replacing in Apple’s tablet lineup, but it starts at just $329 with 32GB of storage, Wi-Fi connectivity, and an A9 processor.

Just as expected, the new iPad combines a familiar form factor with older specifications that allow Apple to reduce its price tag. The company will be hoping that the move helps the device become more popular in the enterprise and education sectors were pricing is key.

“New customers and anyone looking to upgrade will love this new iPad for use at home, in school, and for work, with its gorgeous Retina display, our powerful A9 chip, and access to the more than 1.3 million apps designed specifically for it,” said Apple’s Phil Schiller.

Not only does the iPad share the same design as the iPad Air 2, but its internals are similar, too. Apple has swapped out the older model’s A8X chip for a faster, 64-bit A9 processor that debuted with the iPhone 6s — but everything else remains the same.

So, you get an 8-megapixel iSight camera with 1080p video recording, a 1.2-megapixel FaceTime camera with 720p video recording, Touch ID, and support for Apple Pay. There’s also a cellular option which adds a nano-SIM slot and 4G connectivity.

Prices for the Wi-Fi only model start at $329 for 32GB of storage and rise to $429 for 128GB of storage. The Wi-Fi + Cellular option is priced at $459 with 32GB of storage and $559 for 128GB of storage. Both are available in silver, gold, and space gray.

For comparison, the iPad mini 4, with its smaller 7.9-inch display, older A8 processor, and aging 8-megapixel camera, is priced at $399. However, Apple has increased its storage to 128GB as standard.

Like the special edition PRODUCT(RED) iPhone 7, the new iPad will be available or order at 8:01 a.m. Pacific (11:01 a.m. Eastern) on Friday, March 24.


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