Late last week, Apple sent out invitations for a special event focusing on Education on March 27 at a high school in Chicago. Apple described the event focus as “creative new ideas for teachers and students”, and will likely focus on education software.
This is not the first time Apple has held an education-focused event. Back in January 2012, Apple held an event in New York where the company unveiled iBooks Author, iBooks Textbooks, and iTunes U. While the 2012 event had a narrow focus on iBooks, we expect this year’s event to have a broader spectrum of topics.
Here is what we can expect out of the March 27th Apple Event
Apple is planning on rebranding iBooks as ‘Apple Books’ with the release of iOS 11.3, which is planned to launch alongside next Tuesday’s announcement. The name change will accompany a redesigned app with new discovery options and a renewed focus on textbooks for the education market.
Apple will release iOS 11.3 immediately following next Tuesday’s event, according to sources familiar with the matter. The updates include a number of new features, including new Animoji, Business Chat in iMessage, new Battery health options, and updated health features.
iOS 11.3 also includes a new focus on privacy, with a universal icon across iOS that will indicate to the user when they are entering sensitive information in a safe environment. Apple will likely take time to emphasize the privacy capabilities of iOS.
Lastly, iOS 11.3 features a yet-to-be-announced framework for developers called ClassKit. While the specifics are hazy, the kit will allow developers to target multiple devices on their app and set roles in a classroom environment.
Hardware, A new 9.7 inch iPad
While Apple’s previous education event focused entirely on software, Apple seems likely to announce at least one new hardware product at it’s March event.
Apple will likely unveil an updated 9.7-inch iPad, coming off the heels of last years $329 model, with updated internals and a new starting price: $259. The low entry price and high-performance will be marketed at the event as an opportunity for education, however, will be available to all soon after the event.
Apple is also working on a new, low-entry MacBook to replace the current MacBook Air. While we are unsure what the device will be called, it will feature a 13-inch display with a higher resolution, updated internals, and a new, lower starting price at ~$750. While Apple was originally planning to have this device ready for Tuesday, it is unclear if the device will be at the event.
While Apple typically live-streams events, the company appears to not have a live-stream planned at this time for next Tuesday’s event. Similar to the 2012 event, Apple will likely publish a video of the event following its completion.
Apple has however invited the tech press to the event, so live-blogs will be available from various media sources.
In addition to the above announcements, Apple is also planning on quietly launching a number of other products, including the AirPower wireless charging mat, immediately following the event.
Be sure to visit AppleToolbox after the event for a complete roundup of what Apple had to unveil.