Apple iPad 2017 vs. 2018’s iPad: What’s the Difference?

Is it worth the upgrade?


During Apple’s education event in Chicago this week, the company announced the launch of its new iPad. Apple is focusing its efforts on branding its latest device as tools for the classroom to replace notepads and textbooks.

Despite the similar appearances, there are some notable changes between last year’s iPad and the newly announced version. Here are the differences to expect if you’re thinking about upgrading.

New Pricing

Part of Apple marketing its devices towards schools requires making them more affordable for educational institutions. That’s why Apple is offering its new iPad to schools for $299, instead of the standard $329 price tag. Students and teachers can also get a 10 percent discount if they’re verified on the Apple Store.

Aside from these deals, the new iPad cost exactly the same as the 2017 iPad did when it was released. However, the new device is cheaper than some of the other iPad iterations like the iPad Mini 4, which retails for $399.


Apple Pencil Compatibility

The 2018 iPad’s new stylus does sweeten the deal a bit. Before now, the Apple Pencil was only compatible with the iPad Pro line, which could run you up as much as $1,149. Now, Apple is letting the cheaper models try out the virtual pencil, which is priced at $99.

Harkening back to the Palm Treo days, only much better, the Apple Pencil lets users markup, highlight, and jot down notes straight into the PDFs they’re reading. This allows users to utilize the combo as a replacement for traditional books and binders.

Design and Display

Not much difference here. If you put the 2018 and 2017 iPads side-by-side, you might not be able to tell them apart. They’re both identical in size (240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm). Unfortunately, this new model doesn’t have the slimmer bezels that the iPad Pro comes with, but the headphone jack is here to stay.

As far as the screen goes, Apple has stuck with the same 9.7-inch the 2017 iPad came with. You’ll be getting the usual 1536 x 2048 resolution and 4:3 aspect ratio, which maybe isn’t the best for binging a widescreen Netflix show, but is pretty handy for surfing the web and studying.


Under the Hood

The 2018 iPad also comes with a little bit more bang for your buck. Instead of using the older A9 chip the 2017 version did, the new model comes with Apple’s A10 Fusion chipset. In short, this means it will be better at handling more demanding tasks like augmented reality, running multiple apps, and gaming. Visit the Apple Store for a deeper dive into the new iPad’s specs.

All in All

Overall, the newly announced iPad does improve on the 2017 version — but only slightly. If your old device is still working smoothly, there isn’t enough here to justify an upgrade. However, if you’re in need of an iPad or if you want to pick up your first one, this is your chance to get one with new features that weren’t available with the old ones.

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