What’s new? What do we think? What do you need to know? There is a selection of new devices being pitched at the education market. INTERFACE Editor Greg Adams checks out a new version of an old favourite.
I bought my first iPad some seven years ago. It’s not an itch that’s made me pick up the latest incarnation, nevertheless I was more than a little curious when given the opportunity.
When it was first unveiled, Apple broke new ground with the iPad, which quickly established itself as major new player in the device market. I was keen to find out what had it done for this 5th Generation machine. The iPad 2 ironed out many of the kinks; the iPad Air is arguably the finest tablet ever produced. Could it improve?
Lifting the device from the box, it’s clearly an iPad, with the iconic look and feel of a tech classic. Nice sleek features, quality finish, handy size and easily manageable weight (469 grams).
Extraordinarily good screen
Over the years, there’s been an almost relentless desire to make things thinner. At 7.5mm thick, however, while among the slimmer tablets on the market, the iPad isn’t the thinnest – but, I guess. the width of split hairs doesn’t really matter. What does matter is this desire to be thin has resulted in an extraordinarily good screen, thanks to the layers that make up the backlight, touchscreen digitiser and LCD screen being positioned so closely (in fact, Apple claims there is zero air in between them). The result? A less reflective 9.7-inch Retina display that’s brighter and more colourful than what’s come before.
Multiple learning platforms
This iPad puts incredible capabilities in your hands with a powerful A9 chip, 32GB SSD Hard Drive, Touch ID, Wi-Fi (and Cellular if applicable) – not to mention access to more than a million apps on the App Store (obviously that’s a tad more than you’d ever be able to use but nice to know).
From a teaching/classroom perspective, it’s sometimes easy to forget that iPads can use multiple learning platforms, like Office 365, G-Suite (Google) and Apple Apps. Yet, I’m always mindful thatc it’s not about the app being used but about the learning task and pedagogy.
Camera and battery
There’s an 8 Megapixel camera, with autofocus and panorama, exposure control, timer mode, Face detection, Photo geotagging, all sorts of stuff. On the video side, it offers 1080p HD video recording (30fps) and slow motion (120 fps), time lapse, image stabilisation, and 3x video zoom.
As for the battery, there’s easily a good school day’s life in the device, doing the normal things like web browsing, word processing, and the like.
For me, this is great. I’m a fan of a proper keyboard, plus the combo with a cover makes it an appealing proposition. The Belkin ‘Slim Style Keyboard Case’ I tried out is designed for the job. The keys are well spaced and responsive to the touch, and it comes with s USB charging cable. It connected quickly and easily to the iPad (just turn on the device’s Bluetooth). There’s a smidge more weight, of course, but it feels snug and safe when moving it around.
Belkin’ Slim Style Keyboard Case’
I don’t think anyone doubts the premium quality of an iPad, the latest version is no exception. It’s continuing to raise the bar and crams a considerable amount of computing firepower under the hood. The challenge is premium quality comes at a cost, around $759. Clearly, schools have to consider this, along with the learning side of the equation. All in all, though, if you’re serious about the pedagogy and building courses to meet the device’s capabilities, I think it stacks up well.
Is the new iPad for you? IMHO, it’s definitely worth a look!
The iPad for this review was provided by Cyclone, a certified Apple reseller and training specialist. More at cyclone.co.nz