New iPad 2018 release date, news, price and features

Apple has announced a brand new iPad at its first event of the year in Chicago.

Unlike previous iPad launches though, this new iPad launch is a more focused one, with education being at its heart.

Apple refers to the tablet as the "new 9.7-inch iPad", and it's opted for that screen size as it's found that it's the most popular size of iPad. No surprise really, as the majority of iPads have boasted a 9.7-inch display.

It replaces the iPad (2017), just to really confuse things in the naming department, and we'll refer to this latest version as the new iPad (2018).

Details are still thin on the ground, but Apple says it's the most affordable iPad, has Apple Pencil support and comes with a high-resolution display.

Even though the Pencil is supported, this isn't an iPad Pro variant, so expect the power under the hood to be less than those that bear the Pro name.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Apple's most affordable iPad
  • When is it out? Today, March 27
  • What will it cost? From $329 (£319, AU$469) – $299 for schools

The new iPad (2018)

New iPad (2018) release date

The new iPad release date is March 27, which means you'll be able to order one right away.

It's currently not clear if this will be a US only launch, or if Apple will have its usual worldwide availability.

New iPad (2018) price

The new iPad 2018 price starts at $329 (£319, AU$469), but schools will get a discount of $30 and will be able to pick the slate up for $299.

At $329 (AU$469) the new iPad price is exactly the same as the starting price of the new iPad (2017) – both of which come with 32GB of storage – in the US and Australia, while in the UK it looks like consumers are being treated to a £20 discount.

That's for the Wi-Fi only model, with the 32GB slate with cellular connectivity setting you back $459 (£449, AU$669).

It's worth noting the Apple Pencil is not included in the price, and will set you back an additional $99 (£89, AU$145).

The good news is there will be third-party stylus options such as the Logitech Crayon that costs $49.

The Logitech Crayon – a cheaper alternative to the Apple Pencil

New iPad (2018) design

Unsurprisingly, Apple hasn't altered its design language for the new iPad 2018. It looks like the previous iteration, complete with a premium metal unibody and a relatively bezel heavy front aspect.

The physical home button remains, with a Touch ID fingerprint scanner embedded into it, a Facetime HD camera above the display and a rear facing camera in the corner on the back.

It weighs 469g (1.03 pounds), which is the same as the iPad that it's replacing, and audiophiles rejoice – there's a headphone jack here too.

New iPad (2018) display

It's more of the same in terms of the display, with Apple's familiar 9.7-inch, 4:3 aspect ratio panel providing a pleasing 2048 x 1536 resolution.

There's nothing new here, but we found the screen on the iPad (2017) to be excellent, so it's unlikely to let you down here.

The 9.7-inch display has a 2048 x 1536 resolution

New iPad (2018) power and OS

The new iPad 2018 is powered by Apple's A10 Fusion chipset which has previously featured in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

It is an upgrade over the new iPad 2017 too, which featured the A9 chip. It means that you do get more power over its predecessor, but it still won't be as powerful as the A10X chips in the latest iPad Pro devices.

The new iPad also runs the latest version of Apple's mobile platform, iOS 11, and it should be in line for major iOS updates for the next couple of years at least.

Annotate work with the Pencil while split-screening a message with peers

New iPad (2018) cameras

Apple is also pushing the versatility of the new iPad, which is why it's included a front and rear camera. 

The 8MP rear snapper can be used for Augmented Reality experiences as well as taking photos – and then you can use the Pencil (or Crayon) to annotate them. It also supports full HD video recording.

Round the front a 1.2MP Facetime HD camera allows you to make video calls, as well as snap the odd selfie.

New iPad (2018) battery

Apple claims that the new iPad 2018 will offer all-day battery life – which it sees as up to 10 hours.

While Apple never reveals the capacity of its power packs, we are inclined to believe its battery claim as previous iPads have been very efficient in the power department.

New iPad (2018) software and apps

There are new versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote – Apple's answer to Microsoft's Office Suite – which now support Pencil input as the firm really drives home the messaging that this is an iPad that's great to do school work on.

Pages will also adopt a new feature called "Smart Annotations" that will move with the section of text/image they're associated with, so you never lose your notes. It won't be available in the first update of Pages though – it'll arrive later.

The new iPad will also offer richer learning environments, such as the ability to dissect a frog in AR – rather than having to use and actual frog.

No more waiting for frogs to croak it, you’ll be able to dissect and learn in AR

There's further good news for schools as Apple has increased free iCloud storage from 5GB to 200GB – sadly though general consumer accounts will not get the same bump.

Another boost for schools – and their bank balances – is the 'Shared iPad' function, allowing a teacher to create user accounts for all the children in their class, meaning you don't need to buy one iPad per student.

While fewer iPads will limit their effectiveness on a class, the fact students will have their own logins means they can feel confident their work is safe.