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Apple's new iPad 9.7 vs. the old iPad 9.7

At its education announcement today, Apple updated its current lineup with a somewhat updated version of its most popular iPad. We compare the specs.

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Apple's Swift Playgrounds programming tutorial app

James Martin/CNET

One prong of Apple's many-tined approach to making a comeback in the education market is something you don't have to be in school to appreciate: lower iPad prices. At its education-focused event in Chicago, the company announced its updated version of the mainstream and education favorite, the 9.7-inch model.

The old model vs. the new indicates a more powerful processor -- the same one that's in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus -- faster LTE networking and support for Apple Pencil, but much the same otherwise for consumers. 

Here are the comparative specs:

Comparative specs


Starts at Display Processors Memory Back camera FaceTime camera
iPad (2017) 9.7 in. (old pricing) $329, £339, AU$469 264 ppi A9, M9 32GB, 128GB 8MP, 1080p video 1.2MP, 720p video
iPad (2018) 9.7 in. $329, £319, AU$469 265 ppi A10 Fusion 32GB, 128GB 8MP, 1080p video 1.2MP, 720p video
iPad Mini 4 7.9 in. $399, £419, AU$579 326 ppi A8, M8 128GB 8MP, 1080p video 1.2MP, 720p video
iPad Pro 10.5 in. $649, £619, AU$979 264 ppi, P3 gamut A10X, M10 64GB, 256GB, 512GB 12MP, 4K video 7MP, 1080p video
iPad Pro 12.9 in. $799, £769, AU$1,199 264 ppi, P3 gamut A10X, M10 64GB, 256GB, 512GB 12MP, 4K video 7MP, 1080p video

So basically, it's a direct replacement for the older 9.7-inch iPad, with an updated processing system and Pencil compatibility.

It's also an interesting switch from last March's cheaper iPad announcement, which the company released with little fanfare. The real question is whether it will make a dent in the iPad's downward sliding sales, or even trigger a repeat of the brief uptick the company saw in the middle of last year.

This is a developing story.