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.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
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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 atDisplayProcessorsMemoryBack cameraFaceTime camera
iPad (2017) 9.7 in. (old pricing) $329, £339, AU$469264 ppiA9, M932GB, 128GB8MP, 1080p video1.2MP, 720p video
iPad (2018) 9.7 in. $329, £319, AU$469265 ppiA10 Fusion32GB, 128GB8MP, 1080p video1.2MP, 720p video
iPad Mini 4 7.9 in. $399, £419, AU$579326 ppiA8, M8128GB8MP, 1080p video1.2MP, 720p video
iPad Pro 10.5 in. $649, £619, AU$979264 ppi, P3 gamutA10X, M1064GB, 256GB, 512GB12MP, 4K video7MP, 1080p video
iPad Pro 12.9 in. $799, £769, AU$1,199264 ppi, P3 gamutA10X, M1064GB, 256GB, 512GB12MP, 4K video7MP, 1080p video

Apple's Chicago education event

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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.