Apple unveiled its new iPad model on Tuesday, March 27. The 9.7-inch updated iPad features 10 hours of battery life, an 8-megapixel rear camera and HD FaceTime camera, Apple’s A10 Fusion chip and Touch ID.
Apple is offering the iPads to schools for $299, and other consumers at $329. The devices, which support Apple Pencil, are part of a suite of products targeting the education market. Apple has fallen behind competitors such as Microsoft and Google in schools; Google’s Chromebooks, in particular, have gained significant ground in classrooms.
Critics, however, have described the product as a “total misfire,” slamming Apple for being out of touch with the education market, particularly with schools’ needs and kids’ behaviors. Compared to the dominant Chromebooks, the new iPad has been described as “pricey, fragile and impractical.”
“Kids, by their nature, are likely to be even more accident prone. As a case in point, one of the first things my daughter did when my wife got an iPad several years ago was to accidentally drop it, cracking its screen,” wrote Troy Wolverton in Business Insider. “The iPad not only doesn’t come with a case, it also lacks a way to easily keep track of its stylus. There’s no slot to slide Pencil into and no way to attach it magnetically.”
Apple has been criticized in recent months for its disconnect from consumers and failing to introduce innovative products with disruptive technologies that prioritize utility. The company faced the same criticism with the launch of its iPhone X last year. It’s no wonder that Apple’s reputation dropped in 2018 to 29th from its previous #5 spot in 2017, according to the annual Harris Poll Reputation Quotient survey.