Apple has traditionally introduced new products in the San Francisco Bay Area. But on March 27, Apple is headed to Chicago.
The iconic iPhone maker was coy in its invitation, sent out Friday morning, but Apple blogs expect to see new iPads and possibly Mac laptops introduced, with an education focus.
This invite says: “Let’s take a field trip! Join us to hear creative new ideas for teachers and students.” The event is being held at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago.
In December, Apple announced a partnership with the city of Chicago to help teach coding to the area’s nearly 500,000 students, in grade school and college, using Apple’s Swift, a language the company created to help make mobile apps.
As tablet sales have fallen over the years, Apple has looked to the education market to boost sales. Recent quarterly earnings have started to show a slight turnaround, following the introduction of a lower priced iPad in 2017, at $329.
In the third quarter, Apple sold 11.4 million iPads, compared to 9.9 million iPads in the year ago quarter, and in the December quarter, a slight uptick, 13.1 million vs. 13.0 million iPads sold.
Asian publication Digitimes, citing supply chain sources, reported that Apple would introduce its lowest price iPad to date, a 9.7-inch screen model with a $259 price point.
Apple didn’t respond to request for comment.
Analyst Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies says the last time Apple had an event in Chicago was for the introduction of the Newton in 1992, an early personal digital assistant.
He believes Apple is true to its word, and will spend much of the event on education and software. “They want to emphasize that they’re making big strides in education,” he says.
He does expect the event to be iPad focused, because Apple needs to shore up its education chops. At one time, many schools used Macintosh computers, but Apple has been displaced there by Google’s Chromebooks, which are lower in price, starting at around $200. A lower price iPad would make the company more competitive with Google, he adds.
It’s been quite some time since Apple updated the Mac line. A new, $5,000 iMac Pro computer was introduced in December, and existing MacBook and MacBook Pro computers were upgraded with new processors in June.