If you’ve been on the fence about finally entering into digital tablet sketching (or notetaking) territory, both Google and Apple revealed some great news for you this week.

First up is the all-new $329 9.7-inch iPad.

While marketed towards educators as a low(er) cost of entry to bring iPads into the classroom (the education-adjusted cost is just $299 per unit), the most significant update is the inclusion of Apple Pencil compatibility. Previously only available on the company’s significantly more pricey iPad Pro tablet, the company is banking on the hardware combo to help springboard an entirely new way of thinking about technology in the classroom. Fortunately, everybody else can benefit from this lower price point, too.

Although indeed not as powerful as the iPad Pro, the 9.7-inch iPad is a compelling piece of kit. From digital sketching to convenient digital notetaking, there are a lot of bells and whistles packed into the lower-priced model that just might suffice for most.


Not ones to let Apple encroach upon their existing status as a go-to for educators, Google’s announcement of their first Chrome OS tablet—the Acer Chromebook Tab 10—offers similar sketching or notetaking compatibility with the addition of a built-in Wacom EMR stylus. All this at the same $329 price point as the new iPad.

It would be hard to imagine Google even making a dent in Apple’s announcement without some form of stylus support. Not only did they deliver, but they also brought on the best stylus manufacturer in the business responsible for helping even make “digital sketching” a thing.

So while two of the biggest names in tech may be battling it out to win over classrooms with impressively powerful tablets and bottom-of-the-barrel prices, the real winners are the consumers and pros…both inside of the classroom and out.

The 9.7-inch iPad is available now over at Apple. The Chromebook Tab 10 will be released in April.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.