Apple could unveil a new iPad and MacBook TOMORROW at its first big event of 2018: Here's what to expect
- Apple is hosting an education keynote at 4pm BST (11am ET) tomorrow
- There, Apple is expected to release a new, low-cost iPad and MacBook
- It may also reveal an AirPower charging case and a revamped Apple Pencil
Apple has its first big event of 2018 scheduled for tomorrow, and the Cupertino company may use it to announce a new iPad and MacBook.
The firm's education-focused Spring 2018 event will push 'creative new ideas for teachers and students' according to invites sent to members of the media.
Several Apple products could see a refresh, including low-cost iPad and MacBook models, new education software and a revamped Apple Pencil.
Here's everything you need to know about the event, which starts at 4pm BST (11am ET) Tuesday at the Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago.
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Apple has its first big event of 2018 scheduled for Tuesday and rumours suggest the firm may use it to announce a new iPad and MacBook. The firm's education-focussed Spring 2018 event (logo pictured) will focus on 'creative new ideas for teachers and students'
A cheaper iPad model
Apple may be preparing to release a new iPad that is its cheapest model yet at Tuesday's event.
The new version of its iPad should appeal to the education market, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg last week.
It's been rumoured for several months that Apple was considering releasing a low-cost iPad.
The cheapest model available right now is Apple's £230 ($329) iPad, which was released last year.
The forthcoming iPad is said to be priced at about £180 ($259).
Classrooms are a highly sought after market because they can serve as the breeding ground for future, or even lifetime, Apple customers.
Apple may be preparing to release a new iPad that is its cheapest model yet at Tuesday's event. The new version of its iPad should appeal to the education market, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg last week (stock image)
A low-cost MacBook or MacBook Air
Many are holding out hope that Apple will release a cheaper MacBook model.
Over the past few months, several reports have suggested Apple will release an affordable 13-inch MacBook laptop at its education event.
The gadget, which will likely cost less than £700 ($1,000_, is set to replace Apple's lightweight MacBook Air, according to Bloomberg.
The laptop was introduced a decade ago but hasn't seen a major change since 2010.
Many are holding out hope that Apple will release a cheaper MacBook model. Over the past few months, several reports have suggested Apple will release an affordable 13-inch MacBook laptop at its education event (stock image)
With new MacBook and iPad models, Apple is trying to carve out a greater share of the education market after it ceded its once-dominant position to rivals Google and Microsoft.
Students are now more likely to purchase Google's Chromebooks and Microsoft's Surface laptops over an iPad or MacBook, which are significantly more expensive than their rival products.
While it may be working on a new 13-inch MacBook model, Apple probably won't have it ready by Tuesday, according to Bloomberg.
Students are now more likely to purchase Google's Chromebooks and Microsoft's Surface laptops over an iPad or MacBook, which are significantly more expensive than their rival products
AirPower and AirPods Wireless Charging Case
Revealed alongside the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus in September 2017, the AirPower is an inductive charging mat that can wirelessly recharge Apple devices.
Apple is unlikely to market AirPower specifically to educational institutions, but rumours have hinted at a March release for the much-hyped device.
When it debuted the AirPower, Apple said it could charge Qi-based iPhones, Apple's wireless AirPod earphones and the Apple Watch Series 3 at the same time.
Some reports have suggested the firm will introduce a new charging case at tomorrow's event for its AirPods.
AirPods will have to be loaded into the revamped case to charge through the AirPower mat, according to some sources.
Images of the charging port revealed last September show a small box laying next to an iPhone X and Apple Watch Series 3, all charging at the same time.
Revealed in September 2017, the AirPower (pictured) is an inductive charging mat that can wirelessly recharge Apple devices. Apple said it could charge Qi-based iPhones (left), Apple's wireless AirPod earphones (right) and the Apple Watch Series 3 (centre) at the same time
Revamped Apple Pencil
The Apple Pencil, released in 2015, is a £100 ($140) digital stylus pen that works as an input device for the iPad Pro.
The Apple Pencil, released in 2015, is a £100 ($140) digital stylus pen that works as an input device for the iPad Pro
The invitation sent to members of the media for Tuesday's Apple event appears as if it were drawn using an Apple Pencil.
This has led some to speculate the firm may announce a new version of the stylus on Tuesday.
It's possible a lower-cost Apple Pencil could be introduced in tandem with the new low-cost iPad, which would be appealing to schools.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who often has insight into Apple's plans, said last week that he expects Apple Pencil shipments will rise to 9 to 10 million units in 2018 'given that the new low-cost iPad may support Apple Pencil.'
'In a bid to strengthen its selling points and to differentiate it more from low-price Android tablets, the new low-price 9.7-inch iPad (starting mass production in 2Q18) will likely support Apple Pencil,' he said.
IS APPLE BUILDING A STYLUS THAT CAN DRAW IN MID-AIR?
Apple recently filed a patent that shows off a stylus that can draw in mid-air.
The patent was originally filed in July 2016, but was made public January 18, 2018.
The pen-like device can be operated without a touch-sensitive device, such as a touchscreen tablet or smartphone .
It would have a force sensor in the tip of the device that detects whether it's lifting off or touching on a device.
A 'motion and orientation sensor,' such as a camera, would track the movement of the stylus. It seems plausible that the camera feed could come from a computer webcam.
Apple's current stylus, the Apple Pencil, is due for an upgrade since being released in September 2015.
It's unclear if Apple is actually building a stylus that draws in mid-air, but if it is, this could be the next generation stylus to follow the original Apple Pencil.
New iPhone X colours
Apple may unveil its flagship iPhone X and perhaps the cheaper iPhone 8 and 8 Plus models in new colours according to some reports.
Last week images surfaced of a 'blush gold' iPhone X model that the firm could announce at Tuesday's event.
Apple offered the iPhone X only in Silver and Space Gray at launch, and a new colour could lure more people to upgrade following the Christmas period.
At last year's March Apple event, the firm introduced a red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and it may release its newest smartphones in a similar colour scheme this year.
Apple could release a new version of its iPhone SE2, the company's smallest and cheapest smartphone (pictured)
Apple could release a new version of its iPhone SE2, the company's smallest and cheapest smartphone.
While some sources have suggested Apple is working on a new version of the gadget on Tuesday.
But KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo does not believe the firm has the spare development resources available to dedicate to an iPhone SE this year.
He said Apple is more likely focussing on three new smartphones that many believed will be announced in September.
New iPhone cases and Apple Watch bands
On top of new gadgets that could be announced in Chicago, Apple may also reveal new accessories for its current range of devices.
The company announced a new collection of spring Apple Watch band colours on March 21, which may go on sale following Tuesday's event.
Rumours have hinted at a new range of iPhone and iPad cases in refreshed colours that could be announced at the same time.
iOS 11.3 with ClassKit
iOS 11.3 is also nearing the end of its testing run and Apple has previously promised to release the software update in spring 2018.
The operating system update includes a new Classroom 2.2 app, which is designed to turn the iPad into an assistant device for schoolteachers.
iOS 11.3, due for release this spring, includes a new Classroom 2.2 app, which is designed to turn the iPad into an assistant device for schoolteachers (pictured)
Classroom is designed to help teachers deliver assignments to students and track their progress.
iOS 11.3 also features a ClassKit 'framework' to help developers build educational apps that teachers can use with the Classroom app.
While it is unlikely Apple will launch iOS 11.3 at tomorrow's event, experts have suggested the firm could announce a spring release date.
Other educational announcements
A host of other educational announcements are expected at the event, which Apple has said it will not livestream.
The company will likely provide an update on its Everyone Can Code curriculum for students - coding lessons Apple is running for schoolchildren across the US.
It also runs a dedicated App Development With Swift curriculum for US-based community colleges, which is a full-year coding course.
IS APPLE BUILDING A CRUMB-RESISTANT MACBOOK KEYBOARD?
Getting crumbs stuck down the back of your keyboard could soon be a thing of the past, according to a patent application from Apple.
The new design could resolve the issue of dust and dirt getting lodged in the gaps between shallow keys.
Brushes, wipers and flaps could block crumbs going down the space between keys and a 'bellows' effect could even force pesky crumbs out from under them.
Not only do these crumbs look disgusting but they can also result in the entire keyboard needing to be replaced.
The mechanism may consist of structures such as brushes, wipers, and flaps that block gaps around key caps. Pictured is a view of the potential keyboard from the patent
A cross section of a key assembly mechanism to prevent particles from reaching spaces underneath keys. Apple's patent application explains how funnels, skirts, bands or other guard structures coupled to key caps may block or direct contaminants away from areas under the key caps
The patent, which was published earlier this month, aims to protect Apple's laptop device from contaminants, including dust and liquid.
Residues from such liquids, such as sugar, can corrode or block electrical contacts and inhibit moving parts.
The mechanism could prevent damage to MacBook's and so limit the need for costly repairs.
The company files lots of patents and it is not known if this technology will ever be made available.
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