There’s great news for people who have been hoping for an inexpensive but full-size Apple tablet: a 9.7-inch iPad that will sell for $329 has just been announced.
UPDATE: This new model can now be pre-ordered on Apple.com/iPad.
Despite the low price, this model apparently won’t have many compromises. For example, it’s 9.7-inch screen has a 2048×1536 resolution and 264 ppi pixel density, the same as the 9.7 Inch iPad Pro that starts at $599. It’s built around an aluminum unibody enclosure and comes it at just over one pound.
Surprisingly, it includes a 3.5 mm headset port, something the most recent iPads model eschewed. Apple may be targeting this lower-cost device at schools which demand a standard headset port. Adding strength to this theory is Logitech’s announcement of a keyboard case designed for this model and available only in the education market.
This upcoming tablet will be scaled back a bit in some areas. It has an Apple A9 processor, for example, not the A9X that’s currently in the Pro series. The amount of RAM has not yet been revealed, but it’s likely to be less than the 2 GB that’s in the more expensive device. And it will have two speakers, not four.
More $329 Full-Size iPad Specs
Apple’s next tablet will be 9.4 by 6.6 by 0.29 inches, so just slightly bigger and heavier than the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. It will be offered in silver, gold, and space grey.
Its Home button includes a Touch ID fingerprint scanner. This is located near the Lightning port.
On the back of the next iPad version will be an 8-megapixel autofocus camera, while the video-conferencing camera has a 1.2 MP resolution.
Dual-band Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac) and Bluetooth 4.2 are in all models, but those willing to pay $130 more can get versions with built-in 4G LTE.
iPad Pricing and Availability
The $329 version comes with 32GB of built-in storage. A version with 128 GB of capacity will also be available. As mentioned, adding LTE will increase the price by $130.
Pre-orders for this budget iPad begin Friday, March 24. Apple says it will begin delivering the product the following week.