Apple\'s Event Calendar: When Is The Next Apple Event?

The pre-event build-up for most Apple press gatherings usually surrounds some shiny—and expensive—new toys, with all of us hoping for a few surprises.

But when that “special event” is in a Chicago high school and appears to be squarely focused on helping Apple regain its mojo in the classroom, we’re all left to ponder the possibility that Apple might actually play against type and become more aggressive on the prices of existing product lines, and less likely to wow us with something completely out of the blue.

How many school districts do you know of, after all, that have both the budget and the appetite to spend a bundle on pricey tech gear?

The upcoming event takes place on Tuesday, at Chicago's Lane Tech College Prep High School. Few details were offered in the invite, which said, "join us to hear creative new ideas for teachers and students."

More: Apple CEO Tim Cook wants to teach every Chicago public school student to code

There’s already been speculation that Apple will drop the entry tab for a 9.7-inch iPad to $259, down from a starting price of $329. I’m completely on board with that. It’s not like tablets have been flying off the shelves and a lower price makes the iPad more accessible to more people. 

But why stop there? I’d love for Apple to deliver more affordable Mac laptops as well, maybe in the form of a refreshed MacBook Air laptop priced in the $800 range, compared to $1000 where the Airs start now. Could we see that in Chicago? Maybe.

What’s less likely, I think, is that the Air, which hasn’t received an upgrade for quite some time, will get the higher-quality Retina display that is on Apple’s more robust and expensive MacBook Pro laptops. A Macbook Air with a Retina display has long been on my wish list.

Either way, appealing as the price sounds, an $800 MacBook Air is still a lofty sum for many students and schools to pay, especially when you compare it against $200 Chromebooks running Google’s Chrome OS, or notebooks running Windows 10, which may cost a little more.  

(Apple does offer modest student discounts on many products, including tablets and computers.)

Apple CEO Tim Cook  wants students to learn to code in schools. In 2016, the company launched the Everyone Can Code initiative. Apple is pushing its Swift programming language.

Such efforts potentially give Apple's hardware a competitive edge against Google. 

"Because of the nature of Chromebooks, when you're doing coding and computational learning, those entry level devices are not always compatible with some of the solutions out there," says Ben Davis, a senior market analyst for education at Futuresource Consulting.

Don't be surprised to see creative educational initiatives announced next week that attempt to exploit Apple's push into augmented reality.

I expect (and want) Apple to add the Face ID facial recognition system that’s on the iPhone X to its laptops, but I’m not betting that will happen in Chicago, and certainly not on the least expensive Macs.

At the event, we might see Face ID on premium iPad Pro models, as well as the animated "animoji" feature that debuted on the Phone X.

Of course expensive iPad Pro models might be overkill for students and schools. Right now, a 10.5-inch Pro model fetches $649 and a 12.9-inch version for $799.

What's more, such prices don’t factor in the $159 or $169 you’d have to pay for Apple’s Smart Keyboard accessory, or the $99 you’d surrender for the Apple Pencil stylus.

a hand holding a knife: In 2015 Apple also released the the Apple Pencil which allowed users to write and draw directly on the iPad Pro's multi-touch display. © Apple In 2015 Apple also released the the Apple Pencil which allowed users to write and draw directly on the iPad Pro's multi-touch display.

If you are a student using an iPad Pro in lieu of a laptop for your studies, you almost certainly will need that accessory keyboard—which still doesn’t measure up to a really good laptop keyboard. You'll likely want that Pencil too, for drawing, sketching or scribbling notes.  

Much as I'd like to see it, I'm hardly optimistic that Apple will no longer charge extra for the keyboard and Pencil, and instead include both (or at least one or the other) with the purchase of an iPad Pro.

So the next best thing would be to deeply discount such accessories.

Meanwhile, a brand new Pencil might be in the offing, perhaps one that will not only be compatible with iPad Pros but cheaper iPads as well. I'd be good with that. Apple did seem to offer some hints that a new Pencil could be coming: its invitation to Apple’s Chicago event looks like it could have been drawn with an Apple Pencil.

Apart from hardware and a push to get kids to code, you can expect Apple next week to spend time talking about educational apps based on its ClassKit framework, part of the iOS 11.3 software that will soon emerge out of beta shortly. 

All this is well and good. But I’m still hoping Apple will earn extra credit by wowing us with subjects that we don’t expect.

Email:; Follow USA TODAY Personal Tech Columnist @edbaig on Twitter

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Apple\'s Event Calendar: When Is The Next Apple Event?


Apple\'s Event Calendar: When Is The Next Apple Event?

Apple\'s Event Calendar: When Is The Next Apple Event?


Apple\'s Event Calendar: When Is The Next Apple Event?