Apple announced this week via media invitations that it will hold an education-focused keynote event at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 27 at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago.
Apple sent out press invites on Friday, including one to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. The invites, titled “let’s take a field trip,” claim that the keynote will cover “creative new ideas for teachers and students.”
The event is fairly unusual, since Apple typically holds keynotes in the Bay Area in California — either at its Apple Park headquarters or at nearby convention centers similar to WWDC. Similarly, this is the first specifically education-focused event Apple has held since 2012.
It’s not currently known whether Apple will unveil any new hardware or software offerings at the event, but since it’s taking place this month, the company could certainly use the event to announce products that are rumored to be in the pipeline for a March release.
There are a handful of rumored devices and software updates that could fit nicely into an educational theme.
Apple could use the event to show off a new development toolkit that has been added in beta versions of iOS 11.3. The framework, dubbed ClassKit, is aimed toward developing education applications. Based on the theme of the event, this is a pretty likely bet — and it could suggest that iOS 11.3 will roll out around March 27.
On the hardware side, Apple could announce its rumored lower-cost 9.7-inch iPad device. The device, reportedly priced at an ultra-affordable $259, could fit well into the budget of students and parents. A new Apple Pencil with support for the aforementioned 9.7-inch iPad could also be debuted at the event, since the press invites itself seems Pencil-esque.
Similarly, Apple is rumored to be on the verge of releasing a “more affordable,” 13-inch MacBook or MacBook Air device. While reports differ on cost, they suggest that the notebook could start anywhere from $799 to $999.
Additionally, there are a couple other devices rumored to launch in March that don’t necessarily fit into the educational theme.
That includes a rumored successor to the iPhone SE. The device is supposedly a lower-cost iPhone with a 4-inch form factor and incremental hardware upgrades — so no “modern iPhone” features. Additionally, a handful of reports claim that Apple will unveil its AirPower wireless charging mat and its second-generation AirPods case with wireless charging support this month.
Of course, while those devices aren’t necessarily education-focused, Apple could still announce or expand on them at its event.
Apple offers a range of educational platforms already, including its iTunes U course teaching tool, a classwork management app called Classroom, and a book-designing platform dubbed iBooks Author. The company has also placed particular focus on teaching young students how to code with its Swift Playground platform.