New iPad 2018: release date, news and leaks

We're just days away from the first big Apple launch of 2018, and word on the web is that it's going to be another new iPad.

But this one is going to be different to the iPads from before, in that it's going to be even cheaper and – if you read into the most recent Apple invite – it's not going to be aimed at consumers.

That's right, there's an outside chance you won't even be able to buy this iPad, although it's probably going to be available for sale in certain locations and could just be the new budget way to get into Apple's tablet ecosystem.

But before we go too far into that – and give away one of the most surprising features of this new device – let's break it down bit-by-bit so you can get a proper taste of what we expect from Apple on March 27.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? A new, low-cost iPad for schools and business
  • When is it out? Likely April 2018
  • What will it cost? Probably at least $259 / £249 / AU$350

New iPad 2018 release date and price

The invite above, for an event in Chicago on March 27, drops a lot of hints about when we can expect from the event.

The main thing is the actual location: a fancy high school in Chicago, and a note saying that we're going to see new creative ideas for teachers and students.

There's not mention of new hardware – come on, this is an Apple invite, after all – but the invitation has clearly been written in the style of Apple's Pencil swipes and swooshes, so it's pretty clear there's a new iPad approaching.

That date means we'll be getting the new iPad somewhen in April if the usual 10-day-to-two-weeks model is followed, with pre-orders beginning somewhen in between that… if indeed you can buy this from retail stores, as the new iPad 2018 might be for education only.

In terms of price, we're hearing rumors that it could be pretty cheap, with the cost all the way down to US$259 (converted to £190 or AU$340, but more likely £249 / AU350 based on the way Apple's been pricing things).

The current model starts at US$329, so that's a drop of more than 20 percent.

The Apple Pencil

Here's the interesting thing – we've been hearing that Apple is gearing up to increase the volume of its Apple Pencil production, almost doubling it up to 10 million units… so it's going to need to put them somewhere.

Where better than alongside a new iPad that's going to be used by more and more schools (if Apple actually makes this move a success)?

That theory looks more robust as it seems the new iPad 2018 will indeed support the Apple Pencil, giving it more scope to be used beyond the iPad Pro range.

There are rumors that the Apple Pencil support will even extend to future iPhones, but that's not on the cards for now (and we're not sure it's part of the vision Steve Jobs had for the iPhone…)

New iPad 2018 screen

Details are starting to get a little thinner here, but given the new iPad 2018 is supposed to be a little cheaper, we can extrapolate some ideas.

Firstly, there's going to have to be a digitiser layer underneath the glass that can read the Apple Pencil – that's not going to make a difference to the look of the iPad, but it's another layer and does add to the cost.

That means we probably won't see any of the True Tone display technology that's been coming to the iPad Pro range, where the sensors match the white balance of the screen with the surrounding light.

Resolution on the likely LCD screen will probably match that of the entry level iPad from last year at 1536×2048, and we'd anticipate it won't be the highest-quality color reproduction Apple has ever offered in an iPad as the focus will be slightly more on function.

But the screen will still be in the standard 4:3 ratio and offer Apple's staple 9.7-inch display size, with larger bezels all around if everything appears as expected.


Again, we've had no leaks about the design of the new iPad, but given the way Apple is adept at repurposing older designs for cheaper models (think the iPhone SE and iPhone 5C) it's fairly easy to see that the model we are likely to see on March 27 is going to be something quite familiar.

In fact, we're willing to bet that the event will be more about what you can do with the device than the specs on board, so expect something that looks almost identical to the iPad 2017, so a metal back and rounded corners.

The thickness of the iPad from 2017 was something we weren't super impressed by, but we expect that to continue – and don't expect there to be masses of storage in there, as the cloud is more likely to be a destination for all the content on these devices.

We'd expect Apple to unveil more iCloud storage for students – so if this does also get sold as a retail unit, it'll be a pretty basic one, in the same way we see Chromebooks these days.

New iPad 2018 power and OS

The operating system is the easy one here – it'll be iOS 11.3, as Apple always uses an event to debut some new feature of what its devices can do.

There's word that the new software contains something called ClassKit, which doesn't need a lot of analysis given we're expecting these iPads to be used for students and they'll need new software.

The question is which processor Apple will chuck in the new – it could well still with the A9 chipset that powered the iPad last year.

That would leave it quite underpowered (although would help with the cost reduction) and we can see Apple making a huge deal about the new things you can do to learn with these iPads – including 3D rendering of items for more interactive education.

We're going to guess at the A10 chip from last year being used, but don't be surprised if the teardown reveals a poorer engine and less RAM than we're used to.

What else should I know?

Well, the first thing you should know is that TechRadar is going to be liveblogging this event for you as there's no stream to watch it from… so you're going to want to check back on the site on Tuesday March 27, when the event will be covered in depth from when it kicks off at 8AM PT, 11AM ET and 4PM GMT.

Beyond that, the main difference on this iPad is its use in the classroom, so there could well be an appearance from the Smart Connector for low-power accessories, turning the tablet into a word processor with a snap on keyboard.

There could also be new options on show, which would please iPad Pro users, but again this would add cost to a device Apple will be looking to lower the price of.

So, make sure you keep it locked to TechRadar to get all you need about the new iPad 2018 – we'll be doing our utmost to be among the very first on the web to bring you information on the new tablet, so you can decide whether it's your next purchase (if you can, that is).

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The HTC U12 Plus will be HTC’s only flagship smartphone of 2018

HTC's future smartphone strategy has been rather up in the air ever since Google bought part of the phone division at HTC, including the team that worked on the Pixel phones. Now we've got some kind of clarity, for this year at least: the upcoming HTC U12 Plus will be the firm's only flagship of 2018.

That's according to "a trusted source" speaking to HTC Source. Apparently HTC wants to streamline its phone operations going forward, and has ditched the idea of revealing a second flagship around October or November (like the HTC U11 Plus).

So this year HTC is coming straight out of the gate with the full-fat, high-spec Plus model, rather than saving it for later in the year. It should make choosing a phone easier for consumers at least, with fewer handsets to pick from and no minor upgrades coming down the line to worry about.

Shifting strategy

We're anticipating that the HTC 12 Plus is going to break cover during May, and those in the know say it's going to be released across the world at the same time. There's also word that the company is going to use some of the billion or so dollars it picked up from Google to make sure the 2018 flagship is aggressively marketed.

Plenty of other phone makers, including Samsung, LG and OnePlus, release two or three flagship phones every year, usually with small spec and feature upgrades to tempt in new buyers. It sounds like that's not a game HTC wants to play any more.

All this chimes in with previous reports predicting that HTC would scale down its phone operations, perhaps to focus more on its virtual reality hardware and other interests. We've already seen a couple of mid-rangers from HTC this year in the form of the HTC Desire 12 and 12 Plus, so with the HTC U12 Plus that could be that for HTC mobiles in 2018.

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How to watch Australia Grand Prix online: F1 live stream

The wait is finally over for race nuts as the 2018 Formula One season gets underway in Australia.

The teams (and thousands of F1 fans) head to Melbourne's Albert Park circuit this weekend in high expectation of another hugely exciting season, which will see the world's top racers go head-to-head in 21 races around the globe.

Following his dominance of last year's championship, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes will start the season as overwhelming favourites to take both titles again. However Ferrari and Red Bull will be chasing hard, as always, with Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen looking to topple Hamilton.

This year's championship is also notable for being the first full season of the sport under control of new F1 owners Liberty Media, who have ambitious plans to widen the race's appeal – with better media support among the top priorities. 

All of this combines to make 2018 a hugely exciting year for Formula One, so how can you keep up with all the action?

If you've not managed to get tickets for the race, and can't get to a TV, here is TechRadar's guide to watching all the Australian Grand Prix action online, wherever you are in the world.

1. How to watch Australian Grand Prix online

This is the best way to watch the Australian Grand Prix online – from absolutely anywhere in the world – without any commercial breaks:

2. How to watch the Australian Grand Prix in the UK in its entirety:

If you’re in the UK and if you have a TV licence, then Channel 4's All4 platform is the way to go. 

You'll need to sign up to gain access, but registration is free and straightforward. All4 can be accessed on a range of devices including tablets, mobile phones, personal computers and Smart TVs. 

Formula One 2018 is also being shown on Sky Sports F1, with 11 races exclusively live on the channel.

Live action of all the races is available online to Sky customers with a subscription to Sky Sports F1, as well as access to a mobile device with the Sky Go app. 

Lastly, users without a Sky Sports subscription can purchase a day, week or month pass using Now TV. A daily pass costs £7.99, and is available on more than 60 devices, including TV, mobile phones, and games consoles, and you can register up to four of them.

3. How to watch Australian Grand Prix in the US in its entirety:

As mentioned above, if you're not based in the UK and want to watch the Australian Grand Prix live, you won't be able to access the Channel 4 live coverage without using a VPN.

In the US, NBC Sports will be showing live coverage of every race weekend throughout the season.

You'll need an NBC cable subscription to get access, but once you do, you'll get access to NBC's Formula One Live Extra platform, which gives you live coverage and highlights on your smart TV or mobile device.

Stay safe during the Australian Grand Prix

Photos courtesy of

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I flew a drone with my brain – but that’s only the beginning

You’ve tried moving things with your mind. I know you have. Everyone has. Maybe you just watched Star Wars, or Matilda, or X-Men, and thought ‘What if I’m the one? What if I’ve got the gift?’

Well, I can proudly say that I have moved something using my mind. Unfortunately I haven’t developed true telekenetic powers; rather I used an EEG headset that measured my brain waves to activate a drone. 

I achieved this feat at the Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) in Dubai, with the help of consumer neuroscience company Emotiv.

Brain training

The system works by training the headset to pick up on a sustained thought pattern, then associating those brainwaves with the drone taking off. Interestingly, it’s not a case of thinking ‘up’ or ‘fly’, but whatever thought you want, so you could think of a color and it would learn that pattern.

I started by doing a ‘base level’ test during which I was supposed to think of nothing (which I struggle with), and then the person guiding me through the experience moved on to the ‘active’ section. 

All I could think of was the bit in The Dark Knight Rises where all the prisoners in Bane’s hole are chanting for Batman to rise. Rise. Rise!

Such focus

Then the training was over and I was ready to use my new techno-powers… and nothing happened. ‘Rise’ I thought. ‘Rise!’

The person helping me chipped in: “Relax and take a breath.” I hadn’t even realized how tense I was. I took a deep breath, let go of some body tension, and the drone took off!

The controls were pretty binary, with ‘on/off/land’ being the only options, and I didn’t get to the stage of doing a soft landing. I could only make the drone fly dramatically up into the air, then stop and plummet back to the ground.

Becoming a digital jedi

The experience didn’t allow for any nuance of directional control, but it was the simplest demo version of the technology, and the headset is already capable of a lot more. 

We took a couple of minutes to sit down with Olivier Oullier, a professor of behaviour and brain sciences, and the president of Emotiv, to talk about what the headset is capable of, and the future of EEG technology:

“This is a simplified experience because people need to be able to control the object with their mind in a few seconds,” Ouillier told us. “For centuries people have been using their hands, their body, and now sound to control computers. What we’re doing is democratizing access to brain health and brain-computer interfaces.

“Basically we’re transforming anyone into a Jedi. Any connected object, we can talk to, with the brain, using our interface.”

And that last point is pretty significant when thinking about the rise of connected devices. More and more of us are filling our homes with smart light bulbs, smart thermostats, smart televisions and other gadgets. 

And people are already using the Emotiv headset to control these devices. There are YouTube videos of people using the headset to control their TV. Oullier told us about someone who controls their Philips Hue lights with it. And there’s one user who’s totally paralzsed who is using the device to write emails.

Added to how utterly brilliant that is for the disabled community, it raises an interesting point about a potential future application: AR glasses. Currently, with devices like Hololens, you have to do some (fairly odd-looking) gestural commands. 

Imagine if you could just think your notifications away as they pop up in your field of vision. Or reply to a text message without having to use your hands or your voice. The reality is that it’s possible. And not that far away.

“Part of what we’re doing with the drone here is to show how casual brain-computer interface is,” Ouillier adds. “The technology is here. It’s not science fiction, it’s science in action.”

So how far away are we from a set of glasses that give you telekinetic powers? “A problem at the moment is form factor,” Ouillier says. “The research headset, it’s not the most convenient thing to put on your head. But there are a couple of things that people don’t mind putting on their head. And it’s going to come out soon.”

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Up to 2m people were using Spotify’s premium services for free

Earlier this month we got news that Spotify was cracking down on the use of authorized apps – apps that gave people some of the premium features for free – and new documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have now revealed the full extent of the problem.

According to the revised filings, 2 million people were getting something for nothing out of Spotify, so it's no surprise that the company decided to take action. The figures have been published as Spotify prepares to go public on the New York Stock Exchange.

Those 2 million users represent 1.3 percent of the total userbase, so it's not a good look for a company that wants to attract outside investment. According to the documents, Spotify now has 157 million users in total across the world, with 71 million of those paying the $9.99/£9.99 a month subscription fee.

No more free lunch

By installing apps freely available on the web, which tinker with Spotify's code, these couple of million users were able to get around some of the restrictions of a free account – they could stop ads from popping up between songs for example, and unlock an unlimited number of skips.

"We detected abnormal activity on the app you are using so we have disabled it," read the message Spotify sent out to users of these hacked apps a few weeks ago. "Don't worry – your Spotify account is safe."

Spotify went on to say it would suspend and terminate accounts that didn't comply. So far it hasn't said how successful its crackdown on unauthorized apps has been, or how many of those 2 million users have gone back to being good streaming music citizens.

Via Variety

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