It was very big news as thousands of journalists crowded into an auditorium recently to watch a very big computer company launch a very big tablet for a very big price. Much less of a splash happened on the other side of the Atlantic, where Raspberry Pi launched a 7-inch display.

Yes, you've heard of Apple, but Raspberry Pi? It's a tiny little computer that was designed as a teaching tool but took off among hobbyists and nerds everywhere, selling for a totally ridiculous $35.

raspberry pi rearRear view of Pi on screen, base not included (Photo: Raspberry Pi)

The new touchscreen display certainly won't make Apple nervous, with its 800 x 480 resolution. The new iPad is 12.9 inches at 2732 x 2048. But the Raspberry Pi display costs only $60. You can stick a Pi on the back and have a full working tablet computer for less than the cost of the new Apple Pencil. Seriously, I spent half the price of that display just buying an HDMI to VGA adaptor to connect my Pi to my monitor.

It's not hard to do put together, either, as you can see in this video:

Other important technical stats include that it is 24 bit color with a 70-degree viewing angle and 10-point capacitive touchscreen. But the real wonder of it all is not the tech specs, but the underlying mission of the people and organization behind the Raspberry Pi: to make affordable and accessible computers as teaching tools for kids who can't get under the hoods (or bonnets, as they might say in Cambridge)

We don’t claim to have all the answers. We don’t think that the Raspberry Pi is a fix to all of the world’s computing issues; we do believe that we can be a catalyst. We want to see affordable, programmable computers everywhere. We want to break the paradigm where without spending hundreds of pounds on a PC, families can’t use the internet. We want owning a truly personal computer to be normal for children, and we’re looking forward to what the future has in store.

Raspberry p screenNo, that's not the new iPad. It's something else entirely. (Photo: Raspberry Pi)

Having a cheap touchscreen just makes it that much easier. So head down to your local online Pi Shoppe and build yourself an entire working computer including display for under $100. It won't come Rose Gold Aluminium like the Apple does, but you can at least open the case yourself and learn how it works.

Lloyd Alter ( @lloydalter ) writes about smart (and dumb) tech with a side of design and a dash of boomer angst.