Apple announces thinner, more powerful 11in and 12.9in tablets with new gestures, processor, Apple Pencil and magnetic keyboard
Tim Cook launches the new iPad Pros, which have Apple’s Face ID facial-recognition system mounted in the bezel around the display.
Apple has unveiled new a new line of iPad Pros with updated all-screen design, USB-C and Face ID at a launch in New York, dumping the home button for iPhone X-like gestures.
The new 11in iPad Pro has a larger new Liquid Retina Display screen squeezed into the body of the 10.5in iPad, while the new 12.9in iPad Pro has the same sized screen with a smaller body that Apple said is almost identical in size to an 8.5in x 11in piece of paper.
The new iPad Pros are just 5.9mm thick but have Apple’s Face ID facial-recognition system mounted in the bezel around the display, which works when the tablet is in landscape, portrait or attached to a keyboard. The home button has been replaced by Apple’s swiping gestures first introduced last year with the iPhone X.
The new tablets have a more powerful version of Apple’s latest processor that came with the iPhone XS. Apple said the new eight-core A12X Bionic is 35% faster for single-core operations than the last iPad Pro and 90% faster for multi-core processing, and it was also faster than 92% of mobile PCs sold in the last year.
The firm also said its latest 7-core graphics processor in the new iPad Pro is capable of Xbox One S-level graphics but in a mobile device. The A12X Bionic also ships with the neural engine from the iPhone, which helps with AI-processing for things such as augmented reality.
Gone too is the Lightning Connector, which has been used on iPhones and iPads since 2012, replaced with USB-C for both charging and data. Apple said that the USB-C port can be used for connecting to external displays, storage devices and other accessories, but can also be used to charge an iPhone with the appropriate cable.
Tim Cook introduces the new iPad Pro.
Alongside the new iPad, Apple launched a new Smart Keyboard Folio accessory, which magnetically attaches to the bottom and the back of the tablet and holds it at one of two angles for typing.
Apple also updated the Apple Pencil to make it attach magnetically to the top of the screen of the new iPad Pro, where it instantly pairs with the tablet and charges wirelessly.
The new Apple Pencil can also be tapped to switch modes, between tools such as drawing and erasing, replicating the buttons that most other styluses have for PCs and tablets.
The original 12.9in iPad Pro was introduced in 2015 as Apple’s attempt to provide a tablet that can get “real work” done, rather than simply being a media consumption device.
It launched with the original Apple Pencil stylus, something Steve Jobs famously said was never needed because humans have fingers, and a keyboard case accessory that magnetically clipped into the Smart Connector on the bottom of the tablet, but only held it at one angle.
The 12.9in model was joined by a smaller 9.7in iPad Pro, which mirrored the design of the iPad Air 2. Both models were refreshed in 2017 with a replacement 12.9in and new 10.5in iPad Pro.
But this new iPad Pro marks the most ambitious attempt by Apple to make the iPad Pro more and more a next-generation computer. Showing off Adobe’s full Photoshop and several other desktop-class applications.
The 11in iPad Pro starts at $799 with 64GB of storage and the 12.9in with 64GB costs $999 in the US, available for pre-order today and shipping on 7 November.