, Apple has just made its latest upgrades to the iPad Pro
line official at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The iPad Pro 12.9-inch
is an upgrade to the original iPad Pro
from way back in 2015, while the smaller, 10.5-inch model supersedes last year’s 9.7-inch outing
Unlike what some leaks have previously suggested, the standalone Touch ID is still there in its full glory, and the visual design is pretty similar to the previous generation. However, there's some serious changes going on under the hood, both in terms of hardware and software, so let's dive in:
First of all, there's the displays, which Apple calls "the most advanced displays on the planet." They now support a wide color gamut and a much higher brightness of 600 nits, meaning you can freely enjoy HDR content, while the lower reflectivity will ensure you won't be distracted by unnecessary reflections. But the biggest new feature here is what Apple calls ProMotion: in simple terms, the displays now support a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz, but can also automatically switch to a lower one when needed to conserve battery.
Also, the new displays will also work better with the Apple Pencil
, which now offers "industry-leading" latency of just 20 ms. New features will be added to iOS 11 to make use of it as well, with a new feature called Instant Notes letting users take notes directly from their lock screen, as well as inline drawing inside apps such as Notes and Mail.
The new iPads are powered by a new A10X Fusion chip, which offers up to 30 percent better CPU performance compared to the last generation. But graphics performance is upgraded as well, and is reportedly 40 percent better than its predecessor. The new chip has a six-core configuration, with three low- and three high-powered cores switching on and off in accordance with the current processing load.
The camera is also upgraded to the same setup as the one found in the iPhone 7
(not the iPhone 7 Plus
, mind you). So this means that all features found on Apple's current flagship phone will now also be available on iPads as well.
Apple also promised the same 10 hour battery life as the previous generation of iPad Pros. A big change, however, is the long-awaited move to bigger minimum storage options: the smallest available amount of storage is now 64 GB. Other available variants will include a 256 GB and a 512 GB-equipped units.
The new iPad Pro models will feature the same camera as the one in the iPhone 7
The new iPads will initially ship with iOS 10, but the iOS 11 update will be available immediately upon release. This is very good news, as the new iOS version brings a number of new features to the iPad line. These include the much-coveted split-screen multitasking, which will also support a brand-new drag-and-drop functionality between apps. Also, the app switcher now has the ability to remember open app pairings, instead of just singular apps.
But what will most probably immediately draw the user's attention is the new, customizable dock, which is a big improvement over the current implementation, offering quick access to frequently used apps and files from any app.
But all the other new iOS 11 features will make it in as well, including the new, ARKit-enabled augmented reality experiences, more Siri functionality, machine learning-powered personalization, as well as the upgrades to the App Store, Apple Pay, Camera, and other apps. For the full list, however, make sure to check out our full iOS 11 new feature writeup
Pricing and availability
The latest iPad Pros will be available for pre-order as of today, and will start shipping next week, with the smaller, 10.5-inch version starting at $649, while its bigger sibling will start at $799. As is usual, models both with and without cellular connectivity will be released, with the cellular-equipped ones respectively costing $779 and $929 at minimum.
Apple also announced a few new accessories to the iPad Pro line, including a USB-C to Lightning cable, an SD card reader, and a USB camera adapter. A full-size smart keyboard will also be released soon, with support for 30 languages, while a new Leather Sleeve will be available for both models in a variety of colors.
Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch