Apple has today announced the highly anticipated 2020 iPad Pro series, putting an end to several months of reports and rumors. The tablets introduce big upgrades across the board and arrive alongside an all-new keyboard accessory.
The most noticeable external change is the presence of a large iPhone 11 Pro-like camera system on the back of the 2020 iPad Pro tablets. But unlike Apple's premium smartphones, this unique system includes two cameras and a powerful 3D sensing system.
Apple has implemented a main 12-megapixel camera, seemingly borrowed from the previous-gen iPad Pro, alongside a new 10-megapixel ultra-wide-angle shooter that supports an impressive 124º field-of-view. These are paired with upgraded "studio-quality" mics and four speakers, as part of Apple's attempt to target professional filmmakers.
The highlight of the new camera experience and the most important implementation for Apple's long-term strategy is, however, the new LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) scanner. It determines distances by measuring how long it takes light to reach an object and reflect back and works both indoors and out from up to five meters away.
Future implementations of the technology on iPhone models may improve the portrait photography experience, but Apple is focusing this iPad Pro implementation on augmented reality, which is now even more realistic. Placing AR objects happens instantly and Apple says these objects can now pass in front of and behind real-world structures.
The iPad Pro also boasts improved motion capture and developers will be able to create even more immersive experiences. Apple says the new iPad Pro is the "world’s best device for augmented reality."
Ensuring the iPad Pro experience is a smooth as possible is the new Apple A12Z Bionic. The chipset offers the "highest performance ever in an iPad" thanks to an 8-core CPU and an 8-core GPU, alongside Apple's Neural Engine.
The company claims users can expect up to 10-hours of battery life on a single charge. LTE speeds should be up to 60% faster than on the previous model too.
In an attempt to improve productivity levels, Apple has also introduced an all-new Magic Keyboard case for the iPad Pro. The company describes it as having a "floating design with smooth angle adjustment" thanks to "unique cantilevered hinges" that allow it to adjust up to 130 degrees.
The Magic Keyboard attaches magnetically to the iPad Pro, meaning users won't have to worry about any attachment hassle, and makes use of Apple's new scissor switch mechanism which debuted on the 16-inch MacBook Pro last fall. Each individual key is backlit as well.
One of the biggest changes introduced by the Magic Keyboard is, however, the trackpad. Apple says iPadOS 13.4, which arrives on March 24, will introduce full trackpad support that has been completely "reimagined" for the iPad experience, rather than copied from MacOS.
Apple is developing its iWork suite of productivity apps to take full advantage of the trackpad. There will also be new templates in Pages and Keynote.
Last on the list of features is "USB-C pass through charging, keeping the USB-C port on iPad Pro free for accessories including external drives and displays."
The new iPad Pro series is available to purchase starting today and begins shipping as soon as Wednesday, March 25.
The 11-inch iPad Pro Wi-Fi model is available in Space Gray and Silver and starts at $799 with 128GB of storage. If that storage count isn't sufficient, pricier variants with 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB of storage are available for $899, $1,099, and $1,299 respectively.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro model, on the other hand, is also available in Space Gray and Silver but retails at $999 with 128GB of storage. The 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB models retail at $1,099, $1,299, and $1,499 respectively.
In both cases, LTE connectivity is available for an extra $150.
The new Magic Keyboard will be available at some point in May. The 11-inch version costs $299 whereas the 12.9-inch option retails at $349 and both are compatible with the 2018 iPad Pro models.
If you aren't interested in the new trackpad, Apple has announced a Smart Keyboard Folio that's available to buy today. It costs $179 and $199 for the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models respectively.