Apple iPad Pro (2018) is now official: the new models offer huge updates, combine productivity with portability

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Well, well, Apple held its anticipated October event today and, lo and behold, the rumors were true — we got an update to the iPad Pro family to get all giddy for! An updated design language that echoes the 2018 iPhone look, and a number of small but significant improvements, it's a definite head-turner.

So, what's new about the new iPad Pros? Let's check them out!

Design: the thinning!

Apple is jumping in the anti-bezel war guns blazing. After launching three new all-screen iPhones this year, it now does the same for its iPad Pro line. The 10.5-inch sized version of the tablet has been upgraded to have an 11-inch display, surrounded by a thin frame. The 12.9-inch variant benefits from having its body slimmed down — that'd make the gargantuan tablet a little bit easier on the eyes and hands.

The screens are still LCD panels — there's no switch to OLED here, at least not yet. Apple calls them Liquid Retina displays, as it does with the iPhone XR's screen. And, if we go by Apple's past products, these should treat us to accurate colors and beautiful imagery. Of course, True Tone and Night Shift make a return to make the screens easy on the eyes, no matter the environmental luminance.

You will notice that, with the thin bezels, there's no room for an actual home button or Touch ID. And yes, you guessed it, the new iPad Pro models sport Face ID — Apple's proprietary face-recognition tech, which was introduced with the iPhone X last year.

It's worth noting that the new iPads don't have a glass back, which is cool. There's no wireless charging, so no need to replace the soft feel of a matte-finished aluminum with that of a sticky or slippery glass panel. No need for the added weight, either.

Last but not least, the tablet has a total of 102 tiny magnets positioned inside its body, all made to snap on to its respectable accessories, such as the Smart Keyboard and the new Apple Pencil. Yes, you will now be able to simply snap the Pencil on to the iPad Pro, instead of wondering where to store it, and it will charge wirelessly, too!

Software: iOS 12 was already hinting at this

Of course, the newest iPads will launch with the newest iOS build. But, of course, we already have access to iOS 12 on a ton of older iDevices — iPads and iPhones from years back. Installing iOS 12 on our older iPads already had us thinking that we might see a shrinking of the bezels. Why? Well, it's got a brand-new gesture-based interface.

Mirroring the way you would use the iPhone XS, the new iPad Pros make up for the lack of a home button with an entirely gesture-controllable UI. Swipe up from the bottom to get the App Dock, but continue swiping and you get multitasking. Swipe down from the top-right and you get Control Center, while pulling down from the top-middle or top-left will drop the notifications shade.

Of course, the iPads have Split View and Slide Over multitasking, which makes great use of the large screen real estate by running 2 or even 3 apps on the screen.

Hardware: Pro-grade power

In typical Apple fashion, the new iPads have a slightly upgraded version of the latest iPhone chip. Called the Apple A12X Bionic, the new System-on-Chip has 8 CPU cores and 7 GPU cores. To showcase its power, Apple showed the iPad Pro operating a full-blown version of Adobe Photoshop on stage — optimized for touch interface, of course, but still running the Photoshop engine. The app will be available in 2019 and we'll see if it's an iPad Pro 2018 exclusive when it hits the App Store.

Of course, things like the quad speaker setup make a return, but here's something new for Apple mobile products — a USB Type-C port replaces the proprietary Lightning port at the bottom of the tablet! Now, that's a big deal for two reasons. One, it's interesting to see how much options for 3rd party accessories this will actually open. Apple already promised that the USB Type-C would be able to power external monitors and connect to pro equipment like cameras, which is a pretty huge deal for the iPad family. But two, we already have tons and tons of accessories, controllers, and other niche devices made specifically to connect to Apple's Lightning. Needless to say, a lot of users that invested in said items might feel a bit sour about this change. We assume USB Type-C to Lightning adapters will be a hot topic among iPad users over the next couple of years.

But that's not all — the iPad Pro (2018) models will also be able to charge out of that USB Type-C port. So, for example, if you own a USB Type-C Lightning cable (sold separately), you will be able to charge your iPhone by using the iPad as a power bank.

In terms of storage, we have 4 tiers to choose from — both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch models come in variations of 64 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and the impressive (and costly) 1 TB of storage.


On the back, the two new iPads have a 12 MP camera with a lens aperture of F1.8. On paper, that sounds a lot like the sensor we had on the 2017 iPad Pros. However, on the new models, we get Smart HDR — Apple's own take on HDR+, which was just introduced with the iPhone XS and XR last month. Also, the TrueDepth camera on the front unlocks Selfie Portrait as well as the use of Animoji and Memoji on the iPad. 


The two official iPad Pro accessories are making a return, of course. The new Apple Pencil is only compatible with this new generation of Apple tablets — you will recognize it by the groove that runs along its side. It attaches magnetically to the iPad Pro 2018's side and gets charged that way. In contrast, the old Apple Pencil needed to be plugged into the iPad's Lightning port in order to charge up. Of course, since there's no more Lightning on these models, you can't use the old Pencil here.

The new Smart Keyboard enhances the experience with two viewing angles. Everything snaps into place magnetically for ease of use and less fiddling around.

Price and release

Both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch 2018 iPad Pro models are available for pre-order starting today and will begin shipping on the 7th of November. Pricing starts at $799 for the 11-inch variant and $999 for the 12.9-inch model and tops out at $1,549 and $1,749 respectively for the 1 TB variants. Add $150 if you want to have an LTE radio inside.

As for the accessories, that'll be $179 for the 11-inch Smart Keyboard, $199 for the 12.9-inch one, and $129 for the new Apple Pencil. And, as we mentioned, you can't use your old Pencil with these new iPads.

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