Apple in New York on Tuesday announced the launch of the much-awaited refresh to its iPad Pro range of premium tablets. The new iPad Pro comes in two sizes — 11-inch and 12.9-inch — with upgrades including a sleeker design, thinner bezels, no home button, support for Face ID technology with Animoji/ Memoji, a faster Apple A12X Bionic chip, a USB Type-C port instead of the proprietary Lightning port, and a 7-core Apple graphics chip. Notably, this is the first iOS device to sport the USB Type-C connector port, but it doesn't have a headphone jack. The Apple Pencil has also received its first upgrade since 2015 and now comes with a new design alongside wireless charging support magnetically attaching to the new iPad Pro.
Both the iPad Pro 11-inch and 12.9-inch variants will be sold in 64GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB storage options. The 11-inch model starts at $799 (roughly Rs. 58,800) in the US, while the 12.9-inch variant gets a starting price of $999 (around Rs. 73,500). In India, the 11-inch iPad Pro starts at Rs. 71,900, while the bigger model will retail starting at Rs. 89,900. The iPad Pro pre-orders in the US start today (and 40 other countries and regions), on October 30, with availability from November 7. India is not amongst the first wave of launch countries, but instead Apple has said it will launch the tablets in the country "later this year".
Apple claims that it has sold 400 million iPad units to date, making it the “most popular tablet in the world”. The tech giant also unveiled the latest MacBook Air and Mac mini models at the launch event.
Called the biggest change since the original iPad, the all-new iPad Pro sports 11-inch and 12.9-inch LCD ProMotion Liquid Retina Display panels with rounded corners using the pixel masking technology used in the iPhone XR. The smaller variant fits in the same footprint as the iPad Pro 10.5-inch model from last year. The new 12.9-inch model is smaller than last year's variant. They carry forward the same 120Hz refresh rates. Both models are about 5.9mm thick.
The all-new iPad Pro models are powered by the company's latest in-house Apple A12X Bionic 7nm SoC. The SoC has an 8-core CPU and a 7-core GPU, the latter offers 2x the graphics performance compared to last year's Apple A11X. The new SoC has more than 10 billion transistors. The iPad Pro now comes with up to 1TB of inbuilt storage.
For the first time on an iPad, the iPad Pro 2018 models get a neural engine in the A12X Bionic chip. This allows for the implementation of machine learning to help you access UI elements and apps in an enhanced manner.
Face ID is new to the iPad Pro series in 2018. Face ID is enabled by the TrueDepth camera, housed on the tablet's top bezel. Face ID brings support for Animoji and Memoji, and it works in both portrait and landscape mode, unlike the iPhone models. The iPad Pro 2018 models come with support for iPhone X-like gesture navigation, due to the departure of the home button. This is also the first iOS device to sport a USB Type-C port for charging, data transfer, and external connectivity.
The new iPad Pro models no longer ship with the 3.5mm headphone jack. No Type-C to 3.5mm audio dongle is bundled in the box either. Additionally, the iPad Pro can act as a power bank and charge your iPhone using a USB Type-C to Lighting cable.
There is a 12-megapixel rear camera sensor with improved True Tone LED flash and support for 4K video recording at 60fps on the new iPad Pro. The premium tablet claims to offer the same 10-hour battery life and comes with a bundled 18W power adapter. As for audio, the new iPad Pro models come with a four speaker setup that houses two woofers and two tweeters offering wider stereo sound.
The second-generation Apple Pencil comes with a brand new design, and now attaches magnetically to the new iPad Pro. It's priced in India at Rs. 10,990. It automatically starts charging wirelessly when connected.
A new Smart Folio folio case has also been launched that protects both the front and the back of the tablet. It also provides open-to-wake and close-to-sleep functionality. It's priced at Rs. 7,500 and Rs. 9,900 for the 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes respectively.
Also new is a refreshed Smart Keyboard Folio, designed to protect both the front and back of iPad Pro. The new folio keyboard lets you prop up the iPad at two different angles and just like before, it connects to the iPad via the Smart Connector so it doesn't require pairing or charging. It's priced at Rs. 15,900 and Rs. 17,900 for the 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes respectively.