Apple (AAPL) on Tuesday unveiled the latest evolution of its iPad line of tablets with two new iPad Pros. A total redesign of the company’s high-powered slates, the new Pros hew closely to the design of the new iPhone XS and XS Max, with its massive edge-to-edge display.
Available for pre-order today and hitting stores on Nov. 7, the Pro starts at $799 in its new 11-inch configuration and $999 for the 12.9-inch model. The new iPad Pro is meant to appeal to creative consumers, which is why Apple unveiled the new slate at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. But the Pro is sure to draw as much attention from general consumers as well thanks to that huge new screen.
This time around, Apple has made the iPad Pro’s edges flatter, giving it a look that’s more similar to the MacBook Pro. Apple kept the footprint of the old 10.5-inch iPad largely the same, but increased the screen size by 0.5 inches. The old 12.9-inch model, meanwhile, has had its volume reduced by 25%, but keeps the same display size.
While the iPad Pro has an edge-to-edge display like the iPhone X, XS and XS Max, it still packs a bezel around the screen’s sides. That’s because the Pro uses LCD for its Liquid Retina Display rather than the OLED display found on the iPhone X, XS and Max, which allows for virtually no bezel.
That bezel also gives you somewhere to hold the iPad Pro without accidentally interacting with the screen. It also means there’s enough room on its top edge to accommodate the tablet’s Face ID camera.
That’s right, since the Pro is now all-screen up front, it no longer has room for a Home button, so you’ll unlock your device with your face. And while the iPhone X, XS and XS Max, can only use Face ID in portrait mode, the iPad Pros let you use Face ID in any orientation.
Outside of its new look, the iPad Pro also comes equipped with the latest version of Apple’s A12 Bionic processor, called the A12X Bionic. The 7-nanometer chip is an 8-core powerhouse, which uses 4 cores for high-performance tasks and 4 efficiency cores for less intense processes.
Apple says that single-core performance for the iPad Pro is up 25% with the new A12X Bionic, while GPU performance has been improved by … 1,000%. Apple made some incredibly bold claims about its new Pros saying that the slate can outperform 92% of all portable computers sold in the last year, including those equipped with Intel’s high-powered Core i7 chip.
The company even says that the iPad Pro’s graphics performance is on a par with Microsoft’s Xbox One S console. That’s a lofty claim, but when the folks at 2K Games took to the stage to present their latest “NBA 2K” game, the Pro was able to show off details including the pinholes in the players’ jerseys and the sweat rolling off their brows.
Finally, Apple is ditching the company’s proprietary Lightning port found on the iPad Pro and replacing it with a USB C port. The change means you’ll be able to charge your tablet with the same cable used to charge any new MacBook, connect devices like cameras, docks and external displays, and even charge your iPhone with the iPad. You’ll likely need a special cable for that though.
The fact that you can use an external display with the iPad Pro proves that Apple wants to outdo Microsoft’s Surface Pro line of devices, which provide a full PC experience in a tablet form.
Apple has also updated the Apple Pencil, giving users the ability to change tools by double tapping the side of the stylus. What’s more, the Pencil magnetically attaches to the side of the Pro for storage and wireless charging.
The iPad Pro comes at an odd time for the tablet market. According to IDC research, global tablet shipments declined 13.5%. Still, Apple managed an increase of 0.9%. If the new iPad Pro manages to wow consumers, it might help push Apple market sales even higher.
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