Back in September, Apple announced its largest iPad ever, the iPad Pro. Like Microsoft’s Surface Pro, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is designed to straddle the gap between laptop and tablet, and allow users to create content rather than merely consuming it. It brings a massive screen, “desktop-level” power, and accessories like a keyboard and stylus that allow new ways of interaction.
Here’s everything Apple revealed about the iPad Pro and its accessories at the press event, and details of the iPad Pro launch date and where it will be available.
Updated on 11-09-2015 by David Curry: Added in confirmation of the sale date for iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and Smart Keyboard.
Pricing and release date news
The iPad Pro goes on sale Wednesday, November 11 on Apple’s online store, alongside the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. It will be available in Apple’s retail stores “later in the week,” though a firm date has not been set by Apple. Other third-party retailers and resellers will begin receiving iPad Pro units and accessories later this month, in time for the holiday season.
Apple will sell three versions of the iPad Pro, 32GB Wi-Fi only for $800, 128GB Wi-Fi only for $950, and 128GB 4G LTE for $1,080. The Apple Pencil will be available for $99, and the Smart Keyboard will be available for $169. New Smart Covers and Cases for the iPad Pro will be available for $60 and $80, respectively. The iPad Pro will be available in 40 countries by the end of November, including the United States, United Kingdom, China, Japan, and Germany.
High-end specs and processing power
The iPad Pro’s resolution of 2,732 × 2,048 pixels gives it higher resolution than the 15-inch MacBook Pro and more pixels than any other iOS device. Even with the gargantuan size of the iPad Pro, it is still 6.9mm thin and only weighs 1.57 lb, around the same weight as the original iPad.
The display has a unique aspect ratio that allows two full-sized iPad Air apps to run side-by-side in portrait mode on the iPad Pro. Like the 5K iMac, it has a variable refresh rate to conserve energy. Apple’s Phil Schiller claims the Split View on iOS 9 was built with the iPad Pro in mind.
Internally, the iPad Pro runs on the new A9X chip, Apple’s second 64-bit chip with double the memory and double the storage performance. It is a huge step up from the iPad Air 2, which ran on the A8X chip. Apple claims this is “desktop-level performance” and should be faster than 90 percent of portable PCs when it comes to graphically intensive tasks.
Apple also claims the iPad Pro will have full-day battery life, which should amount to 10 hours. It has a four-speaker audio setup for the first time on an iPad, with audio volume three times louder than the iPad Air 2. Touch ID and an 8MP iSight camera have been added to the iPad Pro, and it will have 802.11ac Wi-Fi and LTE support.
Two big accessories: Pencil and keyboard
The big changes to the iPad Pro come with the accessories. Apple launched two new accessories, the Smart keyboard and the Apple Pencil.
The Smart keyboard is built in the same way as the smart cover, and snaps on using a new proprietary magnetic connector that carries both power and data. When the physical keyboard is not needed, a full-sized software keyboard is also available. Apple will allow developers to change the design of the keyboard on the iPad Pro to fit with different apps.
Jeffery Van Camp/Digital Trends
The Apple Pencil is the company’s first stylus for iOS. It allows more precise drawing capabilities, previewed by Adobe at the event with Photoshop and Illustrator. The pencil should be able to distinguish faint strokes from bold presses, hopefully interesting professional artists and visual designers.
An October report from 9to5Mac hints that the Pencil may get a charging adapter for those who don’t want to plug their stylus into the lightning port of the iPad Pro to charge. The adapter would connect the lightning connector on the Pencil with the lightning connector on a typical charging cord, which could then be plugged in via USB or the wall.
We’ll keep you updated on the iPad Pro news here.
Updated on 10-30-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added news of rumored launch date plans for November 11.
Updated on 10-29-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added news of rumored launch date plans for early November and reports about the Pencil’s charging adapter.