Along with the new Apple TV, the iPad Pro was announced at Apple’s September 9 event.
The iPad Pro is bigger and faster than any iPad before it, with a 12.9-in. screen and a new A9X chip. Its new screen has a resolution of 2,742 x 2,048: more pixels than the 15-in. Retina MacBook Pro.
It will come in the same colors as the new MacBook: gold, silver, and space gray. The new audio system has four speakers, which will balance sound on the left and right sides of the device, and between the top and the bottom.
Apple says the iPad Pro is faster than most laptops, with “360 times more graphics power,” than older iPad models, according to Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller.
Multitasking for iPad was announced at Apple’s June event, and this is a function that’s going to work great on the bigger screen, with the iPad Pro’s souped up capabilities.
“The new multitasking features in iOS 9—Slide Over, Split View, Picture in Picture—were designed with this iPad Pro in mind,” said Schiller.
It will also have two features that were rumored, but perhaps unexpected for an Apple tablet: A magnetically attached keyboard and a stylus called the Apple Pencil.
Yes, this foldout cover “smart keyboard” looks a lot like the one for that Microsoft Surface, and it’s purchasable as an extra for $169. The keyboard serves as a stand for the iPad Pro as well, and will fit a lot better on the device than third-party keyboards have on previous iPads, albeit at a steeper price. Meanwhile, the software keyboard will be full size, making typing on the iPad Pro much easier whether you buy the separate keyboard or not.
The Apple Pencil is an incredibly smart stylus that senses pressure and angles, and will be supported at launch in Mail, Notes, and other built-in iOS apps. Apple is partnering with third-party apps to build in Pencil integration, notably Adobe, which makes a suite of creative products that will definitely benefit Pencil use. Microsoft Office’s suite of apps, such as Word and Excel, will be available on the iPad Pro and enable Pencil use. The Apple Pencil uses a lightning connector to charge and can do so via connection to the iPad Pro. It will cost $99.
The iPad Pro reportedly has a 10-hour battery life and weighs in at 1.5 lb. It will be 6.9 mm thick and will (of course) run iOS 9.
The 32GB iPad Pro will cost $799. The 128GB version will run you $949, and the model with 128GB and LTE connectivity will cost $1,079.
Obviously this device is heavily geared toward enterprise use, not gaming. However, the increased resolution and graphics power of the iPad Pro will make it a beautiful canvas for games.
The iPad Pro will be available starting in November.