Apple Event Round up: iPad Pros

Today Apple announced held their October event, “There’s More in the Making”. This was held in Brooklyn, New York. Apple announced a bunch of new products. Let us look at the new iPads Pros.

The 1st generation iPad Pro was introduced in 2015 and it was what many users were looking for in a larger screen iPad. It was 12.9-inch, something that many users were looking for. At their WWDC 2017 keynote, they unveiled the all new 10.5-inch iPad and the 2nd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The 2nd generation iPad Pros reduced the physical depth and included the A10X processor. Today, Apple unveiled the next generation of iPad Pros.

The new iPad Pros have some big enhancements. Let us start with the big one, Face ID.

Face ID

Face ID was introduced last year with the iPhone X. It has changed the way that iPhones will be manufactured going forward. Now, its s on the iPad Pros as well. The new iPad Pros now have Face ID which is the same sensor that is on the iPhon Xs and iPhone Xr.

There is one difference from the iPhones, Face ID can work in any orientation. That can be landscape or portrait. The fact that Face ID is now available on the iPads will help those, like myself, be able to use the same gestures across all of my iOS devices. But Face ID is not the only new feature, there have been some changes around the size of the iPad.

Size and Screen

With Face ID, and removal of the home button, the bezels of the iPad Pro can be reduced. With reduced bezels you can do one of two things, either increase the size of the screen or reduce the physical size of the device. This year, Apple did both.

The new iPad Pro come in two sizes, 11-inches and the same 12.9-inches that we have seen before. The 11-inch screen is the replacement from the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. With the 11-inch iPad Pro Apple decided to increase the size of the screen. With the 12.9-inch iPad Pro Apple decided to maintain the same screen size, but reduce the physical size of the device. This reduction in physical size is what many users had been hoping for. They love the screen size but can find the size a bit unwieldy at times.

Just as with the iPhone Xr, the new iPad Pros have rounded corners. These rounded corners will allow for edge-to-edge display of applications. This will allow you to watch videos even larger than before.

The new iPad Pros still have an LCD screen. Apple has dubbed the screen Liquid Retina, just like the iPhone Xr. The screen still has many of the features that users have come to expect. tHis includes a Wide Color gamut (Display P3), ProMotion, and True-Tone. The resolution of the 11-inch screen is 2388 pixels by 1668 pixels, and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has the same 2732 by 2048 resolution. Next let us look at the processor changes.

Processors

The 10.5-inch and 2nd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro had an A10X processor. This provided some great processing and gaming performance. The new iPad Pros have an A12X Bionic. The A12X Bionic has an 8 Core 64-Bit CPU as well as a 7-core Apple-Designed Graphics Processor. Embedded with the CPU and GPU is the M12 motion coprocessor.

There is one additional processor which has never been in an iPad before, a Neural Engine. The Neural Engine is used for machine learning and it is the same Neural Engine that is present in the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xr.

Connectivity

Since the release of the 4th Generation iPad, which was released in November of 2012, the iPad has used the Lightning connector. This reversible plug was the replacement for the old 30-pin Dock connector. The 2018 iPad Pros have changed connections again. The 2018 iPad Pros now use USB-C for the connection. This is not the same as Thunderbolt 3, even though it is the same connector.

The USB-C connection will allow the iPad Pro to output to a display, up to 5K resolution. This will be nice if you want, or need, to output your iPad Pro to a larger display.

The iPad Pros also continue to have 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0. With USB-C the iPad Pro includes an 18-watt power adapter and has a 1 meter USB-C cable. There are still cellular options available as before and they still incorporate the Dual-sim technology that was present on the previous iPad Pros with one physical SIM and one eSim.

Storage

Apple has positioned the iPad Pro as a computer. In order to have an iPad Pro be considered a new computer it needs to have a lot of storage. To help position the iPads as such, the 2017 iPad Pros had the option of having 512GB of storage. This allows for more items to be stored locally including larger files. The 2018 iPad Pros take this a bit further, with offering a 1TB model. Both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch are customizable up to 1TB. The exact size options available are 64GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB.

Accessories

With a new iPad it is very likely that you will get new accessories. The 2018 iPad Pros are no exception. Besides having to purchase new accessories with the connector change, there are a few new products. Let us start off with one that is designed specifically with the iPad Pro in mind; the Apple Pencil.

Apple Pencil

The original Apple Pencil was introduced alongside the 1st generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. When it was introduced it was a brand new product for Apple. It was rounded and worked exclusively with the iPad Pro. While users enjoyed the Apple Pencil, it did have some drawbacks. Most notably, it was round. While this is great for holding, it does not work well for placing on a table.

Another downside to the Apple Pencil was that it required charging via the lightning port on the iPad Pro. This was very convenient for charging, but the cap that covered the lightning port could easily be lost.

The last criticism for the Apple Pencil is the fact that there was no where to store it on the iPad. You would either have to add a pencil loop or find a case that would hold the Apple Pencil.

Apple has addressed these concerns with the new Apple Pencil, which I am going to dub the No. 2 Pencil. The new Pencil has addressed all of these concerns at once. The new pencil is no longer round. Instead, it has a flat side. This flat side will allow you to place the pencil on a surface and not have it roll away. Simultaneously, this flat side is the side that you can use to attach the pencil to the iPad Pro. When you connect the No. 2 Pencil, it will begin charging and it charges via magnets, much like the Apple Watch.

This means that your Apple Pencil will likely never be out of power when you need it and it will likely always be connected to your iPad Pro. This also means that there is no longer cap to lose, nor an additional adapter to bring just to charge the Apple Pencil.

When you attach the No. 2 Pencil, you will see an image, similar to the one below. It will provide you with the options to switch functions.

There is one last new feature to the Apple Pencil. It now detects double-tapping. This means that you can easily switch between tools within a drawing app. Developers will be able to customize the actions that you can choose as well.

The No. 2 Apple Pencil looks to be a great refinement to the existing Apple Pencil. It will only work on the 2018 iPad Pros and costs $129, which is $30 more than the original Apple Pencil.

Smart Keyboard

Each iPad Pro model has had an associated Smart Keyboard to go along with it. The benefits of the Smart Keyboard are that you do not need to charge them nor do you need to provide batteries for the keyboard. Instead, it draws power through the Smart Connector on the iPad.

A Smart Keyboard is available for the new iPad Pros and is slightly improved. You now have two angles to choose from with the Smart Keyboard. One that is good for desktop use and another for lap usage. The Smart Keyboard has gone up $40 to $199.

Smart Folio

The last new accessory is one that protects the iPad Pro. That is the Smart Folio. The Smart Folio is similar to the Smart Cover that has been available for the iPad for a while. The Smart Folio protects both the front and back of the iPad and will provide the same functions, by sleeping the iPad Pro when the cover is closed as well as waking it when the Smart Cover is opened. The Smart Folio is available in Charcoal Gray or White and will cost you $99.00, which is twice as much as the Smart Cover’s price.

AppleCare+

AppleCare+ is still available for the iPad Pros. It still provides the same coverage as before, with two accidental damage coverage. The price for AppleCare+ has gone up $30 to $129. Alternatively, you can pay $5.99 monthly for the coverage.

Closing Thoughts

The new iPad Pros look to be a great upgrade from previous versions. The price for the 11-inch starts at $799 for the 64GB model up to $1699 for the 1TB model with Cellular. If you opt for the 12.9-inch model that starts at $999 and goes up to $1899 for the 1TB Wi-Fi + Cellular model. Both iPad Pros are available in Silver and Space Gray, just as the last generation.

The Apple Pencil, Smart Keyboard, and Smart Folio are all available to order for shipping today.

If you are in the market for a new iPad, you should definitely look at the new 11-inch or 12.9-inch iPad Pro. They are available to order today and will be available on November 7th. The 2018 iPad Pros look to be solid updates, but that is just first glance.