Apple’s New Accessibility Initiatives

Apple has announced that they are providing even more features for those with disabilities. There are a couple of things to highlight including SignTime, Assistive Touch, eye-tracking hardware support, support for bi-directional hearing aids, and improved voiceover support.


SignTime is a new service, available starting today, May 20th, 2021 which will allow users to communicate with Apple Retail and Customer Care representatives through a Sign Language interpreter. This is accessible right from within the browser. If a customer is in an Apple Store and needs an interpreter, they will be able to use SignTime to communicate as necessary. There are three different languages available for users, American Sign Language (ASL) in the US, British Sign Language (BSL) in the UK, and French Sign Language (LSF) in France.

There is another new feature, for those with limited mobility called AssistiveTouch.


AssistiveTouch is a feature for the Apple Watch that will detect subtle differences for the Apple Watch that will allow users to be able to interact with the Apple Watch. This is done by the Apple Watch detecting differences in muscle movements and tendon activity to be able to sense the intension. 

This will be a significant leap in terms of inclusivity for those who may have limb differences so that they can be able to use the Apple Watch, the same as anybody else.

Those who have limb differences are not the only ones seeing some improvement. 

Eye-Tracking Support for iPad

There are those who may have motor issues and these issues would still want to be able to control an iPad. Later this year the iPad will support hardware eye-tracking devices through the Made for iPad, or MFI, program.

With the Eye-Tracking support users will be able to move the point on the iPad, solely use the eye-tracking hardware. This, like AssistiveTouch, will allow users with limited mobility to use an iPad, just like other users.

Bi-Directional Hearing Aids

There are different types of people throughout the world. There are some users who may have difficulty hearing certain things. Apple has provided some features, like “Listening Mode”, which allows you to use your iPhone or iPad as a way to increase volume.

While this may work for some users, there are those users who need other types of auditory assistance. Those users may need hearing aids. Apple has updated their MFi program to support bi-directional hearing aids. According to Apple, “The microphones in these new hearing aids enable those who are deaf or hard of hearing to have hands-free phone and FaceTime conversations”.

This will be a great way of allowing those with hearing issues to have Hearing Aids that will allow them to natively use their phone hands-free and participate in FaceTime conversations. 

Exploring Images with VoiceOver

Over the last few years Apple has been improving their object detection through machine learning. While this has been great for object detection, facial recognition, and much more. One benefit that all of this work has is a new feature that Apple will be releasing is the ability to explore images with VoiceOver. 

For those who are visually impaired, you will be able to use VoiceOver to detect objects within an image. This goes beyond what users have experienced thus far by being able to describe details about people, like their position with a photo. Beyond this, for things like receipt VoiceOver will be able to go column by column, row by row. This includes being able to provide header information. 

Closing Thoughts

These new initiatives for Apple will be great additions to be more inclusive of additional people who may mobility, hearing, and movement issues. It is good to see Apple add this, but I hope that Apple adds more assistive technologies over time.

Source: Apple

Apple “Time Flies” Event Recap

Apple held its “Time Files” event livestream event today. It was not a live event, but a pre-recorded one. The style of the video was very similar to that of Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference. We saw different parts of Apple’s campus with different people in each area. Today’s event focused on two products, the Apple Watch and the iPad. Let us look at what Apple announced for each.

Apple Watch

Today Apple announced two new Apple Watch models, the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE. These two models are similar, yet still different. Let us cover the aspects that are the same between the two models.

Common Features between Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE

There are a number of common features between the new Apple Watch Series 6 and the new Apple Watch SE. The first of these is the case sizes. Both come in 40mm and 44mm varieties and both have a Retina screen. Next is a feature that was added in the Apple Watch Series 5, fall detection. This is a great feature for those who may be prone to falling and need to be able to contact someone in the event of a fall. This is present in both models.

There is a new feature that is available on both models, a new Always On Altimeter. The Altimeter will be able to inform you, in real time, of your elevation. This is great if you are doing some hiking and want to see how high up you have gone.

One of the ways to personalizes the Apple Watch is by picking the finish for the watch. Both models come in an aluminum finish and are available in Silver, Space Gray, and Rose Gold.

Apple Watch Series 6 Exclusive Features

The biggest area for the Apple Watch is regarding Health. There are a variety of sensors already present on the Apple Watch. Sensors like the ECG, fall detection, heart sensors, and ECG app. There is a new sensor being added to the Apple Watch Series 6, a Blood Oxygen app. This app will be able to inform you of your blood oxygen level, with a simple 15 second test. This is possibly through the use of infrared to analyze the color of your blood and the color can determine the oxygen saturation level.

The Apple Watch Series 6 comes in more than just the three colors mentioned above. It also comes in two additional aluminum finishes, Blue and (PRODUCT)RED. It also comes in Stainless Steel and Titanium versions. The Stainless Steel color choices are Silver, Graphite, and Gold. The Titanium color choices are Titanium (Silver), and Space Black.

New Bands

Besides the finish of the Apple Watch, many also customize their Apple Watch through the use of different bands. To go with the new Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE, there are some new bands. A lot of them in fact. There are some new Hermes Fauve Barénia Leather Attelage bands in both single tour and double tour varieties, five new Sport Band colors, seven new Sport Loop colors, three new Nike Sport Band colors, and three new Nike Sport Loop colors. There are also two entirely new types of bands, the Leather Link and Solo Loop.

Leather Link

Apple Watch Leather Link Watch Band

According to Apple, “The Leather Link features handcrafted Roux Granada leather made in France. The band elegantly wraps around the wrist and magically attaches with flexible molded magnets that gently flex to help maintain a secure, comfortable fit throughout the day.”. The magnetic links will allow you to adjust the band to the perfect fit for your wrist.

The Leather Link band comes in four colors, Baltic Blue, California Poppy, Saddle Brown, and Black. These will work with the 38/40mm or the 42/44mm Apple Watches. Each Leather Link band is $99. They have a bit of a wait time, anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the model.

Solo Loop

The Solo Loop is made of a silicone rubber that is designed to stretch. There are no clasps, buckles, or any other item to adjust. Each Sport Loop is designed to be slipped on and off the wrist easily. Because there are no attachment mechanisms, they are designed to fit on your wrist, therefore there is a sizing guide that will allow you to determine the proper band size. The band sizes range from 1 to 9 on the 40mm Apple Watch and 4 to 12 on the 44mm Apple Watch.

There are seven different color options. These options are: Deep Navy, Ginger, Cypress Green, Pink Citrus, White, Black, and (PRODUCT)RED. Each of these is $49 and they will begin arriving on Friday. There is a second type of Solo Loop, the Braided Solo Loop.

To quote Apple, “Each Braided Solo Loop features a unique, stretchable design that’s ultracomfortable and easy to slip on and off your wrist. Made from 100 percent recycled materials, the 16,000 polyester yarn filaments in each band are interwoven with thin silicone threads using advanced braiding machinery then laser cut to an exact length. The 300D construction offers a soft, textured feel and is both sweat-resistant and water-resistant.”

The Braided Sport Loop comes in five colors. These colors are: Inverness Green, Black, Pink Punch, Atlantic Blue, and (PRODUCT)RED. The Braided Sport Loop comes in the same size configurations as the silicon Sport Loop, and these are $99 each.

There is one last thing to note about the Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop. These are not compatible with all watches. The Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop bands are only compatible with Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 4 or newer. Therefore, you will not be able to use these on the Series 3, or earlier models.

Family Setup

There is one new feature for the Apple Watch, which is compatible back to the Apple Watch Series 4 and that is Family Setup. There are many people who would like to be able to get an Apple Watch for the child or an elderly parent. This has not been possible because an Apple Watch has to be paired with an iPhone. That changes.

Family Setup allows you to setup another Apple Watch using your iPhone. When you do this, the Apple Watch will be independent and allow the Apple Watch to function on its own.

Family Setup makes it possible for the entire family to benefit from the important health and safety features of Apple Watch, like Emergency SOS, while Maps, Siri, Alarms, and the App Store provide greater independence without needing an iPhone. In addition, parents will have peace of mind knowing they can reach their child and identify their location, and that all personal data stays securely encrypted. With watchOS 7, the whole family can also take advantage of optimized features that enhance the overall Apple Watch experience.

There are a couple of limitations for the Family Setup. The first is that a cellular version of the Apple Watch is required. This will not work on a GPS model of the Apple Watch. The second restriction is that this only works on the Apple Watch Series 4 or later, including the Apple Watch SE.

Apple Watch Pricing and Availability

The price of the Apple Watch is an important one. The existing Apple Watch Series 3 is still available for the same starting price of $199. The new Apple Watch SE is $279 for the 40mm version, and $309 for the 44mm. There are cellular options for the Apple Watch SE, these are $329 for the 40mm and $359 for the 44mm. The Apple Watch Series 6 starts at the same price as the Series 5, $399 for the 40mm, and $429 for the 44mm. The cellular models are $499 and $529 respectively. The Stainless Steel models starts at $699 and the Titanium models start at $799. All of the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE are available for order today and will start arriving this Friday.

There is one last thing to note about the Apple Watch. the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Series 3, and Apple Watch Nike do not include a power adapter. Note, this is not the charger, but the little power brick that the charger plugs into. This is being done as a means of helping the environment. I believe that this is actually the case. It just so happens that it will also help save a bit of money, not just through not having to put a charger in each box, but also by reducing packaging as well as shipping weight. All of this adds up over millions of devices.


The Apple Watch was not the only item announced during today’s keynote. The iPad also saw some updates as well, but not all models of iPad. Only the iPad and the iPad Air were updated today. Let us look at each of these.


The iPad is Apple’s entry-level device, but even though it is entry level, it is full of features. The new iPad features a 10.2-inch LED screen as well as Apple’s A12 Bionic chip. This is the same one that is in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max phones. To quote Apple:

The eighth-generation iPad with the A12 Bionic chip delivers a huge leap in performance, with 40 percent faster CPU performance and twice the graphics capability.2 This makes the new iPad up to two times faster than the top-selling Windows laptop, up to three times faster than the top-selling Android tablet and up to six times faster than the top-selling Chromebook. For the first time on iPad, A12 Bionic introduces the Neural Engine for next-level machine learning capabilities, including people occlusion and motion tracking in augmented reality (AR) apps, enhanced photo editing, Siri performance, and more.

In combination with A12 Bionic, the power of iPadOS, and Apple Pencil (1st generation), the new iPad is perfect for drawing, note-taking, marking up documents, and more. With its thin and light design, iPad is portable and durable with ultra-fast wireless performance, support for gigabit-class LTE connectivity, and all-day battery life, giving customers the freedom to work, learn, and connect at home or on the go. With Touch ID, unlocking iPad is simple and secure using just a finger, to keep important information safe.

The biggest change, besides the processor and graphics, is that the iPad is now USB-C. Included in the box is a USB-C to lightning adapter and a 20 watt USB-C power brick.

The iPad comes in the same three colors as before, Silver, Space Gray, and Rose Gold. It comes with 32GB or 128GB of storage, and there are cellular models as well. The price is still the same at $329 for the 32GB Wifi model, and $459 for the 32GB Wifi + Cellular, and $429 for the 128GB Wifi and $559 for the 128GB Wifi + Cellular models. These are available for order today and will arrive starting this Friday.

iPad Air

The bigger of the announcements is the iPad Air. This is not only because it is changed significantly more, but also because of the size difference. The 4th generation iPad Air is now a 10.9-inch model. This is accomplished by taking cues from the iPad Pro design and incorporating them into the iPad Air. The 4th Generation iPad Air has significantly reduced bezels, which allows the screen size to increase to 10.9 inches. This creates a resolution of 2360 by 1640 pixels. All of this is on a Liquid Retina LED display. The screen has a True Tone display that support the P3 Color Gamut and is fully laminated. This means that it includes the oleophobic coating to help reduce fingerprints.

All of this is driven by the A14 Bionic processor, which, according to Apple

…features a new 6-core design for a 40 percent boost in CPU performance, and a new 4-core graphics architecture for a 30 percent improvement in graphics.2 To deliver breakthrough machine learning capabilities, A14 Bionic includes a new 16-core Neural Engine that is twice as fast, and capable of performing up to 11 trillion operations per second, taking machine learning apps to a whole new level. A14 Bionic also includes second-generation machine learning accelerators in the CPU for 10 times faster machine learning calculations. This combination of the new Neural Engine, CPU machine learning accelerators, and high-performance GPU enables powerful on-device experiences for image recognition, natural language learning, analyzing motion, and more.

The iPad Air takes many cues from the iPad Air, most notably, its square edges. The square edges allow for the iPad Air to utilize the 2nd Generation Apple Pencil. The iPad Air supports charging the 2nd Generation Apple Pencil right on the top edge, just like the iPad Pro. These square edges allowed Apple to reduce the bezel size. One thing that was not brought over from the iPad Pro is Face ID. Instead, the iPad Air still has Touch ID. However, the reduced bezel necessitated that the Touch ID sensor to go somewhere else. The Touch ID sensor is now moved to the top button. The Touch ID sensor still operates the same way as before, just in a different spot.

Just like the iPad, and the iPad Pro, the iPad Air now uses a USB-C port and included in the box is a USB-C charging cable and a 20-watt USB power adapter.

The 4th Generation iPad Air comes in five colors: Silver, Space Gray, Rose Gold, Green, and Sky Blue. The iPad Air comes with two storage options, 64GB or 256GB. As with the other iPads there is the Wifi-only model and Wifi + Cellular. The price for the iPad Air is $599 for the 64GB model and $749 for the 256GB Wifi-Only model. The Cellular models will cost $729 for the 64GB model and $879 for the 256GB model. The iPad Air will be available in October.


Apple is pushing services, along with hardware, as their future. Currently, Apple has six different services. These services are:

  • iCloud
  • Apple Music
  • Apple TV+
  • Apple Arcade
  • Apple News+

There is a new service to go along with these. This is called Apple Fitness+.

Apple Fitness+

Apple Fitness+ is a new subscription service that will provide you the opportunity to perform workouts whenever it works for you, wherever you might be. This could be out in the park, at the gym, traveling, or just at home.

Apple Fitness+ delivers personalized recommendations to help customers quickly get to their next workout, and uses Apple Watch to provide an engaging, immersive experience to help them stay motivated throughout.Using a custom recommendation engine, Fitness+ considers previously completed workouts and intelligently suggests new options that match the workouts users select most often, or something fresh to balance their current routine. Customers can also use an intuitive filtering tool to choose what is most important to them when looking for a workout, whether it’s the workout type, the trainer, the duration, or the music. For Apple Music subscribers, favorite music from Fitness+ workouts can also be easily saved and listened to later, whether in a workout or otherwise.

Apple Fitness+ will be available later this year and it will cost $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year.

With all of these services, it might be nice to have them all combined into a single bill. Let us look at one last new item, called Apple One.

Apple One

Today Apple announced a new Services bundle, Apple One. Apple One is a combination of different Apple services at different price points. Apple One has three price tiers, “Individual”, “Family”, and “Premium”. The Individual and Family plans will include Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and iCloud Storage. The Individual tier includes 50GB of iCloud Storage, whereas the Family tier includes 200GB.

The Premium tier includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, 2TB of iCloud Storage, Apple News+, and Apple Fitness+. The Family and Premium tiers will allow you to share with up to five family members. If you need more iCloud storage than your plan includes, you can pay for that separately, to supplement what comes with your plan.

Closing Thoughts

Today’s event was just over an hour, but included a whole lot of new products. This includes the Apple Watch Series 6 with its brighter Always On display, the new Blood Oxygen app, and always on Altimeter. The new Blue and PRODUCT(RED) colors are great additions to the lineup.

The new Apple Watch SE is a great way for bringing many of the features of the Apple Watch in a slightly less expensive price point. You get many of the same features of the Apple Watch Series 6, but with the Series 5 processor.

The new 8th Generation iPad is a huge jump in performance with the A12 Bionic and it has USB-C. It maintains the same base price of $329 for a 32GB Wifi model.

The iPad Air has seen the biggest set of changes with a new larger 10.9-inch screen, flat sides, reduced bezels, and the all new A14 Bionic processor. The iPad Air does not get Face ID, instead the Touch ID sensor is now moved to the top button and still functions the same way as before. The 4th Generation iPad Air also supports USB-C as well as the 2nd generation Apple Pencil.

All of the new products introduced today are available for ordering today, and will be available starting on Friday. The only exception is the iPad Air, which will be available in October.

The last item to note is that iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, an watchOS 7 will all be available tomorrow, September 16th.

Source: Apple Newsroom: Apple One, Apple Fitness+, Family Setup, Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, 8th Generation iPad, and 4th Generation iPad Air.

Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro now available to order

In addition to the iPhone SE release yesterday, Apple also made the highly anticipated Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro available to order. The Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro features an adjustable hinge so you can adjust the angle to your liking. The second, and possibly more important feature, is the built-in Trackpad below the keyboard.

There are two sizes for the the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro, one for the 11-inch iPad Pro and another for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The Magic Keyboard designed for the 11-inch iPad Pro will work with both the 1st and 2nd generation 11-inch iPad Pro. The Magic Keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will work with the 3rd and 4th generation iPad Pros.

When it was announced, Apple stated that the Magic Keyboard would be available in “May”, but did not specify a date. Many pundits speculated that it would arrive at the end of May. However, for those who ordered their Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro yesterday, they will see their orders begin shipping between April 24th, and May 1st, which means they could arrive before May.

Both sizes are available in over 30 different keyboard layouts, depending on region. In the United States the available layouts are:

  • Arabic
  • British English
  • Chinese (Zhuyin)
  • Chinese (Pinyin)
  • Danish
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Swiss
  • US English
  • Spanish

As of this writing, most layouts, for both sizes, will ship between April 27th, and May 4th. There are a couple of exceptions, the Arabic and Chinese (Pinyin) layouts have slightly longer ship dates of May 4th to May 11th and the Japanese layout has a ship date of May 11th to May 18th.

The 11-inch model is $299 and the 12.9-inch model is $349. They are available to order now.

Source: Apple

Apple releases new iPad Air and new iPad mini

Today Apple unveiled two new iPads, an iPad Air and an iPad mini. The updates to each of the models is substantial as compared to their predecessors. Both the iPad Air and iPad mini have some similarities to the iPad Pro models, however they are still some differences.

Similarities with the iPad Pro

The new iPad Air and iPad mini share some similarities with the 11-inch iPad Pro and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Both the iPad Air and iPad mini have significantly updated processors, the A12 Bionic to be exact. This compares to the previous versions which were the A8 processor. As part of the A12, the devices also have the M12 motion co-processor and the Neural Engine. The A12 is not any different than the A12 processors found in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, it is the same processor, which means it has the same capabilities and functions. Some of these capabilities include fast machine learning and machine learning.

The new iPad models also have a Wide P3 color gamut display. The display also includes True Tone technology to adjust the color depending on the light. The display does have a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, so fingerprints should be less of an issue. The last similarity that the iPad Air and iPad mini have with the iPad Pros is the number of pixels per inch, which is 264 pixels. That is where the similarities with the iPad Pro models end.

iPad Air and iPad mini

Even though there are only a few similarities with the iPad Pro, the iPad Air and iPad mini have some common elements that are common between the new models.

Both the iPad Air and iPad mini have dual microphones, as well as stereo speakers and the standard On/Off Sleep/Wake button and a lightning connector. There is one thing that the new iPad models have that the iPad Pros do not, and that is a headphone jack, which will be great for a certain percentage of iPad users. As for biometrics, the iPad Air and iPad mini still retain the Touch ID sensor and do not have Face ID within the iPads. Face ID is still only available on the latest iPhones and the iPad Pro.

One of the improvements for both the iPad Air and iPad mini is related to the cameras. While the back camera has not been changed much, the front camera has been significantly improved. A new 7 megapixel ƒ/2.2 aperture camera that supports Retina Flash. The FaceTime camera is now 1080p and can support video recording at the same resolution. This is a significant improvement over the 1.2 megapixel 720p camera that was in the previous models. On the topic of FaceTime both the iPad Air and iPad mini support Group FaceTime calls.

There is one thing that has been added to the iPad models, and it is something that will delight some customers, Apple Pencil support. The iPad Air and iPad mini support the original Apple Pencil. This means that you can use any of the apps that support the Apple Pencil on your new iPad. This includes apps like Apple’s Keynote, Pages, and Numbers, or other apps like Procreate, Pixelmator, and Microsoft Office, and even more beyond the ones listed.

Both models come in two storage sizes, 64GB and 256GB. They are also available in three colors, Silver, Space Gray, and Gold. Now let us look at the specifics for each the iPad Air and iPad mini, starting with the iPad mini.

iPad mini

The iPad mini’s physical size has not changed. It is still a 7.9-inch screen and still has 10 hours of battery life while surfing the web, watching video or listening to music. If you opt for a cellular model you will get 9 hours of surfing the web. The weight has slightly increased, but it is less than 2 grams of difference.

The iPad mini costs $399 for the 64GB model. The 256GB model is $549. Adding cellular is $139 more, so $529 for the 64GB cellular model, and $679 for the 256GB cellular model. If you decide to add AppleCare+ to your iPad mini, it will cost you $69.

iPad mini Accessories

While the size of the iPad mini has not changed, some things have changed. You can now buy an Apple Pencil to be used with the iPad mini, which will cost $99. You can also get a Smart Cover for the iPad mini. The iPad mini Smart Cover comes in four colors, Charcoal Gray, Pink Sand, White, and Papaya. Each Smart Cover will cost $39.

iPad Air

The iPad Air has something a bit different with it. The screen size has been increased from 9.7 inches to 10.5 inches. This means that you will have more surface to use an Apple Pencil.

The 10.5-inch iPad Air comes in the same two storage sizes, 64GB and 256GB. They cost $499 and $649 respectively. The cellar models cost $629 for the 64GB Model and $779 for the 256GB model. AppleCare+ for the iPad mini will cost you $69, the same as the iPad mini.

Just as with the iPad mini, the iPad Air has a new set of Smart Covers, and they come in the same four colors, Charcoal Gray, Pink Sand, White, and Papaya. Each Smart Cover for the the iPad Air will cost $49.

If you want more than just a Smart Cover, you can get a leather Smart Cover. There are four options for this as well. The colors available are Saddle Brown, Midnight Blue, Black, and (PRODUCT) Red. Each Leather Smart Cover is $69.

There is one last accessory for the 10.5-inch iPad Air, a Smart Keyboard. The Smart Keyboard is just like the ones that are available on the iPad Pro. It comes in a variety of languages and will cost $159.

Final Thoughts

It is great to see Apple update the iPad Air and iPad mini, particularly given that the last round of updates was four years ago for the iPad mini and the last iPad Air model was released in October 2014.

The iPad Air and iPad mini are great updates. The inclusion of the A12 Bionic will make using your iPad Air or iPad mini smooth and will allow you to use Augmented Reality, . The addition of a Wide Color Gamut display as well as Apple Pencil support means that you have the tools needed to create any art that you can image.

You can order the iPad Air or iPad mini today. They will begin delivery in late March.

Source: Apple

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.


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.


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.


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.


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+ 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.