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The new iPad Pro.

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Apple Introduces Redesigned iPad Pro and Apple Pencil

Even though it weighs in at a svelte 1.03 pounds (468 g), the new 11-inch iPad Pro that Apple announced at its October 30th event in Brooklyn packs a burly set of features, as does its 12.9-inch sibling, which is just 1.39 pounds (631 g). These new additions to the iPad lineup mark several big breaks with prior models.

Breaking with the Past

First of all, the new iPad Pro has neither a Home button nor Touch ID unlocking. Instead, behind the screen’s thin black bezel is a new 7-megapixel TrueDepth camera that handles Face ID authentication like the iPhone X series and enables support for Animoji, Memoji, 1080p HD video recording, Portrait Mode, and Portrait Lighting stills. It even has a flash for low light, employing screen lighting with a feature Apple calls Retina Flash. Also, unlike the iPhone, the iPad Pro can detect faces in both portrait and landscape orientation.

Second, there’s no more Lightning connector. Instead, the iPad Pro now has a USB-C connector for charging and connecting with peripherals. This makes the new iPad Pro more compatible with third-party charging devices and lets you easily connect an external monitor. It also allows Apple to sell yet another dongle (a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter).

Using the iPad Pro with an external monitor.Third, the new iPad Pros sport a magnetic attachment area and wireless charging capability for the new Apple Pencil, which no longer needs to hang precariously off the bottom of your iPad as you give it a quick charge. Speaking of charging, one of these new iPad Pros, with the appropriate USB-C-to-Lightning cable, can now charge an iPhone.

Finally, although the 11-inch iPad Pro retains the physical footprint of its 10.5-inch predecessor despite its larger screen, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro keeps the same screen size and slims its dimensions down to the point where it’s roughly the same size as an 8.5-by-11-inch piece of paper. Both models have flat edges with rounded corners, a design approach last seen in the iPhone 5s.

True to Its Heritage

What isn’t a big break with the past is the array of incremental enhancements Apple also packed into these next-generation tablets. These include:

  • An improved 12-megapixel rear camera to take advantage of Apple’s latest computational photography capabilities, like Smart HDR. Alas, it does stick out of the back slightly, much like the newer iPhones.
  • Liquid Retina 264 pixel-per-inch displays featuring Apple’s True Tone and ProMotion technology, low reflectivity, and rounded corners
  • Four speakers and five microphones
  • An advanced Apple-designed CPU: the new A12X Bionic chip with embedded M12 coprocessor and Neural Engine that Apple claims is faster than 92% of the laptops currently sold

Evolved Peripherals

With these new iPad Pros come new peripherals: a new Apple Pencil and new Smart Keyboard Folio.

The new Apple Pencil features several welcome evolutionary enhancements. It incorporates a touch-sensitive surface so you can double-tap it to change drawing modes, a feature already supported in Apple’s iOS 12.1 apps and coming soon in third-party apps. The easy-to-lose cap is gone since, as mentioned earlier, you no longer plug it in to charge it. Instead, you just set the flat edge of the Apple Pencil on the magnetized side of your iPad to dock it, charge it, and pair it via Bluetooth. It’s now a quintessential Apple device, with no ports, connectors, buttons, or moving parts of any kind. And that flat edge means it won’t roll off the table anymore.

The second-generation Apple Pencil.Along with a new Apple Pencil is a new keyboard, the Smart Keyboard Folio. Attaching magnetically to the back of the new iPad Pro models, these keyboard covers use a redesigned Smart Connector and provide two viewing angles when deployed as a keyboard. Unlike the previous Smart Keyboard, the Smart Keyboard Folio protects both the front and the back of the iPad Pro when closed.

iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard

iPad Pro Pricing and Availability

Naturally, such technological richness doesn’t come at bargain prices. Here’s what you can expect to pay for these new devices:

  • 11-inch iPad Pro: The smaller model starts at $799 for a Wi-Fi-only model in silver or space gray with 64 GB of storage. Want more space? 256 GB will cost you $949. 512 GB breaks the thousand-dollar barrier by a fair amount, running you $1149, and the 1 TB model will deplete your savings by an impressive $1549. Add $150 per model for cellular connectivity.
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro: For a larger screen, add $200 to the price of each of the 11-inch models. For example, the base model of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $999 and tops off at $1749—for a Wi-Fi-only device. Again, cellular capability adds another $150 per model.
  • Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio: Apple’s accessories got more expensive. The new Apple Pencil will set you back $129, up from $99, and the new Smart Keyboard Folio costs $179 for the 11-inch Pro and $199 for the 12.9-inch Pro tablet, up from $159 and $169, respectively.

Although you can place an order for one of these new iPad Pro tablets now, they won’t arrive until at least 7 November 2018, according to the Apple online store, and some configurations are now reporting arrival dates as late as 21 November 2018. So if you want one soon, get your order in quickly. Or, if you want to save $150, you can still purchase last year’s 10.5-inch iPad Pro for $649.

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Comments About Apple Introduces Redesigned iPad Pro and Apple Pencil

Notable Replies

  1. …and costs 33% more.

    The Pencil that is.

  2. Congratulations in using the international date format and not mentioning American seasons.

  3. We try to be sensitive about that, so I’m glad people notice!

  4. Nothing in the Apple line up is getting any cheaper other than the parts they use and stick it to the buyer. SSD’s are a good example. No I don’t expect them to take a loss on them but it gets to a point where sticking it to the user base just because the Apple name is on a product, starts to wear thin really fast.

  5. I haven’t noticed the prices of cereal, just about everything else, going anything other than up over the years. Having an Apple name on a device is likely one reason some people buy Apple hardware, but the overriding reason is that in addition to advanced engineering, they are also buying into to the Apple ecosystem of services and devices that play nice with one another, leading edge technology that’s easier to use, faster, lighter, sleeker and better designed.

    The pricing structure might be wearing thin for you, but it’s proven to be a brilliant strategy for Apple, which became the first company to break the billion dollar valuation line and also the first to stay there. Let’s see what today’s quarterly report brings; analysts are predicting Apple will be the only FAANG that’s not in the minus column.

  6. Is it possible that part of the price increase is due to the US and China trade policy changes? Since it’s a dynamic situation, Apple may be hedging its bets and trying to avoid raising prices mid-cycle.

  7. I’ll bet you’re 1000% right about this. And since they aren’t really competing with the millions of low priced Android and PC models of phones and laptops out there, they can get away with raising their prices more. When they introduced iPhone X last year, they dramatically raised prices. Sales of top of the top of the line iPhones pretty much stagnated, but profits went through the roof. Prices for the Mini and Air went up significantly too this year.

    Tim Cook did mention that the iPad Pro was the best selling tablet in the world, which I think is pretty cool. And Apple and other PC manufacturers have been making noises for a while about how tablets will replace laptops in the not distant future.

  8. And once again, no new iPad Mini! :angry:

  9. Yeah, I think the iPad mini falls into the same category as the iPhone SE: it’s seen as cheaper for being smaller, and Apple is moving away from cheaper products. It’s too bad, since smaller could be seen as better and sold at a premium for that reason.

  10. The ipad mini already sells at a premium. $400 compared to $329 for 9.7”

    I too love the smaller size.

  11. ace
    Adam Engst

        November 6
    

    Yeah, I think the iPad mini falls into the same category as the iPhone SE: it’s seen as cheaper for being smaller, and Apple is moving away from cheaper products. It’s too bad, since smaller could be seen as better and sold at a premium for that reason.

    I suspect they are keeping the Mini around as is for the time being to keep it as a less expensive alternative for the education market. IMHO, it’s still not competitive price wise with the competition.

  12. If Apple doesn’t come out with an updated iPad Mini, then I’ll have to get an Android tablet in the same form factor. Any suggestions as to brand?

  13. Yep, but when it started at that price it was the cheap option. The sixth-generation iPad dropped below the iPad mini’s pricing, making it a premium price for old technology, which is never a good combination for a product’s future at Apple.

    My mother is upset too, purely on the form factor, since she really likes her iPad mini 2, but doesn’t see the iPad mini 4 as worth upgrading too at this point in the lifecycle.

  14. Where have you been? It was introduced over a month ago for $1000+ and is called iPhone XS Max :wink:

  15. I think you’re 100% on the money there, Adam. I think it’s a real shame. I’d be happy to pay extra for all the added engineering that goes into making performance fit into small packages. Obviously, Apple doesn’t believe there’s a market there (any more).

  16. No, that is the wrong form factor and has unrequired hardware installed:

    2 inches (51mm) too short and 2 inches too narrow. Also an iPad does not need phone circuitry. :grin:

  17. Adam, I’d suggest you get a Mini 4 to have on hand when her Mini 2 dies. That is what I did for when my Mini 3 dies.

    • An improved 12-megapixel rear camera to take advantage of Apple’s latest computational photography capabilities, like Smart HDR. Alas, it does stick out of the back slightly, much like the newer iPhones.

    I wonder why Apple insists on making their devices thinner and thinner, so much so that cameras start sticking out? Esthetics aside, thinner also comprises battery life, as a thicker device could hold a thicker battery with more capacity.

    I guess a case is no longer optional on an iPad anymore than it is on an iPhone.

  18. frans
    Frans Moquette

        November 13
    
    • An improved 12-megapixel rear camera to take advantage of Apple’s latest computational photography capabilities, like Smart HDR. Alas, it does stick out of the back slightly, much like the newer iPhones.
      I wonder why Apple insists on making their devices thinner and thinner, so much so that cameras start sticking out? Esthetics aside, thinner also comprises battery life, as a thicker device could hold a thicker battery with more capacity.

    Because thinner and lighter is a HUGE selling point for just about every mobile market segment; it’s one of the most important reasons for iPad and iPhone’s continuing success. Having the best and most advanced camera is equally important. These are two very critical reasons why iPhones were the innovation that completely revolutionized and reshaped mobile communications, and why they continue to generate the highest revenues in its class. They are important reasons why iPhone and iPad catapulted Apple into becoming the first trillion dollar US company. And why iPad and iPhone had another stellar year of revenue growth in the billions, even though unit sales and shipments were just about flat. Apple’s iPhone revenues have grown tremendously every year since it debuted 11 or so years ago.

    Thin and light are huge selling points that every other mobile device manufacturer does its best to achieve. Here’s how the market shaped up to date this year:

    “Tablet sales for Q4 of last year are out, and they tell an interesting story about Amazon superseding Samsung during the quarter with tremendous growth due to large discounts, according to an IDC report. While iPads were still far and away the most popular tablets among consumers last year, with the 9.7-inch iPad and two sizes of the iPad Pro selling a lot of units, Amazon showed the most growth among the top five tablet companies.”

    https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/6/16981504/amazon-tablet-fire-2017-black-friday-cyber-monday

    Global Smartphone Shipments Down 6.0% in Q3 2018 as the Leading Vendor and the Largest Market Face Challenges, According to IDC

    “The new XS Max and XS continue off the success from last year’s iPhone X but bring a new screen size option with more power and increased performance to the table. And Apple has once again improved the camera, upped the storage, and added a new faster processor via the A12 Bionic chip, which is the first 7-nanometer chip for Apple.”

    https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS44425818

    Esthetics aside, thinner also comprises battery life, as a thicker device could hold a thicker battery with more capacity.

    My SE30 never had anything near the battery life of my 8+, and I never did nearly as much with it or on it. I never even considered streaming anything on Netflix, and I’ve had no problems doing so on my 8+. My understanding is that as mobile devices became thinner, larger, and packed more punch, batteries did the same. And as chip and other technologies improved, battery technologies improved as well.

  19. Why do you think a case is not optional? I’ve never had a case for any of my iPhones, not from my first 3 (yes, I came late to the party) to my current 8, and none has ever been damaged.

    Jeremy

  20. You’re a very careful (and lucky) data point of one. :slight_smile: Various statistics can be found online, but damage is extremely common.

  21. I’m not suggesting Apple should make their iPads thicker and heavier, just not making them razor thin, resulting in things sticking out. With a few fractions of a millimeter thicker, or rather not thinner than the previous version, the iPad would still be thin and nothing would stick out.

    A bigger battery, of the same technology, will always have more capacity. I don’t think anyone would complain about having more battery capacity.

  22. In my opinion a case has become a necessity for two reasons: the protruding camera is vulnerable to bumping and will make the iPad wobble when used on a flat surface like a desk or table. A case will protect the camera and eliminate the wobbling.

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