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Apple Unveils New iPad Air, iPad Pro, Apple Pencil Pro, and Magic Keyboard

At its pre-recorded Let Loose event, Apple focused, as expected, on the iPad lineup, which hadn’t seen any changes in 2023. The company unveiled impressive new 11-inch and 13-inch versions of the iPad Air and iPad Pro, a more capable Apple Pencil Pro, and a redesigned Magic Keyboard. Prices remain the same, but Apple also lowered the price of the tenth-generation iPad to $349 and dropped the ninth-generation iPad. No changes were made to the iPad mini, leaving us with this lineup and starting prices:

  • iPad: $349
  • iPad mini: $499
  • iPad Air: $599 (11-inch) and $799 (13-inch)
  • iPad Pro: $999 (11-inch) and $1299 (13-inch)

iPad Air Moves to M2, Adds 13-inch Model

The big iPad Air news is the expansion of the lineup to include both an 11-inch model and a new 13-inch model. Those who want a larger screen but can’t justify the cost of a 13-inch iPad Pro can now spend $500 less on a 13-inch iPad that provides 30% more screen space than the 11-inch model. The 11-inch screen offers 2360-by-1640-pixel resolution, whereas the 13-inch screen runs at 2732-by-2048-pixel resolution, both at 264 pixels per inch. Otherwise, the two Liquid Retina screens are nearly identical, with the 13-inch screen being slightly brighter at 600 nits compared to the 11-inch screen’s 500 nits.

Apple has finally moved the front-facing Ultra Wide 12-megapixel camera to the landscape edge to provide a more natural view on video calls, which nearly everyone takes in landscape orientation. The previous location of the camera on the portrait edge meant that you often seemed to be looking just off to the side rather than directly at the people on the other side of the call. The 12-megapixel rear-facing camera hasn’t changed from the previous model. Apple also moved the stereo speakers to the landscape side of the iPad Air, and the 13-inch model has double the bass.

Both iPad Air models now rely on the M2 chip instead of the M1, which Apple claims is 50% faster than the M1-based iPad Air and three times faster than the fourth-generation iPad Air with the A14 Bionic chip (the spec card below lists the A12 Bionic, disagreeing with Apple’s press release). Storage starts at 128 GB, up from 64 GB in previous generations, and Apple now provides storage tiers of 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB.

Apple bumped the iPad Air’s wireless connectivity to the latest Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. Neither is likely to make much of a difference for most people.

M2 iPad Air spec card

The iPad Air is compatible with the existing Magic Keyboard but not the new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro. It supports the new Apple Pencil Pro (more on that shortly) and the USB-C Apple Pencil, but not the original Apple Pencil or the second-generation Apple Pencil.

Pricing starts at $599 for the 11-inch iPad Air and $799 for the 13-inch iPad. 5G cellular access adds $150. Moving to 256 GB adds $100 to the price, 512 GB adds $300, and 1 TB adds $500. You can order the new iPad Air models in four colors—blue, purple, starlight, and space gray—and they’ll ship next week.

iPad Pro Leapfrogs to M4 with Ultra Retina XDR Display

Sometimes, it feels like Apple’s hardware engineers are just showing off, and the new iPad Pro models exemplify that. They boast new Ultra Retina XDR displays that rely on OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology that promises brighter highlights, deeper blacks, and faster response times. Because a single OLED panel doesn’t deliver enough brightness, Apple designed a tandem OLED display that combines the light from two panels to deliver 1000 nits of brightness for both SDR and HDR content, and 1600 nits peak for HDR. There’s even a nano-texture glass option to reduce glare. The 11-inch screen runs at 2420-by-1668-pixel resolution, and the 13-inch screen provides 2752-by-2064-pixel resolution, slightly larger than the comparable iPad Air screens.

The front-facing TrueDepth camera hasn’t changed from the previous generation, but like the iPad Air, it’s now located on the landscape edge for better video conferencing. (The Face ID sensor is also located there.) However, the rear-facing camera has gone backward. Previously, the iPad Pro sported Wide and Ultra Wide cameras and supported 2x optical zoom because of that. The new models drop the Ultra Wide camera entirely. However, they now feature an adaptive True Tone flash that improves document scanning by taking multiple photos with the adaptive flash and then stitching the photos together to eliminate the shadows that plague most camera-based scans.

In part because of the new OLED display, the new iPad Pro models are thinner than before, with the 11-inch measuring 5.3 mm thick and the 13-inch model just 5.1 mm. Apple made a big deal about how that’s less than the iPod nano’s 6.0 mm, making the 13-inch iPad Pro Apple’s thinnest product ever. (The previous generation of the 11-inch iPad Pro was 5.9 mm, so it was also thinner than the iPod nano.) They’re also lighter, with the 11-inch iPad Pro weighing in at 0.98 pounds (444 g) and the 13-inch iPad Pro at 1.28 pounds (579 g). That’s only a slight drop for the 11-inch model—0.77 ounces or 22 grams—but the 13-inch model loses 103 grams, almost a quarter of a pound.

M4 iPad Pro spec card

The previous generation of iPad Pro models relied on the M2 chip, but Apple claimed it could only drive the new Ultra Retina XDR display and make the iPad Pro models as thin as they are with new Apple silicon, the M4. It boasts up to four CPU performance cores and six efficiency cores, a 10-core GPU, and a more powerful 16-core Neural Engine. The M4’s Media Engine provides hardware acceleration for popular video codecs like H.264, HEVC, and ProRes, and it adds support for AV1 for more power-efficient playback of high-res streaming video. The M4’s CPU is 50% faster than the M2 in the previous models, and its GPU is up to four times faster than the M2. Performance-per-watt has doubled, so the M4 can run at the same speed as the M2 while using half the power.

M4 spec card

iPad Pro models with 256 GB or 512 GB of storage get an M4 with a 9-core CPU (3 performance cores and 6 efficiency cores) and 8 GB of memory. If you bump up to 1 TB or 2 TB of storage, the M4 has a 10-core CPU (4 performance cores and 6 efficiency cores) and 16 GB of memory.

Many iPad Pro buyers will also want a keyboard and Apple Pencil, and Apple has fresh offerings. The new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro retains the design that floats the iPad above the surface while becoming thinner and lighter. It includes a function row of keys that provide quick access to features like screen brightness and volume. The palm rest is now made from aluminum, and the trackpad is larger and features haptic feedback, so it feels more like using a MacBook. As before, it attaches magnetically and uses the Smart Connector to connect power and data without Bluetooth—there’s also a USB-C connector in the hinge for charging. It costs $299 for the 11-inch iPad Pro or $349 for the 13-inch iPad Pro.

Apple also unveiled the new Apple Pencil Pro, adding a sensor in the barrel to detect a squeeze to bring up a tool palette. A gyroscope detects when the artist rolls the Apple Pencil Pro, changing the orientation of shaped pen and brush tools. A new haptic engine provides confirmation of various actions, including squeeze, double tap, and snapping to a Smart Shape. The Apple Pencil Pro supports Apple Pencil hover to visualize the orientation of a tool before making a mark. It pairs, charges, and is stored on the side of the iPad Pro using a new magnetic interface, but if you lose it, you can use Find My to locate it. Ironically, the Apple Pencil Pro is thicker than the iPad Pro. The Apple Pencil Pro costs $129, and the iPad Pro models also support the $79 USB-C Apple Pencil, but not the original Apple Pencil or the second-generation Apple Pencil.

Apple Pencil Pro spec card

The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $999, with the 13-inch model at $1299. Adding 5G cellular access adds $200. Storage starts at 256 GB, up from 128 GB, and Apple offers tiers of 512 GB ($200 more), 1 TB ($600), and 2 TB ($1000). The nano-texture glass also adds $100 and is available only for models with 1 TB or 2 TB of storage. You can order the iPad Pro (in silver or black), Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro (in black or white), and Apple Pencil Pro now, and they’ll ship next week.

Pondering the iPad

Where are we with the iPad lineup? By removing the ninth-generation iPad and dropping the price of the tenth-generation iPad, Apple has clarified what one should buy on the low end, which is good. All iPads now use USB-C, have flat edges, and feature edge-to-edge screens, and only the iPad mini has its front-facing camera on the portrait edge, which may be a bit less of a problem given its small size.

As has long been the case, the low-end iPad is a remarkable deal, and the iPad mini remains attractive for those wanting a smaller one. Both are increasingly long in the tooth, though, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple replace them in time for the holiday shopping season at the end of the year.

For those who want more performance or screen size than the tenth-generation iPad provides, the new M2 iPad Air models are compelling and much more affordable than the iPad Pro models.

The most impressive entrants are the new iPad Pro models, which provide incredible performance in astonishing physical packages. The price is high, of course, especially once you add storage and peripherals—a fully kitted-out 13-inch iPad Pro will set you back $2599. That’s roughly comparable with a 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M3 Pro.

Although this has been true for a while, I was struck by the extent to which Apple is targeting audio and video professionals with the iPad Pro. Many of the design decisions, such as the tandem OLED display, the nano-texture glass option, and the M4 chip, ensure that only certain types of professionals will be interested. Emphasizing that was Apple’s focus when demonstrating the upgrades to Logic Pro for iPad 2 and Final Cut for iPad 2. If you don’t spend your days working on high-end graphics, audio, or video, the iPad Pro probably isn’t for you.

As well-designed as these new iPads are, the 13-inch iPad Air is the only change that might be compelling for those who have slowly stopped using the iPad in favor of the Mac and the iPhone. If needing a larger screen sends you to the Mac over the iPad every time, but the 12.9-inch iPad Pro was too expensive, the new iPad Air might be attractive.

Otherwise, we’ll have to wait until WWDC in early June to see if iPadOS offers anything new. Apple made much of how these iPads provide the necessary power for AI, but the company currently seems to be referring to features like Visual Look Up, Subject Lift, and Live Text, all of which were previously described in terms of machine learning and aren’t what most people consider AI. They may rely on the same underlying technologies but are not the generative AI that dominates today’s tech announcements.

One innovation that would make many people think harder about an iPad comes from Jason Snell of Six Colors. He suggested that if the iPad could optionally run macOS when connected to a Magic Keyboard, we’d get a true convertible Mac. Both the M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro have the power and memory to do that, plus storage tiers that match those of MacBooks. Some people might appreciate the equivalent of a modern 11-inch MacBook Air, and the main downside would be fewer ports than a MacBook Air. But would Apple want to give up sales to those who would otherwise buy both?

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Comments About Apple Unveils New iPad Air, iPad Pro, Apple Pencil Pro, and Magic Keyboard

Notable Replies

  1. I remain convinced that Macs (and other computers) are for content creation; iPads are for content consumption (and maybe gaming), and they just don’t need that much power—or that steep a price.

  2. Interesting Fact. The basic iPad is $350.00. The new magic keyboard is $300. By any chance does the price of the keyboard have anything to do with the legalization of cannabis?

    One additional thought: I figured out a possible reason it was named the Magic Keyboard; given its price point it will be a neat trick if they can get anyone to buy it!

  3. High-end tablets are neither frivolous nor misguided for some content creators. For those who work in visual arts, a touchscreen is an extremely helpful tool. Prior to professional-level tablets, having a screen you could directly draw on with a stylus on a Mac was an expensive add-on (a base-level Wacom Cintiq is in the same price range as a regular iPad).

    If you don’t draw, you may not appreciate how much more natural it is to draw on the screen with a stylus than to approximate it with a mouse, trackball, or trackpad. The number of digital artists I encounter who use an iPad Pro for their creative work is huge. Many use them in conjunction with more traditional computers (Mac, Windows, or Linux), but an iPad Pro is invaluable for the act of drawing itself.

    You can believe whatever you want, but you are categorically incorrect to assert that tablets are not for content creation.

  4. Missed opportunity: clean up the naming.
    iPad mini, iPad SE, iPad (Plus), iPad Pro (Max). Done.
    Final step: thinning. Drop the 13" Air and the 11" Pro.

    Sure, it would be fairly obvious to add macOS capability to the iPP when you attached a KB. But why? The very cheapest 13" iPP with MK is $1528 (about the cost of a base 14" MBP). Over $500 more expensive than the 13" MBA. Oh well. Perhaps an 11" iPP with macOS makes sense for those looking for an 11" MBA. It would still be $300 more expensive than the 13" MBA. Tells me what a great deal the MBA is and how expensive Apple has made these iPads.

    Overall, what I liked most about this announcement is that it bodes well for all the rumors claiming that the Mac Studio and Pro will head straight to M4 Max/Ultra (based on the improved N3P process) later this year together with a MBP refresh. I feel I kind of missed the moment to upgrade my M1 14" to the M3 when it came out last Oct. But by fall 2024 my M1 will be 3 years old and I’ll have no qualms whatsoever upgrading straight to M4. For the first time in forever, I will probably not be getting AppleCare for my new MacMook. They’re just that rock solid. :+1:

  5. I’ve been using an 11” iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil for photo editing for a couple of years now. Complete game changer for me. Between the ability to zoom in and the Pencil, photo editing feels natural on these tablets. I never felt that way on a Mac before. I feel like I’m working on a print.
    I have to say, too that the Apple Pencil is probably one of Apple’s best products. It does everything it’s supposed to do. Perfectly. I can’t image editing without one. With that said I’m a bit disappointed that the new one doesn’t work with my M2 iPad Pro.

  6. I agree 1,0000%. It’s been years since I fooled around with an Wacom tablet. In addition to not handling color particularly well, the Wacoms were heavy, big and clutzy. Good luck walking around with one, or drawing or working, or when you have to draw while standing or walking around.

    And IIRC, you can only use a Wacom for drawing. You can use an iPad or Pro for entertainment, work, listen to music, watch TV and movies, read books, take and edit photos, etc. etc., etc. when you are not working or drawing for fun.

    And there are a gazillion iOS apps that can also run on an iPad. A Wacom is just a Wacom.

  7. What software are you using to edit?

  8. My rarely used 11-inch M1 iPad Pro (2021) with 512 GB storage (!) is sounding ancient at this point.

    I like the idea of the repositioning of the camera on the newer models though.

    One thing I don’t like about my current iPad Pro on the rare occasions I use it is the slim smart portfolio keyboard case. Does the new Magic Keyboard work with the model I have?

    I guess it would not make sense to do an upgrade at this point.

  9. I’ve just received a marketing email from a local Oz store for pre-order. A 13" Pro, 512GB with cellular is an eye-watering $2899, keyboard is $579 and Pencil is $219.

    I wasn’t going to buy one anyway but at that price you’d need to have a very solid reason for purchase. For considerably less money I could get a very competent M3, 14" MBP with way more storage.

    Like @Simon, I think I’ll wait for an M4 MBP to replace my current M1 Max machine (although it’s so good I’m not sure there’d be a huge benefit).

  10. My daughter is a graphical design student and has an iPad-Pro 12.9 and also inherited my MBP16 (one before the last intel model). She still prefers the iPad for content creation, even after she got a Wacom tablet for the mac. The wacom was pretty much a requirement from school and she grasped this tool quickly but still prefers the iPad.

  11. The iPad Pro M4 is a bit of a disappointment for me.
    I was building hopes for a larger screen. The rumor mill mentioned 14".
    Ended up with a brighter screen and a thinner (and lighter) iPad, but the screen is just a few pixels larger. Not much of a change except that… If I upgrade my 12.9 iPad Pro I now also need to replace about USD 500 worth of accessories (keyboard and pencil) - for a mere few pixels and nits.

    However… the new 13" iPad Air is actually compatible with the iPad Pro 12.9 accessories. Couldn’t Apple make the M4 compatible with those accessories too? I guess they could if they wanted, but here’s an opportunity to extract more $$$ from us loyal consumers…

  12. I use a plethora of apps actually, each one has its own thing it does well. Adobe Photoshop Express, Adobe Express, PhotoRoom (pretty amazing app actually), PhotoLeap, Pixelmator and its sister app Photomator, Picsart and Snapseed. There’s a bunch others too. All of them use the Apple Pencil. I also use FaceApp regularly and Analog Lab.

  13. No, they only work with the new Pros and Airs. Existing Air 4 and 5, the new M2 Airs, and the older Pros have to continue using the older Magic Keyboard that remains on sale.

    The same with the pencil: the new iPads won’t work with the existing pencil 2, and the old models that work with the pencil 2 won’t work with the new pencil pro. (I think the USB-C pencil works with both, though.)

    So people who are upgrading will need to replace Magic Keyboards and magnetic pencils if they have them.

  14. And, that our oldish (mine’s 2 years old) Apple Pencils won’t work with the new iPads.

  15. I totally agree. I have been using Photoshop since version 1; but I could never do in Photoshop what I’m doing on my iPad Pro. The iPad’s touch interface is a true game changer. Wacom tablets used to give artists what might appear to be equivalent functionality, but they really didn’t. Drawing on a blank surface while you look at a computer screen is very different from drawing directly on an iPad.

    There are also other kinds of professional work that benefit greatly from the iPad’s extreme portability. Doctors and nurses use them in hospitals. Project managers use them at construction sites. The list one could make is a long one.

  16. Ray

    I really wanted the iPad to help with my photography editing, but I have been disappointed, probably due to the lack of correct tools. Currently using the ON1 programs on my Mac, but their web services are very poorly implemented. I think the Adobe gets the online services the best, but I don’t want to buy into their ecosystem for my hobby.

    I am getting the new iPad and would love to find out how people make the iPad work as a photo editor without having to make multiple copies and imports etc. Will start this as a new thread if it gets too involved. Will check out the list of apps mentioned above first. I am happy with the desktop ON1, just want something for my iPad

  17. A correction to this post:

    The new Magic Keyboard is compatible with only the new iPad Pros. The old Magic Keyboard is compatible with the new iPad Airs but not with the new iPad Pros.

    The previous generation Pencil 2, which charges when magnetically connected to the side of the iPad, is not compatible with any of the new iPads. The new Pencil Pro, however, is compatible with both. This is due to a significant change in the charging mechanism, as the camera hardware now occupies the old, centered location. However, would the old pencil work if you moved it so that its charger connection lines up with the new location on the new iPad? Of course, it would now protrude from one end of the iPad.

  18. A very good point. An iPad can be held in one hand while you interact with the screen with the other hand. It’s really clumsy to do that with a laptop; you really need to have a relatively flat surface to set it on (or a place to sit so you can put it on your lap) to make effective use of it.

    This is actually one area where I think Apple has definitely dropped the ball compared to the Windows world: a device that can serve as either a tablet or a laptop is potentially more versatile than either alone. With the increasing alignment between macOS and iOS/iPadOS, it would be quite feasible for Apple to make a MacBook with an iPad-like touchscreen that can run iPadOS apps. I don’t know how that might undercut sales of the other devices, though.

  19. I sort of wonder the value of my “Pro” model (M1 11-inch 2021, cellular, 512 GB storage, rarely used) is compared to the latest Air models, which use M2 processors.

    Does my older Pro model lag behind the new Air models in power/abilities/performance?

    I guess I shouldn’t worry about it.

  20. On the one hand, I feel if I had a better keyboard I might use the M1 Pro 11-inch 2021 model I have a bit more. The Apple portfolio keyboard is so slim and light (the reason I went for it) that the keys are actually hard to use for lots of typing.

    On the other hand, the Magic Keyboard weighs a ton, which might make it even less likely to carry with me when I go out.

    I obviously overpurchased. I guess I didn’t really need a Pro to begin with. Especially with 512 GB storage.

  21. My Air 4 is just three years old this week and I really don’t need to upgrade it anytime soon. But I did price out a new Air 6 vs an iPad Pro M4 (which is this - 7th generation?) with the same storage and it’s a $350 difference; both would need a new pencil, though really I rarely use it, so I could probably wait until it’s on sale (Verizon has in the past sold them at a discount which is how I got the one I have now).

    I really can’t see getting the Pro over the Air for my use. I guess I’d prefer FaceID but I’ve been living with TouchID for the last three years and it’s fine. I have been thinking lately about getting the magic keyboard, so now I know that I can and it will work with a replacement if I need to upgrade in the next year or so, at least until Apple updates the Air again. (My plan is generally to upgrade my iPad every 4-5 years, so anytime after about this time next year, unless this one fails.)

  22. I didn’t notice that the Air uses Touch ID instead of Face ID. That’s touched on the side somewhere? Hmm…

    I guess I can wait too. I honestly can’t believe it’s been 3 years already! It feels like I just recently got it. But time passes quickly. It’s on monthly AppleCare warranty now, as is my iPhone 13 Pro.

    Interestingly enough, I don’t feel any urge to upgrade my iPhone. I thought I might wait until the iPhone 17 came out.

    I supposed I might as well just wait with my iPad too. Maybe as mentioned in the article Apple might give in in a couple of years and let and iPad run MacOS. Or make a MBP with a removable screen that turns into a tablet on the run. Or… something new.


  23. I’ve done that with my 11" Mac Book Air - hold it with one hand and type with the other. But it’s awkward and I’m always afraid I’m going to drop it. So not really a good idea. And I’d never want to try that with a larger computer.

    Touch ID on an iPad is incorporated into the wake/sleep button.

  24. Reputable refurb stores are selling that model with a warranty for around $750 in the USA. I just did a search of recently completed eBay sales, and the price range has been much wider ($450-850), but most of those are from before this week’s new product announcement.

    On the low end, I see that third parties like Amazon still have “new” 9th Generation iPads with physical Home buttons available at $249 and as little as $189 for refurbs.

  25. I guess it doesn’t make sense to even think about upgrading with that much of a loss. Especially since I hardly use it. Even though it now has the monthly warranty, I would say it’s still in “like new” condition.

  26. I felt the same way about the pricing of the Magic Keyboard until I bought one. It’s a remarkably engineered accessory. I would have been happier paying $250, of course, but I understand why its not $99.

  27. Absolutely true…they’re dropping the ball here. I remain convinced that a dual boot or dual interface iPadOS makes the iPad as both a laptop and tablet a compelling idea. CPU wise…even the M1 iPads could run macOS easily…and while bumping up the memory and storage to mimic what a laptop can do would cost more…I for one would love to have a device that could do either, even if it cost the price of an MBP. In an ideal world…a dual interface device that could either automatically or via control center shift between the mouse/pointer macOS interface or the tap iPadOS interface…it could choose based on keyboard being attached or not or manually. Federico at macstories has built himself what he calls the Macpad…and it’s a brilliant idea I would adopt if it was available, although I personally would like to have the macOS available on iPad mode if I wanted it. I wouldn’t think that adding the second interface to macOS and running the combined OS on the iPad would be that difficult from a programming standpoint…and it would make the single device life work excellently.

  28. Yep…saw that page just now but I did see n Apple page yesterday that said gen 2 worked with the new iPads…so either they changed the page or something…shrug. No worries though.

  29. I’m on computer (MacBook Pro) reading this Washington Post article before making dinner. I’m at my desk all the time, since my work involves programming and dealing with host computers for clients.

    I also have an iPad Pro (M1, 11-inch, bought in 2021) that is basically like new because it just sits here and I rarely use it.

    I could have read this article on my iPhone 13 Pro. And I might have posted this comment that way. But it’s easier to type on a keyboard. On my iPhone I probably would have dictated it.

    There are a lot of people, including note-takers in class, and people on the go, who get more out of an iPad (especially with cellular) who need something bigger than an iPhone but less bulky than a computer to carry around with them.

    Sometimes when going out I will take my iPad with me in case of emergencies, or if I want to show photo albums to people. I had a 40th anniversary get-together in October and made videos and slideshows and brought my iPad to hook up to a projector to show them to everybody. That was more convenient than disconnecting my Mac from everything and lugging that around.

    On the other hand, I took my iPad along on a recent two week trip to the U.S. and I don’t think I used it even once!

    My conclusion? It might be nice if an iPad ran MacOS with a touchscreen. I might use it more.

    Oh, and I read books on my iPhone.

    But it depends on the person. If you are a simple user and don’t need multitasking, and most of your use is watching and doing emails and you need something easier to edit with than an iPhone then an iPad might be just the niche for you.

    If you need to get more technical work done, then I guess a computer is better.

    And your smartphone is ubiquitous. It’s always on your person and fills in with everything.

  30. Ditto! I finally snagged one on sale on Amazon a while back for around $220. I thought paying $300 was crazy. I would connect $20 bluetooth keyboards. Then I got a Logitech case that connected to a keyboard and liked it, but you always had to have the case part on the iPad which made it much heavier/bulkier. After years of use that way I couldn’t believe how thin and light my iPad was when I took off the case. With the Magic Keyboard, there’s no need for that extra case and you can rip off the magnetically attached iPad instantly any time you want.

    The addition of the trackpad is also huge. I could never figure out why I didn’t like writing/editing on iPad. It seemed like with a keyboard it should be fine. The problem is that writing and editing involve a lot of rewriting and moving pieces of text around. Having to do that with touch is awkward. It takes forever to get your text selection just right. Having a trackpad made all the difference. While I still prefer my Mac (mainly because there I have BBEdit), I no longer hate doing such work on the iPad.

    Now that I have a Magic Keyboard, I’d totally buy a new one at full price. Still steep and not cheap, but it’s such a solid piece of engineering and totally transforms your iPad, I wouldn’t have an iPad without it.

  31. When I compared the third-generation iPad Pro to the iPad Air of that time, the differences were minimal except for Apple Pencil lag, which was noticeable with the Air. The iPad Pro exhibited no perceptible lag. In the published comparisons I read, th reviewers recommended the iPad Pro for artists who draw on their iPads. I do not know if the latest iPad Air suffers from the sam problem.

  32. I think that cannibalisation is the main Apple worry for an iPad dual use scenario. But there is perhaps an opening for another device: the most expensive iPhone (at any given point). To be able to say “Oh, and one more thing: this Pro Max iPhone can also be your Mac in a pocket for ultimate [or emergency] portability.” No big fanfare or anything, just presented as an interesting and unique option, and implicitly highlight the power of the device.

    Sure, you would need a screen (that iPad? A hotel TV? Your office screen?) and input device(s), but if you for instance commute between your home office and the city office, then that scenario may become a true benefit…

  33. Sort of reminds me of the old Motorola Atrix 4G. This Android phone was advertised as being able to dock with a screen/keyboard and be usable as a laptop/desktop system.

    Unfortunately, it was woefully underpowered compared to even cheap computers at the time.

    I suspect that if someone tried it today - offering to convert it, not to a PC, but to a Chromebook, it might have more success.

  34. I’m not at all convinced Apple is afraid of that. An iPad with KB is usually more expensive than a MBA. The Apple of old was actually very public about not being concerned with cannibalism as long as it was an Apple product that was cannibalizing another Apple product.

    Samsung has for several years offered that. They call it DeX. I have no doubt Apple could do it better because of Apple Silicon and them being king of integrating across different form factors. But they’d likely need to do it a whole lot better since almost nobody knows or really uses DeX in spite of it being pushed as a a key selling point by Samsung ever since 2017.

  35. You know what, I have a Mac. I don’t need something that imitates it. I also have an iPhone. I don’t need something that imitates it. My iPad is currently my general use computer: not for work(Mac), not for comms and mobility (iPhone) but for general computer consumption and production in most spaces. I like it as that.

  36. I have maintained from the beginning that the iPad operating system should be mimicking the Mac OS. After all, the original iPhone operating system was derived from Mac OS X by Steve Jobs’ own admission, right on stage. Why are they then trying to make the Mac behave more like the iPad and iPhone’s iOS?? It should be the other way around.

  37. That’s why I think a dual boot or dual interface option makes sense. Hardware wise…there’s no reason an iPad can’t run macOS…perhaps not as high performance as a high end MBP but most people don’t really need that performance. Dual boot or dual interface means that it isn’t imitating a Mac…it is a Mac in that configuration and then it’s an iPad in the no keyboard or external monitor configuration.

  38. That’s a misunderstanding of Jobs’ statement. All of Apple’s currently-supported operating systems (macOS, iOS, iPadOS, WatchOS, TVOS, VisionOS) are all based on the same Darwin kernel and all use system frameworks from a common code-base.

    But that’s all under the covers. User interface code is, and has to be, different for these different platforms. At minimum, it recognizes that an app designed for keyboard and mouse won’t run well on a touch-only device. And a UI designed for a 15" (or 35") screen will need to be redesigned for a 6" or 2" screen.

    But despite all the visible differences, due to different UI frameworks and different application designs, it is (and has always been) the same “OS X” infrastructure underneath that.

  39. I do all my TIdBits Talking on my iPad.

  40. And that’s why a dual interface option via a control center switch or a ‘is there a keyboard with a trackpad attached’ or whatever makes sense. From a hardware perspective…with the addition of a bit more RAM and storage there’s no reason anything with an AS chip can’t run macOS which would make the device far more productive with a keyboard and trackpad…you know, a real file manager, windows, etc…and still able to shift to a touch device when work is done and you want to read or watch a movie 9r play a game. That device would be more expensive than an iPad only device…but so what.

    The underlying OS is still mostly based on macOS anyway…and while I’m not saying it’s easy…it can’t be any harder than that kludgey multitasking thing to accomplish.

  41. Sorry, but I maintain that I did not misunderstand what Steve Jobs meant, nor did I misinterpret what he said.

    Your argument that the Mac OS just cannot be shrunk down to run on smaller devices because it would cause problems is invalid with the existing 13" iPad which is the same screen size as a MBA or MBP 13".

    Further, I never understood why Apple had to make an invisible file system on the iPad. This is the main reason why I refuse to use an iPad any longer for anything; it was just too frustrating!

    Apple is doing all it can to make every new iteration of the Mac OS more like iOS. Maybe that doesn’t bother most users, but it sure as heck bothers me. YMMV.

  42. That bothers me too.

    But that does not mean it’s trivial to turn an iPad into a macOS tablet, nor desirable. Regardless of common CPU and ISA or common kernel or not.

    IMHO the Mac needs to stay Mac and remain heavily optimized for mouse and KB. An iPad can be equipped with a KB and trackpad which would make it a at least somewhat viable macOS option. I do not necessarily think that’s a bad idea. But I question if people would be prepared to spend ~ $500 extra just so instead of having a MBA and an iPad, they now have one single-port iPad Pro with an expensive KB/trackpad attached to it.

    I’m pretty certain that in the end this doesn’t come down to what’s technically possible, but rather what Apple thinks is attractive (to users, to its own bottom line, etc.). Just like multi-user. I’m certain the iPad could be made multi-user just like any cheap Android tablet. But I’m just as certain Apple does not consider that attractive and hence, it just doesn’t make it happen. Not because it couldn’t, but because they have declared they do not want it.

  43. I actually think this is why Apple aren’t concerned with cannibalism from MacOS to iPad - and possibly why iPad sales have been flat recently. With the introduction of the new MB Airs, I suspect many people are looking at the value they represent, their size and weight and figure why not have a ‘proper’ Mac rather than an iPad. If there’s any cannibalism it’s from iPad to Mac rather than the other way.

    This is NOT to undermine some people who will need the single handed portability/operability of an iPad, but for many people who are looking for an all round computing platform the MB Air offers amazing value over an iPad.

  44. Jason Snell has a detailed review of the new iPad Pro now. He loves the hardware but can’t get past the limitations of iPadOS.

  45. I like this take: pmoe: "@[email protected] @[email protected]…" - Aus.Social

    I think this is the point.
    I want a hover board. But they don’t exist.
    The iPad you want doesn’t exist.
    The things you want to do on iPad you can do on a Mac.
    Sucks to be us.
    Negative takes are old.
    What we have is amazing.
    Just enjoy it.

    I guess I’d add that if the iPad isn’t for you, it’s not for you. Don’t buy one.

  46. Ken

    I use my M1 iPad a lot, but it is for reading books, news, surfing the web and similar. It is a bit of overkill but it does it very well.

  47. Maybe if I had more rooms in my house I might use it more. Like if I were relaxing in a den, away from my computer. It might be tempting to read on my M1 iPad rather than on my iPhone.

  48. re. AppleCare and being rock solid…

    Listen to Apple pundit Allison Sheridan’s Nosillcast podcast, about her saga with Apple on her previous 14" MBP battery life issues. Effectively she ended-up chucking the towel in, manually got rid of it for a new one at her expense (to save her sanity, from the sounds of things, lol!).

  49. John Gruber counterpoints Jason Snell:

  50. M C

    I’d update my iPad Mini but, it is too expensive. Mini used to mean, less expensive but, that seems to be gone from most products with that name.
    It still works fine too. If Apple made a thin light one that was powerful (longer lasting into the years), I might bite. But more likely, if they made a thin light basic model, and charged less, I would update. A mini SE? Assuming, the processor is more modern than my v.5 iPad.
    I like the mini and traded in an iPad for it. I think people are missing out on a nice, compact tablet that does all you need in a tablet (which is basically, everything). If you need more, more, get a mac.
    With inflation, I might drive that mini into the ground and then, not get a replacement. Maybe a used mac laptop.

  51. M C

    How about an auto switching mechanism that turned off touch when a mouse was in use and the UI adapted to mouse use. When mouse off, back to iPad UI and touch. Layered adaptive interface or LAI.
    In some sense, Accessibility is this.

  52. I likely fall into the camp that Gruber describes: I’m not bothered by iPadOS. I have a MacBook Pro (two, actually) for when I want a computer. My creaky iPad 6th gen is sufficient for reading or netflixing, but gasps when it has more than a couple of apps open. Aside from it’s tiredness, I don’t miss anything from MacOS–but I’m quite content with mainstream apps.

    I’ve been chomping at the bit to incorporate an iPad Pro into my photography and creative workflow and have been holding off due to rumored new devices. If I’m going to splurge, waiting for latest/greatest extends the useful life for me. I find it hard to believe that app developers won’t take advantage of the M4 horsepower. My one desire, though, would be to have two USB C/TB data ports, or an SD slot, though that would diminish the sleekness. But I have a new Anker dongle waiting to be put into use when my iPad and Pencil Pro show up at the Apple store later today. (I mistakenly thought that the notice for picking up my Magic Keyboard, which I now have, applied to all products in my order–after all, I ordered them all at once. I’m guessing that the engraving caused them to be logistically decoupled.)

  53. End of the day I couldn’t resist the temptation and got myself the iPad Pro 13".
    I think it was the first one shipped to a customer in Israel.

    All in all: It’s thin, light, fast, and has a great screen.

    The center-stage camera is certainly positioned in the right (not left, center) place.

    Is it worth the spend? Wouldn’t an iPad air suffice? It certainly delivers beyond my needs. I’ll try to return to my 2022 pro 12.9 in a few days just to get the feel of it, because by the end of the day the 2024 air and the 2022 pro are pretty much the same…

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