It’s nearing the end of summer and that means two things: colder weather and Apple revealing new devices for people to brag about waiting in line for. Announced just this week were the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, and even an upgraded Apple TV complete with a redesigned remote control and better chip.
But the “biggest” reveal was something a lot of people have been wanting for a long time: a mega iPad. It’s called the iPad Pro and it will not only be the largest Apple device ever released but also the most powerful.
While the iPad Pro won’t release until sometime in November, Apple was kind enough to share plenty of information on what it’s all about– both inside and outside. Here’s everything we know about the biggest and fastests iOS device made so far.
iPad Pro design
The iPad Pro’s most appealing feature is of course its screen size. It has an impressive 12.9-inch retina display, 3.2 inches more than the iPad Air 2’s 9.7-inch display. To compare, the iPad Mini’s 7.9-inch display isn’t even 2 inches smaller than a regular iPad. Apple clearly wanted to deliver a device that was a decent size bigger than its most recent predecessor.
Why? Our guess is that Apple wants the iPad Pro to serve as a worthy competitor to laptops. This might be why Phil Schiller clearly pointed out that this new device would support software keyboards that match the size of an actual keyboard. With 78 percent more display area than even the iPad Air 2, there’s no telling what great software apps we’ll see on this mega tablet.
The large display also boasts 2732 x 2048 pixels (the iPad Air 2 has a 2048×1536), which means you’re looking at a total of 5.9 million pixels. It is then no surprise that the display looks absolutely incredible– jaw dropping, even! People who have seen the iPad Pro up close say it offers a better resolution than even the 15-inch Macbook Pro. Not only that, the iPad Pro also features twice the graphics performance of iPad Air 2, making it the best Apple tablet for playing games and watching videos, streaming apps, etc.
While the iPad Pro won’t be the lightest device you own, it still in comes at a weight of only 1.54 pounds. This is thanks to the very slim design that at 6.9 mm thick only loses to the iPad Air 2 by about .8 mm. Ipad Pro will be available in three colors: Gold, Silver, and Space Grey. If you prefer, Apple will have new Smart Covers and Silicone Cases to outfit your iPad Pro in either White or Charcoal Grey.
Video – Introducing iPad Pro
The processor in the iPad Pro
So we know it has a big, gorgeous screen and is surprisingly both thin and light for its size. Now let’s go over what’s under the hood to find out if Apple put as much work into the guts of the iPad Pro as they did the design.
The upcoming mega tablet will run on a new A9X processor, which is said to have twice the memory and be 1.8x faster than the iPad Air 2‘s A8X chip. Schiller also made sure to point out that the iPad Pro can get things done 80 percent faster than most other portable PCs.
Apple has also mentioned that the storage controller in the iPad Pro received an upgrade. This means you can open large files like high resolution photos, HD and 4K videos, and beefy PowerPoint presentations faster than before.
The “desktop-class performance” made possible by the new processor allows the iPad Pro to handle things that you previously could only do on Mac computers. If there was ever a tablet that proved a tempting alternative for people considering a laptop purchase, it’s this one.
Pictures and sound
Tablet picture takers, fret not. You can still look awkward while snapping photos with a massive device thanks to the iPad Pro’s 8 megapixel iSight rear-facing camera. Also included is an HD camera on the front so you can continue FaceTiming your friends and family.The iPad Air 2’s ability to record 1080p HD videos is also possible with the iPad Pro
As for sound, the extra space on this sizable device allowed Apple to add a total of four decent-sized speakers, one on each corner. This not only makes it around three times louder than the iPad Air 2 but also helps create an immersive “soundstage” experience. The speakers have been programmed to provide a well-balanced sound by automatically changing depending on if the device is being held vertically or horizontally.
A new casing design is also said to give the iPad Pro’s speakers a wider frequency range, up to 61 percent more back volume, and up to three times more acoustic output than any of its predecessors. If you love watching movies or listening to music on your iPad devices, know that this big guy is set to deliver the best tablet sound experience possible.
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iPad Pro’s Operating System
The iPad Pro will hit store shelves complete with iOS 9, letting users take advantage of features like split screen mode that are only possible on this operating system. Note that unlike the Surface Pro, this new device will not run a full OS, which for the average consumer shouldn’t be a big deal.
For those of you who love typing shortcuts, the iPad Pro has got you covered. iOS 9 adds several formatting buttons right on the QuickType bar. This means that all it takes is one tap to copy and paste, add attachments, bold and italicize, and more. Additionally, third-party apps can also let you customize the shortcuts on the QuickType toolbar so the buttons you use most are always immediately available.
Another neat addition brought by iOS 9 deals with an action that can prove frustrating on previous operating systems: copying and selecting text. Now you can select and edit text on your screen by placing two fingers on the touchscreen. When this is done, the screen becomes a convenient trackpad that you can use to select text simply by dragging.
Multitaskers will also love the different ways you can view and interact with two apps simultaneously. First is Slide Over, which lets you select a second app to open up as a pinned sidebar on the right of the screen. Second is Split View, which allows you to make two apps visible at the same time, each one taking up half the screen.
Third is Picture-in-Picture, a mode where you can use FaceTime or watch a video while another app continues running behind it. The video or FaceTime screen becomes a smaller window that you can resize and drag to any part of the screen, allowing you to chat with people while browsing Facebook, news apps, and more.
Keep in mind that the new 3D Touch feature set to be introduced with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will not be available on iPad Pro.
iPad Pro’s battery life
Better graphics, higher resolution, and a more powerful CPU are great and all…but not if I can only use the thing for three hours before I have to stick it into a wall outlet or USB port. The good news is that despite being bigger and better, the iPad Pro will still net you around 10 hours of use on a full charge– only 9 hours if using cellular.
This is the same battery life as the iPad Air 2, which goes to show that Apple knew this would be a concern. Of course, we won’t know if 10 hours is the actual number or not until enough people get their hands on an iPad Pro and use it to play games, watch streaming apps over Wi-Fi, and record HD video. And if it’s anything like the iPad Air 2, it should be able to get charged from 0 to 100% in around three hours.
Prices, models, and the release date for iPad Pro
As of this writing there is no solid release date for the iPad Pro. The only thing Apple has mentioned is the month of November, which isn’t as specific as we’d like but at least we know it’s coming before the end of the year. At least it gives you plenty of time to decide which of the three following models you’ll want to pick up:
- iPad Pro 32GB model with W-Fi starting at $799.99
- iPad Pro 128GB model with Wi-Fi starting $949.99
- iPad Pro 128GB model with Wi-Fi and cellular starting at $1079
If those prices made you spit your drink out all over your screen, you’re probably not alone. Apple knows this will be the biggest and most powerful product they’ll release so far, which makes sense that they’d add a price tag to match. After all, the Cupertino-based company isn’t exactly known for having low prices at launch… or ever.
It helps to remember that the iPad Pro is in fact being marketed as an alternative to a good laptop, which tend to be in the same price range. While it may not completely replace your MacBook Pro, the iOS 9 support, better processor, and host of other great features make it an excellent device for people who want a tablet that can do more and do it fast.
And in case you didn’t notice, an iPad Pro 32GB model with W-Fi AND cellular was not announced. It’s a strange move by Apple and one that is sure to annoy consumers that don’t need more than 32GB but would like to hop onto the internet without the need for Wi-Fi. Maybe they’ll make one available if they notice a demand for it.
As of this writing no pre-order information has been shared by Apple. What we do know is that you’ll eventually be able to buy your own iPad Pro from either Apple.com and Apple Stores or select carriers and approved resellers.
The Apple Pencil
A number of interesting accessories were announced alongside the iPad Pro, and one of them is making people talk more than the main device itself. We are of course talking about the Apple Pencil, the stylus that can be yours for $100. That’s right, an entire Ben for this little aluminum wand.
So what makes Apple think people will be willing to pay that much for a stylus in addition to the several hundred dollars the iPad Pro costs? For starters, it makes use of some impressive technology that’s sure to catch the eye of artists, video game designers, and the like. Aside from being great for adding handwritten notes to digital documents and such, the Apple Pencil features multiple sensors on both the tip and case.
This makes it capable of detecting the pressure, angle, orientation, and position of each stroke. Artists can now draw either thick lines or light strokes depending on how strong or gently they press the stylus onto the screen. Two of the tip’s sensors also work specifically with Multi-Touch display to detect tilting, allowing you to create shading effects. And for finger painting fans, the Apple Pencil can also be used together with your fingers to create your next work of art.
Apple claims their new stylus lasts up to 12 hours on a full charge and can be used to sketch for 30 minutes with just 15 seconds of charging via the Lighting connector at the opposite end of the tip.
While it sounds perfect for digital artists, it’s worth mentioning that there are plenty of good stylii out there at more affordable prices. Only time will tell if the Apple Pencil really is, as Phil Schiller put it, “one of the most advanced technologies we’ve ever created”. Of course, upon hearing these words we can’t help but remember what Steve Jobs said during the iPhone OS 4 event in 2010: “It’s like we said on the iPad, if you see a stylus, they blew it”.
Video – Introducing Apple Pencil
The Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro
This handy accessory works as more than just a typing tool. The Smart Keyboard is similar to the iPad Smart Cover in that it serves as a cover and can also be folded up to prop up the iPad pro. It is also quite slim (4 mm), light, and water-resistant.
A three-pronged Smart Connector is used to connect the Smart Keyboard to the iPad Pro, which means no need for wires, plugs, or Bluetooth pairing. It reminds us of the way the Apple Watch’s diagnostic port functions. This connector also lets you easily transfer data and power between the two devices without ever having to charge the Smart Keyboard.
What’s interesting is that Apple did release an accessory for the first iPad that served as both a keyboard and dock, but they didn’t give it nearly as much attention as this new add-on. The Smart Keyboard will be available in November alongside the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil for the price of $169.99.
Other accessories for iPad Pro
Besides the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, only the new Smart Covers and Silicone Cases were announced. You can pick them up either Charcoal Gray or White. There are a few third-party accessories already for sale, including a set made by OEAGO. This includes a magnetic smart cover and hard back case with precise cutouts that allow easy access to side-buttons and provide sturdy protection. You also get a stylus pen and a cleaning cloth, as well as a wristband that we’re not sure why is included.
See current prices here for the iPad Pro OEAGO accessories.
iPad Pro vs Surface Pro 3
To no one’s surprise, Apple’s new device is already being compared to Microsoft’s own large screen tablet. Right off the bat, one of the biggest differences between the two is the operating systems. While the iPad Pro will be running a mobile OS (iOS 9), the Surface Pro 3 runs a full desktop OS (Windows 10 Pro).
While the new A9X processor packs quite a punch, people have been left disappointed with the announcement that the iPad Pro will run basically the same iOS as an iPhone and regular iPad. Since there’s still no word on the new iPad’s RAM, it’s impossible to compare it to the Surface Pro 3’s 4GB/8GBs.
That being said, Apple’s new mega tablet has some serious competition in the Surface Pro 3 when it comes to power and functionality. That’s because the Surface Pro 3 can run any Windows program, including iTunes, Photoshop, and Office, as well as big PC games like League of Legends, The Elder Scrolls Online, and more. NOt only that, Microsoft’s Windows 10 powered tablet allows you to connect an Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller and then use the tablet to play games on your TV.
In terms of screen size, The Surface Pro 3 has a diagonal size of exactly 12 inches and a resolution of 2160×1440. The iPad Pro narrowly wins this battle with its 12.9 inch display and 2732 x 2048 resolution. But when it comes to storage options, Microsoft wins. While the iPad Air only has a 32GB or 128GB, options for the Surface Pro 3 include 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB.
Surface Pro 3 offers no cellular model while the iPad Pro has LTE versions available, although it’s a shame that there is no 32GB cellular model. A few other small ways the the Surface Pro 3 has an edge is via its microSD slot and 5MP front facing camera. While the iPad Pro’s rear facing camera is better (8MP vs 5MP), it offers no microSD support and has a front camera of only 1.2MP.
Worth noting is that the Surface Pro 3 comes included with its Surface Pen. If all you need is something to draw notes on documents, mark up presentations, and do basic drawings, it gets the job done. Of course, it doesn’t have the advanced sensors the Apple Pen comes with to allow for more precision when drawing sketches and using image editing tools. We’re sure no one would have complained if Apple had included a cheaper stylus with the iPad Pro instead of hoping everyone forks over $100 for the Apple Pen.
The good news is that both have a basic model that starts at $799.99. HOwever, Microsoft was nice enough to offer plenty more choices depending on what you want for solid state drive size, processor, and RAM. While the iPad Pro will launch with only three models, you can right now choose between five Surface Pro 3 tablets ranging between 64GB to 512GB of SSD and 4GB to 8GB of RAM. Whether you get Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 also depends on the version you pick up.
iPad Pro is Apple’s monster tablet
The iPad Pro certainly looks to be one of the best devices Apple has released in a long time. We hope that by assembling all the information currently out there that you were able to answer questions you might have had about the new mega tablet. You can of course count on us update this page with any new information that Apple is sure to make available as the release date approaches.
We’d also like to point out that since the iPad Pro isn’t actually for sale yet, the comparison between it and the Surface Pro 3 was limited to the information Apple has so far given. However, there’s no doubt that the iPad Pro was designed to not only compete against Microsoft’s impressive tablet but with other laptop devices as well. At least with the added competition we as consumers not only have more options to choose from but can also look forward to a heated “monster tablet” battle that is sure to give us better products in the future.
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