After months of incessant rumors that suggested that the iPad Pro line-up was due for a refresh, Apple has finally announced what’s new with the iPad Pro devices. For starters, there is now a new 11-inch iPad Pro. Secondly, the iPad Pro 12.9 has also received a complete update. However, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro variant has not been touched, and will continue to sell alongside the new iPad Pro variants.
This clearly is the biggest update that iPad Pro lineup has received, in a long time. The iPad Pro 11-inch and the iPad Pro 12.9-inch now get a design with flat side spines, quite reminiscent of the iPhones of old—the iPhone 5s, for instance. The physical home button, which was a ever present fixture below the screen, has been done away with. This has been possible because of the gesture based controls of iOS12, something the new iPhones have also been able to take advantage of. The new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro variants are thinner too than before. The 11-inch iPad Pro doesn’t feel much bigger to hold than the existing iPad Pro 10.5, and the slimmer bezels means a much larger display could be packed in within the same footprint.
Also, the 3.5mm headphone jack has been chucked out of the window, which means you’ll need to buy a adapter for USB-C to 3.5mm if you still have wired headphones or earphones to pair.
Even though there is no notch cutout on the display of the iPad Pros, the 11-inch and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will get the FaceID feature as well—complete with the True Depth camera setup just above the display.
With the A12X Bionic chip running away under the hood, these are the fastest iPad Pros. As you would expect, this is also a 7 nanometer chip. It has more transistors than the A12 Bionic chip in the iPhone XS lineup. This can do 5 trillion neural operations per second, which gives these the sharpest AI capabilities ever, and apps will be able to utilise this if they wish to. Computational computing for image editing, augmented reality apps and virtual reality are significantly better than any its rivals in the computing space. For professional users, the up to 1TB storage option should be interesting. The processor these iPad Pro are powered by is an 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU. According to Apple’s numbers, this offers 35 percent faster single-core performance and is up to 90 percent faster for multicore application processes.
Though the most interesting change is that the Lightning Port has been swapped out for a USB-C port. This brings this at par with the current MacBook line-up. This basically is Apple’s subtle way of saying that they finally position the iPad Pro, at least the 11-inch and the 12.9-inch variants as full-fledged computing devices. At the moment, only the mobility focused devices, which include the iPhones, the iPad, the iPad Mini and the iPad Pro 10.5 remain with the Lightning charging port. Interesting to also put this into perspective that your MacBook charger can now also juice up the iPad Pro, which means one less cable to carry on the travels. The addition of the charging-out feature means you can charge your phone from the iPad Pro 11 or the iPad Pro 12.9, which could be handy while traveling.
In many ways, this switch to the USB-C has simply heaped pressure on Apple to make the switch for the iPhones too, and it would perhaps be on the cards next year.
All this power doesn’t come cheap though. The iPad Pro 11 is priced upwards of Rs71,900 while the larger iPad Pro 12.9 will set you back by Rs89,900 onwards. In many ways, the new iPad Pro devices are competing with Microsoft’s Surface lineup of devices, that includes the Surface Pro convertibles.