Apple has been busy showing off all manner of software and hardware upgrades at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), including a brand new 10.5-inch iPad Pro that brings with it faster performance, a more responsive screen, and an upgraded camera.
Whether it's going to be enough to tempt average users to fork out for an iPad if they haven't already remains to be seen, but the upgrades over the existing 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch models will definitely tempt creatives and power users.
There's an improved 120Hz refresh rate for starters, which can change dynamically depending on what's on the screen – keeping up with fast-paced movies but saving on battery life when you're viewing a static image.
The True Tone display is 50-percent brighter than earlier models, according to Apple, and now supports HDR video too.
Thanks in part to that refresh rate upgrade, the Apple Pencil latency is down to 20 milliseconds, which means the gap between tapping on the screen and seeing a response is shorter than ever.
Under the hood there's a brand new A10X fusion chip with a six-core CPU and a 12-core GPU, as well as 64 GB, 256 GB or 512 GB of storage space. Apple says you'll see a 30 percent performance boost over the previous 9.7-inch iPad Pro and a 40 percent improvement in graphics performance.
As for that new screen size, the bezels have been shrunk to leave a device that's not much bigger than the 9.7-inch iPad Pro model it's apparently replacing. The extra space also means the 10.5-inch iPad Pro can be used with a full-sized keyboard, whether on the screen in iOS or as a clip-on attachment.
The new iPad Pro is also the first Apple device to feature fast charging technology, and comes with a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 7-megapixel front-facing camera. The lenses are the same as in the iPhone 7.
From now on it looks like Apple will sell both the 10.5-inch and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with the basic 9.7-inch iPad (no Pro) it unveiled in March available as a cheaper option. The larger iPad Pro is also going to get the CPU upgrade, Apple says.
The new iPad, which is on sale now, will of course be in line for an iOS 11 update later in the year. Exclusive to the tablet version of the mobile OS is a standalone Files app that allows access to the local storage and a variety of connected cloud apps, as well as support for additional drag-and-drop gestures.
More than ever, the iPad Pro is earning the Pro in its name, which is perhaps no surprise given the strides Microsoft is making with its Surface Pro line of devices.
The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro is up for pre-order now for US$649 for the 64 GB model, $749 for the 256 GB model, and $949 for the 512 GB edition. It starts shipping next week.Product page:
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