Apple's new iPad Pros are faster, slimmer, and drop the Home button
Alongside some new Macs, Apple has announced refreshed, new-look iPad Pros to follow on from the slates it launched last year. This year's batch bring with them improved screens and audio, much smaller bezels, and – just like the latest iPhones – Face ID and no Home button.
The redesigned tablets are certainly eye-catching, with rounded corners for the LCD display and thinner dimensions – they're just 5.9 mm (0.23 inches) thick this year. The embedded Face ID sensor will apparently recognize you whichever way up you have your tablet, so no need to crane your neck.
Inside the tablets, Apple is also debuting a new A12X Bionic chip, even faster than the processor packed into the 2018 iPhones. Compared with last year's iPad Pros, the processors can chew through certain tasks up to 90 percent faster, Apple says, with double the graphics performance as well.
That's a lot of power – and Apple took the time to run through an on-stage demo of the upcoming Photoshop for iPad (due 2019), which will offer close to the full desktop experience on a tablet. This is one app where the Apple Pencil double-tap will work, to zoom in and out of an image.
Because of those diminished bezels and various other tweaks, the smaller model now has a larger 11-inch (2,388 x 1,668 pixel) display in a tablet the same physical size as its predecessor, while the larger model keeps the 12.9-inch (2,732 x 2,048 pixel) display but reduces the overall dimensions.
As for the other specs of the new iPad Pros, internal storage can now go right up to 1 TB, while there's a somewhat surprising switch to USB-C for the connector. It'll make life much easier if you need to attach accessories like digital cameras or external displays – you can even use a new iPad Pro to charge your smartphone.
The Apple Pencil ($129) gets an upgrade too. The second-generation Pencil attaches with a magnetic snap to the side of the iPad Pro, and begins charging wirelessly, while you can use a double tap to switch between tools in certain apps. The updated Smart Keyboard Folio cover (from $179), meanwhile, now offers two different angles – one for sitting the tablet on your lap and one for sitting on a desk.
Apple is also promising 10 hours of battery life for the new iPad Pros, so you should be able to keep going for most of the day – depending on how much charging up of your Apple Pencil you need to do. The brand new iOS 12 is on board too.
You can pick up the new iPad Pro models with 64 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB or 1 TB of internal storage in either silver or space gray, with LTE options on all configurations. Prices start at US$799 for the 11-inch iPad Pro, and $999 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, while the older 10.5-inch model stays on sale for $649 and up. Pre-orders open today, with shipping on November 7.