Apple took the wraps off its long-rumored iPad Pro during today’s event in San Francisco, revealing a new 12.9” version of the tablet that provides a 2732 x 2048, 5.6 million pixel display. Combined with iOS 9, the new iPad Pro allows for iPad Air apps to run with more room side-by-side, and incorporates a third-generation A9X 64-bit CPU providing twice the performance of the prior A8X devices such as the iPad Air 2 — performance that can allow users to edit three streams of 4K video simultaneously. The iPad Pro features a variable refresh rate to save energy, providing up to 10 hours of battery life, and a new four-speaker audio system that provides stereo separation, and automatically balances left and right audio depending on orientation while providing three times the audio volume of the iPad Air 2. The iPad Pro comes in at 6.9mm thick, only 0.8mm more than the iPad Air 2, and weighs 1.57 pounds. The new device also features an 8MP iSight camera, a FaceTime HD camera on the front, 150Mbps LTE and 802.11ac with MIMO support, and Touch ID authentication.
To complement the iPad Pro, Apple also debuted a new physical keyboard accessory, dubbed the Smart Keyboard. Similar to the design of the Smart Covers that Apple has created for other iPad models, the Smart Keyboard uses the Apple dome switch key design from the new Apple MacBook which debuted earlier this year, covered with a custom fabric. The keyboard docks with the iPad Pro using a new “Smart Connector” on the long edge that provides power and data and attaches magnetically to the Smart Keyboard.
In addition, Apple also unveiled the Apple Pencil, a new stylus designed specifically for the iPad Pro that allows pixel-precise input, with sensors in the tip of the Pencil designed to work with the iPad Pro display to detect position, force, and tilt, while allowing for low latency that allows users to draw on the iPad Pro with the same feel and precision as they would with a standard writing implement. The Apple Pencil can be used simultaneously with finger input, and the battery lasts for hours of use and includes a Lightning connector on one end, which allows it to be recharged directly from the iPad Pro Lightning port.
The iPad Pro will be available in November in silver, gold, and space gray color options, starting at $799 for a 32GB Wi-Fi only version. 128GB versions will be available in Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular for $949 and $1,079, respectively. The Apple Pencil will sell separately for $99, while the Smart Keyboard will be priced at $169.