It’s official: the Apple iPad now comes in three sizes. In addition to the 9.7 inch iPad Air and the 7.9 inch iPad mini, there’s now a 12.9 inch model called the iPad Pro.

Not only is the newest member of the iPad family the largest to date, but it’s also designed to be the most powerful, not just because it has the fastest processor, but also because it supports features that aren’t available on smaller iPads.

The iPad Pro will be available in November for $799 and up. Yep, it’s priced like a Microsoft Surface Pro.

ipad pro_05

For instance, the iPad Pro support split-screen apps, just like the iPad Air. But when you view multiple apps at the same time on an iPad Air, they don’t run in full-sized windows. Placing two apps side-by-side on an iPad Pro will let you see two apps as if they were running in full-sized windows on two smaller iPads.

The new iPad Pro features an Apple A9X processor with twice the memory bandwidth and up to 1.8 times the speed of an Apple A8X chip, and Apple says graphics performance has also been improved two-fold.

a9x

The iPad Pro comes with 32GB to 128GB of storage, and Apple says that storage is also twice as fast.

All told, the company says the iPad Pro is faster than most of the world’s PCs (although I suspect Apple isn’t talking about high-end workstation or gaming systems).

Other features include four speakers, an 8MP iSight camera, 802.11ac WiFi, optional 4G LTE, and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The iPad Pro has a 2732 x 2048 pixel display.

Apple also offers optional Smart Keyboard cover that lets you use the tablet as if it were a notebook. It’s worth noting that Apple still doesn’t offer tablet that runs the full OS X operating system though — so it’ll be interesting to see if people want to use iPads running iOS for work purposes… especially since the price of this tablet comes close to MacBook territory.

ipad pro_09

The keyboard features “fabric keys,” so don’t expect the same typing experience you’d get on a mechanical keyboard… but Apple is hardly the first company to try something different in the keyboard cover space.

Apple says the iPad Pro should get up to 10 hours of battery life, and despite the large screen, the tablet is pretty light-weight, at about 1.57 pounds (or close to the same weight as the original 9.7 inch iPad. The iPad Pro measures 6.9mm thick, making it less than a millimeter thicker than an iPad Air.

Another thing that sets the iPad Pro apart from other Apple tablets? It supports an optional Force Touch stylus called the “Apple Pen” for pressure-sensitive input.

Yeah, yeah, Steve Jobs once said that “if you see a stylus, they blew it,” in reference to tablets from competitors. But it’s worth noting that Apple isn’t bundling a stylus with the iPad. Instead it’s an optional accessory for folks that want a pen for certain tasks.

ipad pro pen

Jobs made his comment at a time when there were certain tasks that were hard to do on Windows tablets or phones without a pen, a mouse, or some other accessory. A lot’s changed since then… and most Windows tablets also ship without pens, because you don’t need them for basic operation of the tablets.

But some models do support optional pens because you might want one for writing, drawing, or performing other activities that require more precision than you can get from a fingertip.

office ipad

Wondering what kind of apps you’d use a pen for? Apple surprised the audience at its keynote event by bringing out Microsoft representatives to show the pen working with Office for iPad.

Another demo showed an iPad version of Photoshop designed for use with the Apple Pen.

Apple says the iPad Pro launches in November, with an entry-level model selling for $799 with 32GB of storage. A 128GB model costs $949, and a 128GB model with 4G LTE will sell for $1079.

The optional Apple Pencil is priced at $99, and the Smart Keyboard will be available for $169.

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15 replies on “Meet the Apple iPad Pro”

  1. ‘Pro’ and iOS? Lol. The only thing here thats pro – is the price.

  2. I have had my Surface Pro 3 for 14 months now, so I am not much of an Apple guy, but I think Steve Jobs was pretty on the money with his comment about the inclusion of a stylus being the sign of a failed touch-UI design. I say this because he was talking about the first gen iPad. In it’s first incarnation, the iPad was all about media consumption. Pictures, video, music, web & email. None of those things need a stylus if you have a well designed touch interface.
    Things have changed.

  3. The RAM amount is not stated even on the Apple’s website.
    Searching the web I found this from engadget “One thing Apple isn’t saying how much RAM the Pro has, but chances are its silence on the matter means that it’s the same 2GB as the Air 2.”
    This will be another flop like the super thin macbook thing. Until they admit that merging the desktop and mobile into a single OS and making a laplet with an Intel core is the way to go and simply copy that, they will continue to postpone the problem and make it worse. With circuits at 14nm (and down) size and power consumption are less an issue, an ARM processor can’t compete with an Intel processor on this segment. I bet they will release an ipad with an intel processor in the near future. Unfortunately to do this, they need to ask millions of developers to recompile their apps…Oops

  4. I think that there is a typo in the article’s title… it should read:
    “Meet the iPad RT”

    I had low expectations for the iPad Pro, but Apple somehow managed to produce something that didn’t meet those low expectations.

    The keyboard looks inferior to the Surface TypeCover and the iPad Pro doesn’t support pointing devices like mice/touchpads.

  5. Slightly larger and slightly higher entry price than I’ve been guessing. Still very happy to see it as it will also help encourage other players/platforms in this size of this type of device and I’m all for that.
    The only real thing which demotes this in contrast to using a laptop generally is the lack of availability of a browser with all the capability of a desktop browser. That’s the missing piece.
    Of course some niche users will need more power than these can currently give. But most users really don’t. That desktop class browser is all that would really be missed.

  6. “Apple still doesn’t offer a notebook”

    What is the Macbook One, then? The device Apple launched this spring is so light that it counts as a netbook, and it runs OSX.

  7. “Wondering what kind of apps you’d use a pen for? Apple surprised the audience at its keynote event by bringing out Microsoft representatives to show the pen working with Office for iPad.” Got to love it!….lol

    1. so the two finally admit openly and together that one needs a stylus (pointing device) for productive, professional working. and this after trying to sell everybody for years now that big sausage fingers would be real THE THING for doing it. what a laugh

    2. For me the two apps I love the stylus for are OneNote, and Manga Studio.

  8. I thought the iPad Pro was going to be an Intel device running Mac OS not iOS, and possibly capable of running App Store apps as well as desktop ones, basically a flipped MacBook Air with a touchscreen. And it’s not like they don’t see the market, Microsoft’s Surface has been eating up the enterprise “Pro” business for 3 years now.
    So this is what then, just a 12.9 Maxi Pad ?

    1. To be fair, a lot of people said that the original iPad was just a bigger iPhone.

    2. Yep, you got it. An oversized ipad to doodle on, pretty much like the samsung note pro 12 or the hp slate pro 12

  9. Really want to see AnandTech and Liliputing dive into the performance of the A9X when it’s released.

    Stating the “iPad Pro is faster than most of the world’s PCs”… That’s a big statement. I hope the A9X is all that and a bag of potato chips.

    The display and resolution look great and variable refresh rate sounds awesome. I wonder what Hz ranges it’s capable of?

    Will all of that said, I’m still more interested in a Surface Pro 4 with Skylake at this point, but I have a lot of respect for Apple’s engineers.

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