Apple’s first iPad models had 9.7 inch displays, and the company says with 200 million units sold, that’s still the most popular size for iPads, even though the company now has 7.85 inch and 12.9 inch models.
So when the company decided to add a new model to its iPad Pro lineup, Apple decided to expand its Pro line to include a 9.7 inch model. While it may be the same size as an iPad Air, the new tablet has a better processor, an improved screen, and other features to help it earn its Pro stripes
Apple says the new tablet is powered by an Apple A9X chip with an M9 motion co-processor and a new Pro display that has the same technology as the 12.9 inch iPad Pro including a custom timing controller and an oxide TFT display.
But it’s also the first Apple device with a “True Tone” display which measures ambient light and adjusts the display to match environmental conditions.
Like the larger iPad Pro, the new 9.7 inch model supports the Apple Pencil for pressure-sensitive input, and it’s designed to work with a keyboard dock.
Optional accessories include a Lightning adapter for an SD card reader, and a camera adapter which Apple says can also support powered USB accessories including high-quality microphones for recording podcasts or other audio or USB Ethernet adapters.
The tablet weighs less than a pound, features a 2048 x 1536 pixel screen, and has a 27.5 Whr battery for up to 10 hours of web surfing over WiFI or video playback.
Like the new iPhone SE, the new iPad Pro has a 12MP rear camera and 5MP front-facing camera. The difference is that Apple is positioning the tablet as a PC replacement, which probably helps explain its starting price of $599 for a 32GB model. That’s still $200 cheaper than the lowest-cost 12.9 inch iPad Pro.
Orders begin March 24th, an the tablets ship starting March 31st. Apple will also offer models with 128GB and 256GB of storage.