Apple is extending the range of its tablet offerings to include the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and will for the first time offer a keyboard and stylus for this model so it competes directly with the Microsoft Surface line. And not just in features but also in price.
The 9.7-inch iPad has been on the market since 2010, and it has proved to be popular with consumers and business people alike. However, there was also demand for a larger version from those who use their Apple tablet as their primary mobile computer. This same group also wanted split-screen multitasking, so to applications could be displayed on-screen simultaneously. Both these requests are going to be fulfilled by the iPad Pro.
In addition to the Smart Keyboard that will transform this device into a 2-in-1 laptop, a stylus/pen dubbed the Apple Pencil will be available for those who want to draw and sketch on this tablet. Both will use a new type connector on the tablets left side.
iPad Pro Specs
This device is going to have a 2732 x 1248 resolution, giving it a pixel density f 264 ppi. Its 12.9-inch display will be 78% larger than the iPad Air 2. It will be 12 x 8.7 x 0.27 inches and weigh 1.6 pounds.
The iPad Pro will be powered by a 64-bit Apple A9X processor, which is promised to offer twice the memory bandwidth of the A8X in the iPad Air 2, as well as storage performance that’s twice as fast. The amount of RAM to be included has not yet been announced.
When it launches in November, this tablet will debut running iOS 9.1, which will bring side-by-side multitasking as well as other new features.
Other features will include four speakers, an 8 megapixel rear camera, and 1.2 MP front camera, and support for the Touch ID fingerprint scanning system. Battery life is promised to be 10 hours on a single charge.
Apple is going to offer a WiFi-only version with 32GB of built-in storage for $799, a 128GB WiFi-only model for $949, and a 4G LTE version with 128GB of storage will sell for $1079.
The Smart Keyboard will cost $169 and the Apple Pencil will be $99.
To compare this device against what will be one of its top competitors, a 12-inch Microsoft Surface Pro 3 with a Core i5 processor and 128GB of storage sells for $999 and a Type Cover is an additional $129.99, but the stylus/pen is included, so the total cost is $1128.99. A comparably-equipped 12.9-inch iPad Pro 128GB is $949, the Apple Pencil is $99, and the Keyboard Cover is $169, so the total is $1217, making the Microsoft device about $80 less. Of course, the Microsoft model also has a smaller screen.
Last year’s iPad Air 2 is not being dropped from Apple’s product lineup, and neither is it getting a price reduction, staying at $499 for the 16GB version. The original iPad Air will also remain at $399.
Both models are getting upgrades to iOS 9, which will be released next week, on Sept. 16.