Apple Unveils Upgraded iPad Pro With Trackpad Support

Posted on March 18, 2020 by Mehedi Hassan in Apple, iOS, Mobile with 34 Comments

It’s happening. Apple’s iPad Pro is finally getting a keyboard with a trackpad. Cupertino just unveiled a major upgrade to the iPad Pro, and it includes some wild new changes that could make the iPad Pro a decent alternative to some laptops.

The new iPad Pro is powered by Apple’s A12Z Bionic chip, which Apple says makes the iPad Pro “faster and more powerful than most Windows PC laptops”.

But let’s talk about the main big upgrade here: the new Magic Keyboard. Apple is releasing a new keyboard that you can attach to the iPad Pro, and it comes with built-in trackpad support. For the first time ever, Apple is adding trackpad support to the iPad, with a trackpad experience “completely reimagined” for the iPad instead of simply copying the macOS experience. “As users move their finger across the trackpad, the pointer elegantly transforms to highlight user interface elements. Multi-Touch gestures on the trackpad make it fast and easy to navigate the entire system without users ever lifting their hand,” says Apple.

The new Magic Keyboard, which costs $299 for the 11-inch variant and $349 for the 12.9-inch model, is not cheap in any way. The new keyboard offers a “floating design with smooth angle adjustment”, and a backlit keyboard. Apple says it’s the best typing experience ever on an iPad. It attaches magnetically, and it can float, which gives it a pretty cool look, but I am not sure if it will actually add anything to your workflow.

The key here is that the new Magic Keyboard will work for previous generations of the iPad Pro as well.

Apple says the new A12Z Bionic chip features an octa-core CPU and GPU, with a powerful Neural Engine. “There’s no other chip that can offer the incredible performance found in the thin and light design of iPad Pro,” claims Apple.

The new device features two different display sizes like before, and it’s just as good as the previous Liquid Retina display we have seen on the iPad Pro. Apple is also bringing over the new camera design of the iPhone 11 line to the iPad Pro, with a new “Pro camera system”. The new camera system features a 12MP wide camera lens and a 10MP ultra-wide camera lens. It also features a LiDAR scanner on the camera module, which can offer significantly improved AR experiences on the iPad Pro. Expect to see something similar on the next-gen iPhones, too.

The new iPad Pro features five-studio quality microphones as well, which will make audio recordings on the device much better. Apple says the device can offer up to 10 hours of battery life, regardless of which size you go for.

It will be available for purchase starting today on, but Apple also says the device will be available in stores this week — which is probably not true as the Apple Stores are closed indefinitely until further notice due to coronavirus concerns. Either way, the new iPad Pro starts at $799 for the 11-inch Wi-Fi model.

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Comments (40)

40 responses to “Apple Unveils Upgraded iPad Pro With Trackpad Support”

  1. madthinus

    Looks pretty cool, pitty they still have the big finger blob instead of a proper cursor.

  2. igor engelen

    It's rather expensive but I like the design and the technology;

  3. remc86007

    Faster than most PC Laptops? Really? By that do they mean that this new device is faster than old devices? I am sure that this thing does not beat the current gen 4+ core laptops from AMD and Intel that come in the laptops selling for over $1k like this thing.

  4. RobertJasiek

    A very good desktop keyboard costs €55. Apple charging 5 to 7 times as much for tiny arrow keys is beyond outrageous. Recall that Apple is the company charging €1000 for a monitor stand.

    A tablet is a device that should also be able to lie flat on a flat table. It can't because of the camera bump. Ok, as long as there are iPad Airs, iPad Pros are for those who don't care.

    Apple advertises the reflectance as record breaking. Utter nonsense! Every matte display has a very much lower reflectance. Not that 600 nits and 1.8% reflectance would be bad for a glare display; these values are acceptable for glare - but Apple ought to abstain from lying.

    Pro? Speed and whatnot are immaterial as long as there are file actions that take seconds on a PC but literally months under iPadOS, that is, unusable in practice for whomever (incl. me) needs to perform such file actions.

  5. Sihaz

    "Five studio quality microphones" ???

  6. r2d22

    so apple introduced the toaster-fridge?

  7. nbplopes

    It will be interesting to see how this innovative keyboard approach holds on the lap, how that hinge will get along pass years of usage, so on and so forth.

    As for all the nay sayers ... true story ...

    I live in Portugal, and as like the rest of the world we are going through the Coronavirus Pandemic .Long story short, my wife is a math teacher in an International School. As the school closed due the situation, teacher's and kids were sent home ... we just got into the state of Emergency.

    Still, the show goes on and she as required to keep on teaching her students remotely remotely the best she could. Something that she never did before. She is not in any way proficient using computers, apart for Office and Google Classroom bundles as it used by her school.

    Anyway, from one day to another she was required to do screencasts , voice over, video conference with students, ..... Her school PC its a 2 year old Lenovo Thinkpad with Windows 10. She did not knew what to do ... and asked me for help as usual. We tried screen recording on the Lenovo Thinkpad but somehow it was kind of glitchy ... and you know Windows 10 complexity (loops and hoops to set it up) ..., switched windows and its stops .... who goes to game bar to tho what she wanted anyway. So we just stopped there.

    We have a 10.5" iPad Pro (now 550 euros) so we decided to give it a try. Man, in 2 minutes she was doing her first lesson recording (so simple to start recording) with the pencil, voice over while writing, switch app to show a PDF ...... silky smooth ... ok embedded mic audio recording ... quick uploading to Google Classroom....She as now done abou 12 recordings and she keeps improving .... The only thing it would better is if it could do PIP with her face on a video .... all while recording.

    The problem I have now is that she wants the new iPad Pro 12.9" ... now with track pad and improved mouse support It will be interesting to see if she ditches the Lenovo.

    I saw this happening first hand in the last 3 says, that still ... even today she said accidentally "It did not record the audio" ... "You need to press and hold and toggle the voice recording". Someone with minimal tech skills up to screen casting lessons to her students.

    So, you can say joke what you want ... but this is happening.

    PS: New magic keyboard looks interesting, as it works both as keyboard, proper stand, just detach and start recording while writing (no flap at the back). But man, that is really, really expensive.

    It is not so much that she couldn't do this with Windows 10 with bit more effort, eventually she would get used o it. But man, there is much to say about how you do it.

  8. j_c

    FYI obviously the cost of the pro and this keyboard are insane but mouse support is coming to more than the Pro. In fact Logitech will have a keyboard with trackpad and kickstand for $150 that uses the smart connector. That will work with the regular 10.5 inch iPad 7th generation that currently sells on Amazon for about $279. Also in some of the other marketing materials they talk about supporting a Bluetooth mouse.

  9. RobertJasiek

    paul-thurrott wrote: "For most people, the iPad Pro does run the apps they need."

    How do we know? Maybe it is just that everybody who does not find his necessary apps does not buy an iPad Pro?

  10. nbplopes

    In reply to Andi:

    Your last paragraph, you came across like an angry person.

    That profile "horrendous"? If you say so.

    Notice that I only said the kb looked interesting as I can see the reason behind some decisions. I reserve a more close to earth verdict for when I use one. Yet you already declared all sorts verdicts without no actual experience on the proposed solution. Which leads me to the fanboy observation. I understand that people use this term as a form of a PC insult (like fanatic). A disingenuous rhetoric.

    PS: Yes, I have a couple of Surfaces too. To be honest, I don't find the proposed solution on Surface Pro's that nice either. When it comes to attaching and detaching the tablet from a keyboard I haven't found a solution that I felt, "this is it". Especially when it used to solve keyboard connection issues, "oh the keyboard does not respond, just detach and attach again, see if it works".

  11. nbplopes

    In reply to Andi:

    Well, with over 35 years in the IT industry, when it comes to buying devices for work and the future of tech rarely I rely on the general blogosphere. Simply put, they the very vast majority don’t get it, unless hit by a truck. Opinionated Entertainment Era.

    When Surface came in the form of Windows RT I passed.. Simply put it clearly was a just another OS mocking Windows and thought that was not the way to go. Windows Brand sells right? Well not at any cost.

    When Surface Pro came, I bought the SP2 to have a feel, knowingly it was too small. I thought, they might be on to something. Came the SP3, bought it. After a year, long story short, I realized that indeed the Windows PC was doing too much. My experience was riddled with side effects. And no, lapability or somewhat lack of it, was not one of the core ones for me. I also realized, that barely used it as a Tablet, more often used has a light laptop so ... If I'm rarely use ir as a Tablet for multiple reason's, what else is there for it in my experience? Nothing, just complexity I cannot take away.

    ... I stopped there. Those side effects infested in my view Windows entirely. One can see it even in a Windows 10 PC desktop. Now I have to update once or twice a week and reboot the damn thing, just to mention one without even touching the hybrid features, oh and the quality of updates is far worst than it was before. More and more and more features implemented superficial, that take half a decade if not more to acquire any kind of depth ... its just frustrating.

    Maybe I’m a bit biased because I have my own ideas of the future. In my future, PC laptops are unnecessary outside a “niche” I am not part off ... nomad workers.

    Since 20 years ago, I’ve been buying the most performant laptop possible in terms of processing power to replace the desktop. I’m a software developer. Because even though I’m not a Nomad Worker, I do work both from home and the office. Meetings, occasional travels. Yes, I could keep the desktop and have a laptop, say a Surface 3, but having to manage two devices ready to any kind of work is just silly and one that is just slow in comparison, is silly. it’s not just turn of one and fire another. So ...

    So, for the work I do while I am out and about the iPad since 2017 is excellent (mail, photo and video editing, presentations, management tasks, ... might even have some fun). Don't use it because of the fact the screen is too small and iOS lacked good usability on a desk (lack of mouse support). Now that we have larger iPads (12.9”), good mouse suppler, II can see using an i while out and about, zero maintenance a must (just pick up and go), and for when I need the flexibility of a dev machine while out ... remote back to the desk. In the desk than a powerful workstation. This solution cost as much as powerful laptop for development and gives me much more .... well in theory.

    If proven here, will see, my future has arrived in terms of devices beyond the PC laptop-workstation: a desktop and a complete highly mobile companion device. Wether this future is already here, will see. It looks promising but I need actually use it before arriving to any conclusion.

    If not, I'll wait as usual.

    Here is the thing I believe the most people don't get. The Post-PC era is not about doing what the PC does in a smaller package., This mindset has always been the case since the inception of Windows. In 30 years there are hundreds of examples of this mindset. It’s a very compelling argument and looks logical, but like many compelling arguments in my view it’s a fallacy.

    Its about doing some things that the PC does not do or does very badly, and some things that it does even better. Given that there will be always things that a PC does better, as it should be. It's a bit like Motorbikes vs Sedan's vs Trucks, they are all vehicles but ... What MS is trying todo is a vehicle that is a Motorbike, a Sedan, a truck and why not a Caravan and a Plane ...

    Bill Gates, had a dream. One single machine / OS that does it all very very well .. aka Windows. This worked to a point, after that it became a straight jacket. Why? Because it requires a flowed architecture. Maybe, I'm wrong, but this idea of one cell that does it all is unproven and has time passes, more and more cracks are found ... Things work better, are more flexible and much more fault tolerant (robust) in a distributed architecture. Each cell can act with others to achieve more but also by itself doing what it does best. And if one cell is not working/evolving that we don’t get stuck.

    As for my wife ... a math teacher in high school, it’s already clearly a winner.

  12. r2d22

    $299/$349 for a keyboard... ROTFL that's the best joke of the year!!!

  13. red.radar

    Exciting. Only because Apple is pushing iOS into that space usually reserved for laptops.

  14. jtiger102


    Looking at the page description for the Magic Keyboard, it says it's compatible with the 1st Gen iPad Pro 11". However, if you go the iPad page and use the Compare iPad models feature, the 1st Gen 11" doesn't list it as compatible.

    I'm guessing there is more text to update on their system.

    I'd be interested in possibly getting the keyboard for my 1st Gen 11" if it does work. Albeit, the camera cutout on the keyboard may look a little funny with only half of it occupied by the 1st Gen single camera setup.

    Also, $300!!

  15. madthinus

    Available 25 March 2020, keyboards in May 2020

  16. wright_is

    As I said in the thread on Twitter with Paul, it looks like Apple's marketing department is unaware of its company's policy regarding stores at the moment... :-S

  17. mattbg

    $350 for a keyboard that will probably not be as good as a laptop keyboard... wow.

  18. thejoefin

    If the iPad could run VSCode then it would be a game changer. Until then speed doesn't really matter if you can't run the apps you need.

  19. obarthelemy

    That's very nice, but madly expensive. Why don't they just release a PadBook in a laptop chassis ?

    Also, Apple converting to toasterfridges is very ironic. But a lot more intelligent than their up-to-now idiot discourse.

    • BrianEricFord

      In reply to obarthelemy:

      Cook was talking about trying to force two things that don’t go together, together — and he was right to say it’s a bad idea. Windows REMAINS a fairly crappy touch experience.

      Meanwhile, MacOS has remained MacOS and iPad OS remains touch-first with a heavily modified trackpad experience that does not appear to be a traditional desktop experience.

      • wp7mango

        In reply to BrianEricFord:

        Bullshit. Windows is certainly not a crappy touch experience, and Apple was simply saying one thing and doing another. Just the usual Apple marketing crap.

        The fact is, Microsoft demonstrated that there is a market for hybrid devices. Exactly what kind of hybrid device depends on individual requirements, which is why there is such a huge choice.

        Windows 10 has remained desktop-first OS but with very capable touch and pen experiences, which is why I enjoy using my Surface Pro 7 so much.

        • BrianEricFord

          In reply to WP7Mango:

          Nah. Windows IS a bad touch experience.

          • obarthelemy

            In reply to BrianEricFord:

            It depends on what you want to do with it, and what apps you're using.

            On the one hand, if you want to work like on a full desktop with a pointer and your desktop apps, it kinda sucks. I'd argue what the mere fact it's possible in a pinch is a win though, I used to carry a $80 Windows+Android tablet just for those emergencies, and can remember a few horrible emergency work sessions... that saved my holidays. Overall, a win.

            On the other hand, for basic tablet stuff with the appropriate apps, the UI/UX is fine. It would work for most basic tablet users around me. Pity the apps are missing, and people would rather stick with their phone's OS and ecosystem than wrestle with a separate one.

  20. crunchyfrog

    Shelling out $299-$349 for a tablet keyboard is horrible, just horrible. I am going to hate myself for at least two days after I surrender my hard earned cash on this accessory that I could otherwise live without.

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