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 Apple.com, 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.