After months of speculation, the iPad Pro is finally real. And it’s big. The iPad Pro has a 12.9-inch display with a 2732×2048-pixel resolution. That’s 5.6 million pixels across the massive screen, and even more than a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display has. But the display isn’t the only makes the iPad Pro like a laptop. It’ll have a keyboard and stylus, too.
Apple will sell the iPad Pro alongside an accessory it calls the Smart Keyboard, which is a fabric-bound cover that can also be used as a stand. The iPad Pro will recognize when it’s sitting in the Smart Keyboard, and do away with the iPad Pro’s on-screen keyboard.
It will also have an accessory that would have been unthinkable in just a few years ago: a stylus. It’s called the Apple Pencil, and it’s also sold separately. Like any good stylus, it will be pressure sensitive. Apple says it will be so precise, you could touch a single pixel on the screen with it. “Apple Pencil is one of the most advanced technologies we’ve ever created,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, at the company’s product event in San Francisco Wednesday.
If all of this is making you think of Microsoft’s Surface tablets, which ship with styluses and have keyboard covers, you’re not alone. But Microsoft doesn’t seem to have a problem with the similarities. In fact, Apple gave Microsoft access to the iPad Pro ahead of the product launch today, and brought the company on stage to demo the iPad Pro running Microsoft Office. Adobe also demoed three apps running at the same time on iPad Pro, including one called Comp, which is used for sketching out quick ideas, and Photoshop Fix, for quick photo editing, and Photoshop Sketch, for more intensive drawing.
Schiller said the iPad Pro will be faster than 80% of the portable PCs that have shipped in the last 12 months, despite running Apple’s A9X mobile processor. It’s 6.9 millimeters thin, and 1.57 pounds, which is slightly heavier than the 1.54-pound first-generation iPad and slightly thicker than the 6.1 millimeter iPad Air. Apple CEO said the iPad Pro is “the most capable and powerful iPad we’ve ever created.” And it should be considering Apple is pitching the iPad Pro as a device built for creative and enterprise use.
And given its size, toting this around the workplace may make more sense then bringing it to the coffee shop. The iPad Mini, with its 7.9-inch screen, is about the size of a paperback book. The original-sized iPad, currently wearing the name of iPad Air, is about as large as a magazine. It has a 9.7-inch display. The iPad Pro and its nearly 13-inch display is much larger. Think of it this way: the iPad Mini is small enough to fit into a medium-sized purse, while the Pro is the iPad built for a backpack.
Schiller said the iPad Pro will offer 10 hours of battery life, and also have an 8-megapixel rear camera. The display will also have a variable refresh rate, so when you’re reading instead of watching video, the refresh rate will slow down to save on battery life. There will also be a four-speaker setup the will allow the iPad Pro to offer stereo sound.
iPad Pro will come in silver, gold and space gray, like the current iPads. It starts at $799 with 32GB of memory. A 128GB model will sell for $949, and a 128GB model with LTE connectivity will sell for $1079. The Apple Pencil will cost $99 and the Smart Keyboard will sell for $169. It will all go on sale in November.
Despite Microsoft making software for the iPad Pro, the direct competitor for Apple’s new tablet is indeed coming from Microsoft. The Surface Pro 3, which has a 12-inch display and 2160 x 1440 resolution and includes a stylus, starts at $800. But getting Microsoft’s Type Cover keyboard along with it will cost you an extra $130. The Surface Pro 3 runs on Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors and 4GB or 8GB or RAM—a pairing typically found in PCs… and not tablets.