As had been rumored, Apple today updated the iPad Pro, which now uses an M2 chip, and improved its entry-level iPad, which gains a landscape camera and faster processor.
What’s new in iPad Pro?
The new M2-powered iPad Pro (in space gray and silver with storage ranging from 128GB to 2TB) also boasts fast Wi-Fi 6E support, ProRes video capture, and a new Apple Pencil feature the company calls “hover.” Both models use a Liquid Retina XDR display (we had expected the 12.9-in. model to offer Mini LED).
The use of the latest Mac chip in the pro tablet translates into significant performance gains. Apple says the processor is up to 15% faster than the M1 iPad Pro while the 10-core GPU delivers 35% faster graphic performance. In short, the iPad Pro is a portable workhorse. Its Neural Engine can process 15.8 trillion operations per second, 40% more than the M1 and its 100GBps unified memory bandwidth offers 50% better performance than its M1 predecessor.
While these gains are significant — there isn’t a faster tablet device available anywhere — it should be noted that the improvements aren’t of the same magnitude as when Apple shifted from the A12Z Bionic to the M1. That shift meant up to 50% better CPU performance and 40% better GPU performance. But the improvement is still impressive, and shows the built-in advantages Apple has unleashed with its development of Apple Silicon.
iPad Pros for workplace professionals
This boost in computational performance means the tablets should be able to take on many more tasks than they could before. Apple certainly thinks so.
Announcing the new iPad pro, the company talked about demanding workflows, including 3D object design, healthcare imaging and analysis, photographic imaging, and intense gaming experiences. The addition of ProRes support makes it possible to capture and transcode cinema-grade video and edit ProRes assets in the field, making the iPad Pro a portable high-end editing device.
Video professionals will also like that the 12.9-in. Liquid Retina XDR model has reference mode to match the color requirements in workflows. It basically means editors can deliver reference-quality edits.
The new “Apple Pencil Hover Experience” simply means the iPad Pro can detect an Apple Pencil when it is 12mm above the display. Users get to see a preview of a mark they intend to make before they make it and can change their mind if they want to draw or sketch with greater precision.
If you use an iPad Pro for business, this feature extends to Scribble. It means text fields will automatically expand when the pencil gets near the screen and handwriting more swiftly converts to text. (Third-party apps can also use this new feature.)
Enterprise users should also like the Wi-Fi 6E support, which promises downloads up to twice as fast as those supported by the previous generation. Apple has also introduced support for more 5G networks worldwide.
What’s new in the regular iPad?
Apple’s entry-level iPad gains a large 10.9-in. Liquid Retina display and a faster A14 Bionic chip. The latter promises a 20% improvement in processor performance, which Apple says means its tablet is up to five times faster than a MediaTek MT8768N-based Android tablet running Android 11. Compared to the iPad (7th generation), the company promises triple the performance.
The larger display is provided in part by a narrower bezel, which means the iPad is nearly the same size as the last generation. It provides 2360-x-1640-pixel resolution, 500 nits of brightness, and True Tone technology. Apple has also popped the Touch ID button into the top button, as it already did in the current iteration iPad Air.
The cameras have been improved, too, with a landscape Ultra Wide 12 megapixel (MP) camera for video calls and a 12MP back camera for photos and 4K video. It is curious that the iPad Pro doesn’t get the landscape feature.
With a probable ear to the EU, the device has a USB-C port and is available in blue, pink, yellow and silver — though the Apple Pencil it supports still requires a Lightning cable, and you now get an adaptor in the box., which is weird.
Another difference that’s already attracting some curiosity is the Magic Keyboard. That’s because as of now the Magic Keyboard for the new iPad has a full row of function keys, while the keyboard for the iPad Pro does not.
If IT purchases feed into your company’s environmental monitoring commitments, Apple says the new iPads include 100% recycled gold and a variety of additional recycled materials (aluminum, tin, rare earths) while packaging is 97-99% fiber based.
The entry-level iPad is also the first to feature 100% recycled copper on the logic board.
While this is a nice-to-have if you buy just one system, it means a great deal more if you are purchasing 400,000 or more tablets, as recently happened in Taiwan.
What about iPadOS 16?
The next iteration of iPad OS will ship Oct. 24. It will be available for iPad (5th generation and later), iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), and all iPad Pro models.
iPadOS 16 includes Stage Manager, and the company says it will unlock full external display support later this year.
But one thing that hasn’t been said enough is that Apple has introduced new app capabilities optimized for the display on iPad Pro. These improvements include a consistent undo and redo, a redesigned inline find-and-replace experience, a new document menu, customizable toolbars, and the ability to change file extensions, view folder size in Files, and more.
What Apple said
“The next-generation iPad Pro pushes the boundaries of what’s possible on iPad, bringing even more versatility, power, and portability to the ultimate iPad experience,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
“Powered by the M2 chip, the new iPad Pro features incredible performance and the most advanced technologies, including a next-level Apple Pencil hover experience, ProRes video capture, superfast wireless connectivity, and powerful iPadOS 16 features. There’s nothing else like it.”
Order now, get it on Oct. 26
Both the new iPad Pro and iPad are available to order now and will be available in stores beginning Oct. 26. The 11-in. iPad Pro starts at $799 for the Wi-Fi model and $999 (US) for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model; the 12.9-in. iPad Pro starts at $1,099 (US) for the Wi-Fi model, and $1,299 (US) for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. The new entry iPads start at $449 ($599 with cellular). Apple will continue to offer the ninth generation iPad for $329.
Some business users may be interested to learn Apple has also introduced a new version of the Apple TV 4K. Equipped with an A15 Bionic chip and support for HDR10+, the company has decided to offer Ethernet as a slightly more expensive option ($149 versus $129). That decision may have an impact on companies using Ethernet to drive Apple TV units used for signage and visitor attractions.
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