The new iPads Pro are here and they're exactly what everyone — including Apple — has been imagining since Steve Jobs showed off the original in 2010. It's got an edge-to-edge Liquid Retine display, USB-C port, the A12X processor, Apple Pencil 2 that connects magnetically and changes inductively, and a new Smart Keyboard Folio.
And you can pre-order it now.
Apple's war on bezels continues. After deleting them from iPhone and Apple Watch, Apple has now pushed them all but off the iPad Pro as well. The result is an almost edge-to-curved-edge Liquid Retina display, anti-aliased and masked around the corners just like iPhone XR, but with an extra anti-reflective coating and, off course, 120hz ProMotion refresh rate all its own.
It looks gorgeous. It's not as dense as the XR but you hold it further away, so the experience is roughly the same. And, yeah, it's DCI-P3 completely color managed, and individually color calibrated at the factory, so all those pixels look amazing
The old 10.5 maintains the same casing size and but now has a new 11-inch display to better fill it. The new 12.9 maintains the display size but shaves off all the extra casing making it smaller and more portable. So much so, I think many 10.5 inch fans, including myself, will gravitate to the newly stealthy 12.9.
Both are now squared off in a way that's, probably intentionally, very reminiscent of the original iPad.
And yes, that means the Home button is gone, and the new gesture navigation first seen on iPhone X is in full effect. And it works really well, even if it is a little more complex and overloaded, given the multiple swipes for dock and mission control, and the support for multi-window and drag and drop.
2. Face ID & True Depth
No Home button means no Touch ID. Instead, Apple's once again gone all-in on Face ID.
You set it up in Portrait orientation but then you can use it in portrait or landscape, and Apple has even optimized the hardware and neural networks to function when it's docked to a keyboard as well. You can even double click the space bar to wake it and trigger Face ID so you don't have to reach across and tap-to-wake the screen.
It works off the same True Depth cameras system as modern iPhones, yeah, it can also take all your Portrait Selfies complete with Portrait Lighting and Depth Control.
And, thanks to the silicon, it's fast.
3. A12X Bionic
That silicon is, of course, the A12X Bionic, which really is on Hulk serum. 8-core CPU, 7-core GPU. Apple claims it's faster than 92% of portable PCs and has the graphics punch of an Xbox One S console.
That means it can do everything from running real Photoshop and Autocad to intensive, high frame rate games well.
4. The No. 2 Pencil
There's a new Pencil as well and, while Apple didn't call it the No 2, it could have.
It's got a new, matte finish that grips and just feels better, and you can tap the side to switch modes, like between draw and erase, zoomed in or zoomed out.
One side is even flattened out so you can store it magnetically. The magnets are strong enough to edge you towards the sweet spot and it clicks in with a satisfying, AirPods style thunk.
It also charges inductively right there on the side of the iPad Pro, opposite where the old smart connector was.
The new smart connector, meanwhile, is on the back. And it powers the smart keyboard folio that, unlike the old keyboard, cannot be served at different angles for table and lap use.
Along with the bezel, and yes, the 3.5 mm headset jack, Apple has also ditched Lightning.
The why is simple. Apple wanted the connector to do more than lightning was designed to. Including driving in up to 5K display, right off the iPad Pro, as well as connecting directly to higher end photography, video, and audio gear.
No external storage though. At least not yet.
But you can get up to 1TB of internal if you really want it.
6. Pricing and availability
iPad Pro starts at $799 for the 11-inch and $999 for the 12.9 inch but goes up quickly as you add that storage and optional LTE networking. No gold option though. No matter how much you pay.
It's inarguably expensive, but that's Apple's current strategy: incredibly premium devices and experiences that they believe deliver significantly higher value for that price.
If that's too much for your budget, or not enough for your color profile, Apple is keeping the previous generation 10.5 around in space gray, rose gold, gold, silver, with up to 512GB of storage, and optional LTE, from $649.
Orders start today, ships next week.
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.