Apple has released an all new 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and says it will be available to order March 24 for a starting price of NZ$1,049.
Coming in at less than 500 grams, the iPad features improved display, camera, wireless technologies and performance, as well as support for the Apple Pencil and a new Smart Keyboard designed to fit the smaller size.
Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, says, “The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a new Retina display with True Tone technology, four-speaker audio system, blazing fast A9X chip, 12-megapixel iSight camera, 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera, faster wireless, and support for Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. It is the ultimate upgrade for existing iPad users and replacement for PC users.”
He says, “iPad Pro is a new generation of iPad that is indispensable and immersive, enabling people to be more productive and more creative. It’s incredibly fast, extremely portable, and completely natural to use with your fingers, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. And now it comes in two sizes.”
According to Apple, the new device is especially suited for designers, illustrators and businesses.
John Lasseter, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios chief creative officer, says, “People don’t realise how much hand drawing is needed to produce computer animation. iPad Pro and Apple Pencil are the closest we’ve ever been able to get in the digital world to actually drawing on paper.”
Stephen Gates, Citi Global Consumer Banking US head of design, says he and his team are using the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil to create new customer experiences.
“We use iPad Pro for sketching out new design concepts, presenting our work, answering our emails, working with our design files on Adobe Creative Cloud and participating in FaceTime meetings with our other design teams all over the world," he says.
Let’s get technical
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro is fitted with advanced display technologies, including a True Tone display, which uses new four-channel sensors to adjust the white balance of the display.
The advanced Retina display is 25% and 40% less reflective than iPad Air 2, and it uses the same wider colour gamut as the iMac with Retina 5K display, delivering 255 greater colour saturation, Apple says.
A custom timing controller, photo alignment and oxide TFT deliver colour, contrast and clarity, while Night Shift in iOS 9.3 uses iPad Pro’s clock and geolocation to automatically adjust the colours to be warmer when night falls.
The new iPad Pro is 6.1-mm thin and weighs less than 500 grams. However, it sports improved performance, connectivity and versatility with a A9X chip with third-generation 64-bit architecture for performance on par with many laptops and console-class graphics, while also delivering all-day battery life.
With 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO technology, the iPad has ultrafast wireless connectivity and support for LTE Advanced with up to 50% faster cellular connectivity and the most LTE bands supported by any tablet, according to the company. Furthermore, the Apple SIM is embedded directly in the new iPad Pro, enabling users to connect to wireless data plans from the device when travelling in more than 100 countries and territories.
iPad Pro has an advanced 12-megapixel iSight camera sensor featuring Focus Pixels, an Apple-designed image signal processor, advanced noise reduction, third-generation local tone mapping and better face detection, for detailed images, 63-megapixel panoramas and Live Photos.
A True Tone flash improves low light shots and document scanning. The new iSight camera shoots 4K video, so the iPad Pro can be used to shoot, edit and share pro-quality video. It also has an improved 5-megapixel, front-facing FaceTime HD camera.
The four-speaker audio system provides clear stereo sound for more than twice the audio output. Built-in sensors automatically adjust and optimise the audio, and iOS 9.3 also adds support for playing video encoded with Dolby Digital Plus audio streams with support for multichannel output using the Apple Lightning Digital AV Adapter.
What about the accessories?
Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, available for purchase separately. Advanced sensors in Apple Pencil measure both pressure and tilt for a natural drawing, annotating and note-taking experience. A new Smart Keyboard is custom-designed for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, offering a keyboard that never needs to be charged or paired over Bluetooth and folds into a protective Smart Cover.
The new Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader and Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter enable users to download photos and videos from a digital camera to iPad Pro, while a new Lightning to USB-C Cable and Apple’s 29W USB-C Power Adapter enable faster charging.
Pricing and availability
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro comes in silver, space grey, gold and a new rose gold metallic finish, and starts at a recommended retail price of NZ$1,049 inc. GST for the 32GB with Wi-Fi model and starts at a recommended retail price of NZ$1,269 inc. GST for the 32GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model. Both iPad Pro sizes are available in offerings of 32GB, 128GB and a new 256GB capacity, the highest of any iOS device.
It will be available to order beginning Thursday, 24 March PDT, from apple.com/nz, and through select carriers and Apple Authorised Resellers on Thursday, 31 March, in New Zealand.
Apple Pencil is available for a recommended retail price of NZ$189 inc. GST and Smart Keyboard in charcoal grey for NZ$279 inc. GST. The Polyurethane iPad Pro Smart Cover and Silicone Cases for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro are available for a recommended retail price of NZ$95 inc. GST and NZ$129 inc. GST, respectively, in a range of new colours.
The Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader is available for a recommended retail price of NZ$55 inc. GST, Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter for NZ$75 inc. GST, Apple 29W USB-C Power Adapter for NZ$95 inc.GST, Lightning to USB-C Cable (1 m.) for NZ$45 inc. GST and Lightning to USB-C Cable (2 m.) for NZ$65 inc. GST.