As expected, Apple has officially announced the highly anticipated 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Rather than go down the existing route of releasing the latest tablet as the “iPad Air 3”, Apple has chosen to continue the convergence of the iPad range under the “iPad Pro” naming convention. What we’re seeing here is a physical product that mixes the design inspiration of the iPad Air 2 with the features, internals and performance of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. We’re going to jump right in and take a look at the details of what Apple has just announced.
Display: It may be called the “iPad Pro”, but that doesn’t mean it comes with a 12.9-inch display. This new version is a 9.7-inch offering like the iPad Air 2, but ships with a Retina display bringing a 2732 x 2048 pixel resolution at 264ppi. The biggest difference between this and iPad Air 2’s display is in the updated display technology. As a result, 9.7-inch iPad Pro’s display is noticeably brighter than iPad Air 2’s display.
Design: The design of this latest iPad isn’t going to be remembered as an instance of Apple trying to reinvent the wheel or do anything revolutionary. The old saying of “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” really applies here with Apple pushing out a new iPad Pro that takes a lot of inspiration from the overall look and feel of the iPad Air 2. The biggest design difference between this new Pro and Air 2 is in the thickness, with 9.7-inch iPad Pro being slightly thicker than Air 2 to accommodate newer display tech and other components.
Processor/RAM: This one will please those consumers looking for a smaller, but highly capable iPad. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro ships with the same integrated A9X processor that breathes life into last year’s extremely powerful larger 12-9-inch iPad Pro model. Additionally, in a similar fashion to the larger iPad Pro, there’s also an accompanying 4GB RAM that really provides this hardware with unrivaled performance.
Apple Pencil: This is a feature that will be particularly exciting for iPad fans. The Apple Pencil has already been shown to be an extremely capable, and extremely fun piece of kit that appeals highly to design professionals, as well as those looking to do a little doodling on the iPad. Rather than having to spend a huge amount of money on the larger 12.9-inch iPad, Apple has made this latest iPad Pro compatible with its Pencil.
Smart Connector & Smart Keyboard: The Smart Connector has been garnering a lot of attention after being introduced with the original iPad Pro last year. As expected, this latest smaller iPad model ships with the same type of Smart Connector integration, and brings with it the ability for consumers to purchase and attach a new breed of “smart” accessories to the hardware, such as Apple’s Smart Keyboard, which is now also available in smaller form factor for 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
Camera: If you use your full-sized iPad as your main method of capturing photographs on a daily basis, then you probably need to reconsider the practicalities of that. If that type of setup works for you, then you’ll be pleased to know that this new iPad Pro ships with a 12-megapixel camera offering from iPhone 6s which is capable of shooting 4K video.
Speakers: The iPad is never going to be one of those uber portable devices that consumers use to consume music on the go. Apple has the iPhone and iPod touch for that. The iPad is mostly used for consuming movies, TV shows, and the likes, and therefore Apple has built this particular model with a 4 stereo speaker system that improves the overall sound quality offered by this iPad over the previous 9.7-inch models.
Colors: It seems that Apple has pretty much found the sweet spot when it comes to the external finish of its iOS devices. Once upon a time, it was simply the choice of the very mundane black or white. Now, Apple’s modern devices, which includes this latest 9.7-inch iPad Pro, ships in either Space Gray, Silver, Gold or Rose Gold finish.
- iPad Pro – 32GB Wi-Fi: $599
- iPad Pro – 128GB Wi-Fi: $749
- iPad Pro – 256GB Wi-Fi: $899
Pre-orders begin March 24th. Available on March 31st.
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