Apple has unveiled its latest iPad Pro model. The tablet, as recent leaks first revealed, is joined by a new backlit Magic Keyboard with a built-in trackpad. Unlike the Smart Folio keyboard, the new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro has a floating hinge design, offering users a more familiar laptop-like experience.
The iPad gained support for trackpads in iPadOS 13.4, according to Apple, finally giving users the experience they’ve been requesting for years. With the trackpad and hinge on the Magic Keyboard, iPad Pro owners can rapidly toggle from touch and gesture control to more traditional keyboard and trackpad control. The new option enables the iPad Pro to better function as a laptop replacement for owners who are tired of carrying both, but who grow weary of repeatedly lifting their arm to tap and swipe on the display.
Apple has repeatedly presented the iPad Pro as a highly capable device that could, for many consumers, serve as a laptop replacement. The lack of mouse support was the device’s biggest stumbling block in this regard, however — even a top Apple executive had acknowledged that having to use a touch screen in place of a trackpad was ‘a pretty fatiguing thing to do.’
Apple says that it ‘completely reimagined’ trackpad use for the iPad rather than copying it straight from macOS. ‘As users move their fingers across the trackpad, the pointer elegantly transforms to highlight user interface elements,’ the company explained in its announcement today. The trackpad includes support for Multi-Touch gestures, as well, eliminating the need for users to lift their hands to touch the display.
The new keyboard is joined by an updated iPad Pro model that features a more powerful A12Z Bionic chip with an eight-core GPU. Apple says its new hardware features ‘enhanced’ thermal architecture alongside tuned performance controllers and the company’s Neural Engine. Despite the performance boost, the new iPad Pro features up to 10 hours of battery life.
Other iPad Pro features include gigabit-class LTE connectivity, faster WiFi, an edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display with 120Hz refresh rate and 11in / 12.9in size options. The screen boasts P3 color support, the True Tone color management system and an anti-reflective coating. Apple has also packed a dual rear camera system into the new iPad Pro with 12MP Wide and 10MP Ultra Wide cameras; they’re joined by ‘studio-quality’ microphones and a LiDAR Scanner for what Apple says will be ‘a whole new class of AR experiences.’
In addition to the new iPad Pro and keyboard, Apple has also revealed an updated MacBook Air with double the storage and faster performance, as well as a new Magic Keyboard — the same one introduced on the 16in MacBook Pro. The new keyboard has a classic inverted ‘T’ arrow key design, plus there’s a new scissor mechanism with 1mm of key travel.
Rounding out the hardware announcements is an updated Mac mini with double the storage, putting the standard configuration at 256GB rather than 128GB. The 11in iPad Pro starts at $799, the 12.9in iPad Pro at $999, the new MacBook Air at $999 and the updated Mac mini at $799.
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