Apple’s “pro” level iPad is finally getting an update, seeing a new processor, faster connections, and a way to pick up the signal from the Pencil more quickly.
The launch of a revamped entry-level iPad might have been one spot of news this week, but it isn’t the only iPad story Apple has. There’s a bigger and more powerful model on the way, ideal for people who create, and who might have been curious to see what Apple has in store for a range of iPads last updated almost 18 months ago.
Back in May 2021, Apple released a generation of its iPad Pro that brought with it the chip found inside its laptops.
We’ve been delighted by the Apple Silicon M1 chip in the M1 MacBook Air, M1 MacBook Pro, M1 Mac Mini, and M1 iMac, and with the tech thrown into the iPad Pro, tablet owners were seeing performance for tablet apps on what was basically a desktop-capable way. That thing was fast, and really delivered plenty of speed, even if you probably couldn’t find an app that needed to push it over the edge.
Over a year later, Apple is finally ready with a follow-up, and it’s one that will update the chip with what’s new from Apple, while also improving other areas, as well.
The big change is that processor, as Apple migrates the chip from this year’s MacBook Air to the iPad Pro, throwing in the Apple M2, a chip boasting as much as a 15 percent improvement in processing power with more memory bandwidth and the capability to transcode video more efficiently, as well.
It won’t be relevant to all apps, but those that can take advantage of the chip should see performance boosts, and it’s not just with the new processor.
Apple is also updating the 802.11ax WiFi 6 to the slightly newer WiFi 6E, a network technology that uses an extra 6GHz band for more wireless networking performance, though it does require a WiFi 6E router to get access to the 6GHz tech. Otherwise, it’ll work with existing WiFi technologies, while mobile models will be able to connect to 5G in Australia.
One change you mightn’t expect arrives for owners of the Apple Pencil, with the screen and stylus able to communicate at a slightly greater distance.
Holding the Apple Pencil as far as 12mm away (1.2cm for those playing at home) will see the M2 iPad Pro work out that the Pencil is nearby, seeing a preview of what’s going to happen before the tip lands on the screen. Think of it as a preview of the mark the Pencil might make before it happens, or a hover for the Apple Pencil before you touch and click.
It will all come in an iPad Pro shaped and styled just like the previous generation, with the flat-edged metal casing and slim bezels used here, and a choice of either an 11 inch iPad Pro or 12.9 inch iPad Pro. For the most part, they’ll both feature the same technology, though the 11 inch model will still see an LED-backlit screen, while the 12.9 inch M2 iPad Pro will get a Mini-LED screen, much like its predecessor did. It seems as though the 11 inch model still misses out.
Beyond this, both will offer the new chip, connection tech, and two cameras on the back (12 megapixel wide and 10 megapixel ultra-wide), plus the LiDAR Scanner built into the camera bump seen on previous models, and the Face ID and 12 megapixel front-facing camera, as well.
“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, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Apple.
“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,” he said.
Pricing for the 2022 M2 iPad Pro models will start at $1399 for the 11 inch model, a good $200 higher than the 11 inch model last year, while the 12.9 inch iPad Pro will jump from the $1649 starting price in 2021 to a minimum of $1899 for the 12.9 inch M2 iPad Pro this year.
There are, of course, accessories, with the Magic Keyboard priced at $489 for the 11 inch and $579 for the 12.9 inch, while Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio with fabric keys will cost $299 for the 11 inch and $329 for the 12.9 inch model.
Expect availability of both the new iPad Pro models and related accessories to land online and in stores in late October, alongside the new iPad 10.9, which is due on October 27.