Apple iPad Pro & Accessories Raise the Bar for Tablets.

By: Jonathan Kettle, Staff Writer

PC: Wicker_Man/ Flickr

PC: Wicker_Man/ Flickr

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Electronics manufacturer Apple announced the release of their new iPad Pro, Pencil, and Smart Keyboard last week and once again pushed the limits of what a tablet can do.

First appearances of the new 12.9″ tablet are what you’d expect; it looks like an inflated iPad Air 2, 6.9 millimeters thick and weighing in at about 713 grams. Delving deeper, the internals bring a lot of processing power to compliment the iPad’s new appearance.

The hardware brings the iPad’s performance closer to that of a desktop than that of a tablet. The iPad Pro has a faster processor, and twice the graphics processing ability of the iPad Air 2 with its all-new 64-bit A9X processor and built in M9 motion coprocessor.

The revolutionary four speaker audio system automatically balances left and right audio when the position of the devices is changed to optimize stereo sounds for the user. The maximum volume of the device is also three times louder than that of the Air 2.

The display and touch interfaces of the device have been completely re-engineered for the iPad Pro. The touch refresh rate has been doubled, and the screen’s sensitivity has been increased to allow for a more elegant and precise touch screen environment. It’s the first iPad that automatically adjusts the screen refresh rate depending on what is being displayed, which enhances battery life.

The iPad Pro has more pixels than any other iOS device with a retina display resolution of 2732 x 2048 at 226 pixels per inch, summing up to a shattering 5.6 million pixels. When combined with Apple’s Pencil, it is possible for a user to touch every single one separately.

Yes, it is possible to choose a single one of the 5.6 million pixels and colour it. The Pencil looks humble enough, but inside consists a storm of sensors able to detect position, force, and tilt. This allows all-new levels of expression to be used when drawing. Tilting the Pencil creates a widened curve, and pressing harder thickens and bolds the line. Many users might respond to that with a “hey, that’s kinda neat,” attitude, but to a graphic artist, this turns their tablet into an alternative workstation. The Pencil trailer videos show the extensive and impressive capabilities of the device. The new type of stylus was designed in conjunction with the iPad Pro, so they work seamlessly together.

When Steve Jobs was running Apple, he made it very clear that he didn’t want the company to produce a single stylus: “God gave us ten styluses. Let’s not invent another.” Now, almost 4 years past his death, it’s clear that the stylus and other landmark products Jobs didn’t want his company producing (such as the iPad) are very much staples for the corporate giant’s successes.

The other add-on for the Pro is the Smart Keyboard, which differs very slightly from another tablet-keyboard on the market (ahem, Microsoft Surface Pro). It connects to the tablet using three small magnets which also provide power to the device. It’s very light, having no battery or backlight built in, and can also act as a case for the device.

Starting price is $799 US for the base model, with 802.11 ac WiFi and 32 GB of storage, moving to $949 US for the 128 GB model, and $1079 US for the 128 GB Wifi + LTE cellular model. The Pencil is starting at $99 US and the Smart Keyboard an additional $169, so the top of the line iPad Pro set-up will set you back a crushing $1349 US. The iPad Pro is designed to hit stores this coming November, with no Canadian pricing released as of this date.