On Monday at the WWDC 2017 event in San Jose, Apple served up a product announcement long-anticipated by the business community: A new 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
The new iPad Pro will take the place of the previous 9.7-inch model. By utilizing smaller bezels, Apple was able to fit the 10.5-inch screen in the same form factor.
At 10.5 inches, the new iPad Pro still weighs a pound. The new model boasts a full-size on-screen keyboard, as well as a full-size smart keyboard, which will support more than 30 languages including Chinese and Japanese—marking the first time iPad has supported the Japanese language.
The iPad has also sped up its mobile displays. While the previous model could update content at 60 frames per second, the new ones have 120 HZ—double the rate previously available. That means the motion content on the screen is "smoother, crisper, and more responsive," said Apple marketing head Greg Joswiak. "When you scroll, it's buttery smooth."
And with "ProMotion," the Apple Pencil is more responsive and its latency is reduced to 20ms, "an industry best," said Joswiak. And the iPad's new fast-charging means the iPads can charge twice as fast as they currently do.
The storage capacity is also getting a boost, with all iPads offering 64GB minimum, and the most expensive model going up to 512GB. The new iPads also will have 30% faster CPU performance and 40% faster graphics performance.
The update has been predicted by many, including KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Also, Apple's recent regulatory filings for model numbers A1670, A1671, A1701, and A1709 are a clue that two iPad models were on the way—a Wi-Fi enabled and a cellular model—according to the French site Consomac.
Back in March, ZDNet predicted that an iPad announcement would be likely, statistically speaking, with David Gewitz reporting that: "Of the last eight iPad announcements, half of them were introduced in the spring timeframe (I'm including one January announcement in this pack). In other words, while there's only a 12-percent chance we'll see new Macs soon, there's a good 50-50 chance we'll see updated iPads."
As reported by TechRepublic's Jason Hiner, wireless broadband—one of the key features of the iPad, which allows for cellular data use when out of Wi-Fi range—has been a central reason so many professionals depend on the device.
But even with its new features, the iPad Pro will face some competition. As reported by TechRepublic's Conner Forrest, Microsoft's new Surface Pro offers a big advantage for business users on-the-go: 13.5 hours of battery life. It was 35% more battery than Apple's previous iPad Pro. Also, overall tablet sales have been on the decline, with sales dropping between 9% and 20% worldwide in the fall of 2016 compared with the previous year, according to IDC and Strategy Analytics.
The new iPad Pro models, which start at $649, are available for shipping in the fall. It will be available in private beta for developers today.
The new iPad Pro is one of a series of announcements at WWDC 2017, including Amazon Prime video coming to Apple TV, an updated Apple watch, Apple Pay purchases through iMessage, macOS High Sierra, and Safari Intelligent Tracking Prevention, which can improve privacy by blocking trackers, detected using machine learning. Watch for real-time updates on CNET's live blog.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
1. At the WWDC 2017, Apple unveiled its long-awaited iPad Pro—a new model with smaller bezels and a 10.5-inch screen.
2. The new iPad Pros all have at least 64GB of storage, with the most expensive model offering 512GB.
3. The iPad Pros also boast 30% faster CPU performance and 40% faster graphics performance.
- Apple announces 10.5-inch iPad, may be the Goldilocks of tablets (CNET)
- Apple's WWDC 2017: Predictions and tips on how to watch the developer event
- Video: How to stream Apple events from Safari and other platforms
- What to expect at Apple WWDC 2017: Sure bets and long shots (ZDNet)
- WWDC 2017: Siri will make or break Apple (ZDNet)
- Apple WWDC 2017: What to expect (CNET)
- How iOS 11 could change the iPhone (CNET)
- macOS Sierra: The smart person's guide
- 7 ways to protect your Apple computers against ransomware
Hope Reese has nothing to disclose. She doesn't hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Hope Reese is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers the intersection of technology and society, examining the people and ideas that transform how we live today.