1. A novelty-sized iPad
The new iPad Pro has the biggest screen on an iOS device (and a bigger screen than some OS X devices.) At 12.9 inches, it can support a full-sized virtual keyboard, and will be the first iPad to feature an optional physical keyboard and stylus. The Pro will have an A9X memory chip, making it 1.8x faster than the A8X chip that’s in the iPad Air 2, and Apple claims it’s faster than 80 percent of portable PCs (i.e. laptops) shipped in the past six months. The iPad Pro’s new four-speaker audio setup will also rebalance itself based on how you hold it. The 10-hour battery life and 5.6 million pixels will also help it compete with traditional laptops or other tablet and keyboard combinations.
Apple invited Microsoft and Adobe up to demonstrate iPad Pro-focused versions of their iOS apps Adobe Photoshop Fix is a new app that lets you quickly retouch photos using the stylus, while PowerPoint will now convert stylus ink into objects that you can use in your slides. The tablet is being positioned as a professional tool, with a price to match. The 32GB edition will cost you $799, while the 128GB will be $949, and LTE support bumps up the 128GB to $1079. The iPad Pro will be available in November in silver, gold, and space grey versions.
2. Styluses are hip again
Steve Jobs may have famously trashed styluses when the original iPad came out, but times have changed. The $99 Apple Pencil is a dedicated iPad Pro stylus that will allow for precision drawing and can be used simultaneously with a finger. Granted, Apple is jumping into a market that’s been filled by third-party designers for years, so anyone who absolutely needed a stylus for the smaller, existing iPads probably already has one. The same goes for the other new iPad Pro peripheral: a $169 woven “smart keyboard” case that looks a lot like Microsoft’s surface keyboards. Even if they’re not new concepts, this is the first time Apple has made its own versions of these accessories, positioning them as an integral part of the product. They’ll be out in November, along with the iPad Pro.