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What just happened? Apple introduced its newest iPad Pro during its Spring Loaded event on Tuesday. The refreshed tablet features 5G connectivity, a new 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display, and Apple's new M1 silicon. The new iPad Pro incorporates the same 8-core M1 SoC found in Apple's latest 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac Mini for desktop-like performance in a 13-inch tablet. Apple calls it "the fastest device of its kind."
The M1 architecture delivers considerable performance gains over previous iPad Pro models equipped with the A12Z Bionic SoC. Apple claims the 8-core CPU and GPU are 50- and 40-percent faster, respectively.
Proprietary technologies such as Apple's 16-core Neural Engine and an advanced image signal processor propel it to one of the fastest tablets on the market. It also features up to 16GB of high-bandwidth RAM and up to 2TB of storage that is twice as fast as previous models.
"The revolutionary M1 chip has been a breakthrough for the Mac, and we're incredibly excited to bring it to iPad Pro," said Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Greg Joswiak.
The iPad Pro's new Liquid Retina XDR display brings the same technology used in Apple's high-end $5,000 ProDisplay XDR for the Mac Pro to a 12.9-inch mini-LED screen. The 10,000-LED touch display features 1,000 nits brightness (1,600 nits peak) and a million-to-1 contrast ratio.
Apple says that photographers, videographers, and filmmakers will feel right at home editing HDR content on the new iPad Pro.
Driven by the latest iPadOS software, the iPad Pro can effectively act as a capable portable computer with Apple Pencil, trackpad, mouse, and keyboard support. Adding to that capability is Thunderbolt and USB 4 connectivity with four times the bandwidth of previous models, including 10Gbps Ethernet.
The cellular version of the iPad Pro is equipped with mm-wave 5G for up to 4Gbps download speeds. While 5G coverage is still pretty spotty, it should come in handy for those within a coverage area, especially when handling heavy workflows.
The new iPad Pro comes in two sizes—11- and 12.9-inch, and two colors—space gray and silver. Additionally, it is available in five configurations ranging from 128GB to 2TB. The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799 and $999 for WiFi-only and cellular, respectively. Likewise, the 12.9-inch version starts at $1,099 and $1,299. All models launch in the second half of May, but pre-orders open worldwide on April 30.