Today at Apple’s Spring event, alongside the iPhone SE, the company announced the new, smaller, 9.7-inch iPad Pro which is basically the power of the 12.9-inch Pro in the body of the iPad Air 2. I said something similar about the iPhone SE being in the body of the 5s and packing all the heat the 6s does. This assumption is a little different for the new Pro, however it basically is just this.
The new iPad Pro sports an A9X processor with an M9X motion co-processor embedded inside alongside a Smart Connector for connecting accessories such as a Smart Keyboard which has been optimized for the smaller 9.7-inch form factor the new Pro features, Apple Pencil support, a 12MP rear camera which is capable of shooting 4K video (which actually protrudes a bit which will no doubt cause some new controversy), a 5MP front camera, and a True Tone 9.7-inch display which Apple says can automatically adjust tones and colors displayed depending on the room environment. The display is also 40% less reflective when compared to the Air 2 alongside being 25% brighter, making it “the brightest tablet ever” according to Apple. The screen also works very well with iOS 9.3’s Night Shift mode.
The new Pro also packs in quad-sterio speakers, making it one of the best tablets out for listening to music, watching a movie, or playing a game. And interestingly enough, the new tablet also comes with always-on “Hey Siri” detection, something I wasn’t expecting personally.
Accessory-wise, Apple has also announced (as previous stated) a shrunken down version of their Smart Keyboard to better suite the smaller 9.7-inch form factor the new Pro features. The case is made out of the same materials and elements the larger version for the 12.9-inch Pro packs in and will cost $149 for charcoal gray which is currently the only color available. There’s also new Polyurethane Smart Cover case for the new Pro alongside new Silicone cases which will be available for purchase for $49 and $69 respectively.
Alongside the new cases are new Lightning adapters which will allow users to connect things such as microphones, cameras, SD cards, and more to their iPad Pros. The adapters also support USB 3.0 transfer speeds.
Apple is also introducing a new Lightning to USB-C cable in 1 meter and 2 meter variants (priced at $25 and $35 respectively) to take advantage of the iPad Pro’s fast charging capabilities. Keep in mind, however, that the 12.9-inch Pro is only supported, not the new 9.7-inch model, and that you’ll need Apple’s 29W USB-C Power Adapter which costs $49. However, if you happen to own a 2015 12-inch MacBook, you already have the right adapter, so don’t bother buying another one. And yes, you can use this cord to plug your iPad into your 12-inch MacBook. You’re welcome.
A market Apple is targeting with this new iPad Pro is Windows users, with a majority of 12.9-inch Pro users having switched from Microsoft’s OS according to the company. They hope that this new size and form factor alongside performance and capabilities will be enough to attract them and ultimately convince them to switch. To indicate that they’re taking this approach, the company’s dubbing the new Pro “the ultimate PC replacement”.
The new iPad Pro will start at $599 for 32GB of storage, with 128GB costing $749 and a whopping 256GB of space running for $899. The 12.9-inch Pro is also available in a 256GB storage variant for $1099. The Air 2 also received new pricing as well as the mini, this time around dropping the cost of the Air 2 to as little as $399 and the mini now starting at $269.
Preorders for the new 9.7-inch Pro start March 24th, with the current shipping date being set to March 31st. The device will be available in Silver, Space Gray, Gold, and a new Rose Gold finish.
Here’s the full press release Apple wrote up about the new smaller iPad Pro and accessories:
Apple Introduces 9.7-inch iPad Pro
Breakthrough Pro Features & Advanced Display Technologies Come to the Most Popular iPad Size
CUPERTINO, California — March 21, 2016 — Apple® today introduced the all-new 9.7-inch iPad Pro™ — at just under one pound it features a new pro Retina® display with greater brightness, wider color gamut, lower reflectivity, Night Shift™ mode and introduces new True Tone® display technology to dynamically adjust white balance. The new iPad Pro delivers incredible performance with the 64-bit A9X chip that rivals most portable PCs, along with a four-speaker audio system that is twice as powerful,¹ new 12-megapixel iSight® camera for shooting Live Photos™ and 4K video, 5-megapixel FaceTime® HD camera, and faster wireless technologies. And iPad Pro includes support for the breakthrough Apple Pencil™ and a new Smart Keyboard™ cover designed to fit the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
“iPad Pro is a new generation of iPad that is indispensable and immersive, enabling people to be more productive and more creative. It’s incredibly fast, extremely portable, and completely natural to use with your fingers, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. And now it comes in two sizes,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a new Retina display with True Tone technology, four-speaker audio system, blazing fast A9X chip, 12-megapixel iSight camera, 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera, faster wireless, and support for Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. It is the ultimate upgrade for existing iPad users and replacement for PC users.”
Designers, illustrators and businesses have quickly adopted iPad Pro and it’s changing the way they work:
“People don’t realize how much hand drawing is needed to produce computer animation,” said John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. “iPad Pro and Apple Pencil are the closest we’ve ever been able to get in the digital world to actually drawing on paper.”
“I’ve done everything including designing the latest cycling collection on iPad Pro,” said Alex Valdman, Head of Design for Rapha. “It goes with me everywhere, and has not only replaced my laptop, but my paper notebook as well. For the Rapha design team, iPad Pro will become standard issue.”
“At Citi, iPad Pro is truly transforming how we work,” said Stephen Gates, U.S. Head of Design for Citi Global Consumer Banking. “iPad Pro and Apple Pencil have played a huge part in the new Citi Design team’s work to create new innovative customer experiences. We use iPad Pro for sketching out new design concepts, presenting our work, answering our emails, working with our design files on Adobe Creative Cloud and participating in FaceTime meetings with our other design teams all over the world.”
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro features advanced display technologies, including a True Tone display, which uses new four-channel sensors to dynamically adjust the white balance of the display to match the light around you for a more natural and accurate, paper-white viewing experience. The advanced Retina display is 25 percent brighter and 40 percent less reflective than iPad Air® 2, making content even easier to see indoors and out. It uses the same wider color gamut as the iMac® with Retina 5K display, delivering 25 percent greater color saturation¹ for more vivid colors. A custom timing controller, photo alignment and oxide TFT deliver incredible color, contrast and clarity. Night Shift in iOS 9.3 uses iPad Pro’s clock and geolocation to automatically adjust the colors in the display to the warmer end of the spectrum after dark and may even help you get a better night’s sleep.
The new iPad Pro is just 6.1mm thin and weighs just under one pound, yet delivers groundbreaking performance, connectivity and versatility so you can tackle the most demanding tasks wherever you go. The powerful A9X chip with third-generation 64-bit architecture provides performance that rivals many laptops and console-class graphics, while also delivering all-day battery life.² Ultrafast wireless connectivity keeps you connected wherever you go with 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO technology, support for even faster LTE Advanced with up to 50 percent faster cellular connectivity³ and the most LTE bands supported by any tablet.⁴ Now with Apple SIM embedded directly in the new iPad Pro, it’s even easier to connect to wireless data plans right from your device when traveling in more than 100 countries and territories.5
iPad Pro has an advanced 12-megapixel iSight camera sensor featuring Focus Pixels for fast focusing, an Apple-designed image signal processor, advanced noise reduction, third-generation local tone mapping and better face detection, all resulting in sharp, detailed images, 63-megapixel panoramas and Live Photos. A True Tone flash improves low light shots and document scanning. The new iSight camera shoots 4K video, making the new iPad Pro the perfect device to shoot, edit and share pro-quality video. The improved 5-megapixel, front-facing FaceTime HD camera makes the new iPad Pro perfect for videoconferencing or connecting with loved ones.
The four-speaker audio system provides powerful, clear and rich stereo sound for more than twice the audio output.¹ Built-in sensors automatically adjust and optimize the audio no matter which way you’re using it. iOS 9.3 also adds support for playing video encoded with Dolby Digital Plus audio streams with support for multichannel output using the Apple Lightning® Digital AV Adapter.
Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, available for purchase separately, bring breakthrough levels of precision and utility to iPad Pro. Advanced sensors in Apple Pencil measure both pressure and tilt for a natural drawing, annotating and note-taking experience. A new Smart Keyboard is custom-designed for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, offering a thin yet durable keyboard that never needs to be charged or paired over Bluetooth and is easily foldable into a protective Smart Cover®. The new Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader and Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter make it easy to download photos and videos from a digital camera to iPad Pro, while a new Lightning to USB-C Cable and Apple’s 29W USB-C Power Adapter enable faster charging.
Pricing & Availability
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro comes in silver, space gray, gold and a new rose gold metallic finish, and starts at $599 (US) for the 32GB with Wi-Fi model and $729 (US) for the 32GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model. Both iPad Pro sizes are available in offerings of 32GB, 128GB and a new 256GB capacity, the highest of any iOS device. For more information, please visit www.apple.com/ipad.
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be available to order beginning Thursday, March 24, from Apple.com, and in Apple’s retail stores, through select carriers and Apple Authorized Resellers on Thursday, March 31, in Australia, Canada, China (Wi-Fi models only), France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the UK, US Virgin Islands and the US.
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be available in early April in Albania, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Greenland, Guam, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Macau (Wi-Fi models only), Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand (Wi-Fi models only), Turkey and UAE.
Apple Pencil is available for $99 (US) and Smart Keyboard in charcoal gray for $149 (US). The Polyurethane iPad Pro Smart Cover and Silicone Cases for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro are available for $49 (US) and $69 (US), respectively, in a range of new vibrant colors.
The Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader is available for $29 (US), Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter for $39 (US), Apple 29W USB-C Power Adapter for $49 (US), Lightning to USB-C Cable (1 m.) for $25 (US) and Lightning to USB-C Cable (2 m.) for $35 (US).
Every customer who buys an iPad Pro from Apple will be offered free Personal Setup, in-store or online, to help them customize their iPad Pro by setting up email, showing them new apps from the App Store® and more.
Anyone who wants to learn more about the new iPad Pro or iOS 9 can register for the free workshops offered at every Apple Store®.
¹Over iPad Air 2.
²Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results may vary.
³Based on theoretical speeds, actual speeds may vary.
⁴Data plan required. LTE is available in select markets and through select carriers. Speeds vary based on site conditions. For details on LTE support, contact your carrier and see www.apple.com/ipad/LTE. 5Embedded Apple SIM in iPad Pro (9.7-inch) may be disabled when purchased from some carriers. See your carrier for details. Apple SIM and embedded Apple SIM not available in China.
Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple’s four software platforms — iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.