Apple announces its new M1-powered iPad Pro range


Apple is back at it again with its snazzy new home-grown processors but this time they’re not being dropped into a MacBook or an iPhone. It’s the iPad’s time to shine as the newly announced range of iPad Pros will be running a version of that blistering M1 chip to ensure that you’re browsing, designing and reading faster than ever.

Announced at this year’s first Apple hardware announcement (you know, that whole Spring. Loaded. deal), we’re set to see several models of Pro land in not very much time at all.

Powered-up iPad Pro

The big news is obviously the inclusion of Apple Silicon in the company’s range of Pro tablets. Technically this was always the case with the A-series chips but we’re now looking at the same hardware Apple uses to power its laptops. A substantial power boost is being claimed, allowing 4K video editing, 3D editing while also enabling native support for Xbox and PlayStation controllers (with the haptics intact). Plus there’s Apple’s neural engine and image signal processor, and… you get the idea. It’s going to be powerful, and you’re going to want a keyboard cover. Because it’s not a tablet any more, it’s a computer now. Has been for a while, but now it’s emphatic.

My eyes!

You’ll be able to pick up the iPad Pro in two sizes: An 11in model and a larger 12.9in version for those folks who really want to see what they’re doing. The 11in version still uses a Liquid Retina display but the 12.9in… is going to justify the price. Remember Apple’s Pro Display XDR monitors? Apple’s iPad Pro 12.9in has taken a few cues from that. It includes the Liquid Retina XDR display, with a 1,000 nit brightness (with a 1,600 peak), 1:1 million contrast. and support for HDR 10, HLG and Dolby Vision/Atmos. If you’re planning on video editing, the 12.9 Pro is the portable device to do it on.

But wait, there’s more!

There are other upgrades that are worth paying attention to, including the inclusion of 5G to the company’s cellular Pro tablets. Don’t go picking up a WiFi-only version and expecting it to work on SA’s limited 5G networks but the cellular models will go as fast as the networks allow. Apple’s also taunting us with a US-only function — even more speed if you’re on an American cellular network (allegedly — it’s not like we can test it).

There’s also a new 12MP ultrawide camera up front that enables something called Center Stage. This is a feature that keeps you in the frame while video calling, automatically zooming in or out based on who is in view. It’s a handy addition in a world where a lot more communication is being done on video and it seems to be slickly handled. We can’t wait to try it out, weirdly enough. Lastly, there’s support for Thunderbolt and USB 4 coming to the iPad Pro.

Coming soon

So you want one, do you? The upgraded 11in Pro starts oversea from $800 (R11,500), while the 12.9in monster will set buyers back at least $1,100 (R15,800). They’re slated to drop in mid-May this year, with a local launch (and pricing) still to be confirmed. Stay tuned, we’ll have more detail as it’s available.

Brad Lang contributed to this story



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