Last Tuesday Apple had another special event this time being hosted in Brooklyn, New York. For this event, like always for iPad and Mac-focused keynotes, they catered to developers and artists. So let’s talk about iPad Pro and all of the new accessories that can be purchased separately including the second-generation Apple Pencil and a new keyboard.
The new design is boxier than the rounded iPad that we have always been used in the past. The rear camera still pops out just enough to give the iPad a bit of the wobble when laying flat. Looking around the iPad there is still the stereo speaker arrangement like we have come to expect from the iPad Pro. The smart connector is still here for connecting the new Smart Keyboard, and on the other side is a magnet for the new Apple Pencil, both of which I will talk more on later. Now let’s move on to the screen. The screen borrows the same liquid retina display from the iPhone XR that was released last month. It comes in two sizes, an 11″ and 12.9″ with roughly the same image quality as the previous iPad Pros with the same 120Hz display. With the almost edge to edge display there is no room for a home button. All of the gestures from the iPhone X have been moved over to the iPad. This also brings FaceID to the iPad allowing you to unlock your iPad with your face. The only port is USB-C which replaces lightning and the headphone jack. The new design reminds me more of a Microsoft Surface and less of the typically rounded iPad that we have come to be used to.
The speed is what’s most exciting about this new tablet. This thing is going to be quick. Apple says that it has the speed of an Xbox One S Series. Imagine that, the power of a console fit into a little tablet. The little tablet is powered by the A12x Bionic which features a 7-Core GPU and an 8-Core CPU. The CPU has four performance cores and four efficiency cores. This x series processor is more powerful than the A12 Bionic in the iPhones XS and XR. Compared to the A8, which can be found in the iPhone 6, the CPU is 3x faster and the GPU is 8x faster. According to a 9to5Mac report the Geekbench scores for the tablet have shown up online featuring the 2018 iPad Pro with a 5020 single-core score and 18217 multicore scores. This means that it is right next to the 2.6 GHz i7 2018 MacBook Pro released earlier in the year. For now, we have an idea of the performance based on the previews given at the event. Some notable apps that were teased and coming to the iPad are Assassins’ Creed, MBA 2K, and most notably a full version of Adobe’s Photoshop. This thing is going to be fast.
It’s time to say goodbye to lightning and the headphone jack, at least on the iPad Pro, and hello to USB-C. USB-C on the iPad Pro will open many doors for both developers and users. So here are the most notable features that will come with the addition of USB-C.
If you have a 2016 or newer Mac then you should be able to use the same power cables and adapters on your tablet. With the lack of the headphone jack, you’re going to have to find alternatives whether that be USB-C headphones, wireless headphones, or get an adapter for your 3.5mm headphones. Personally, I would recommend finding a wireless pair. In addition, you can also plug in external displays like Apple’s LG UltraFine 4K display or any other display via USB-C or video adapter. Once again if you have a 2016 or newer Mac you can use all of its USB-C adapters and accessories. Alongside the new USB-C device is new Apple made adapters like USB-C to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter or this USB-C to SD Card Reader.
USB-C is great but you may find it limited by the current OS, iOS 12. As of now unless there is an app for your external drive you will be unable to access it. Camera user for now still has to import their images into Photos first before they can send them to any other app like Lightroom or the future Photoshop. A little note to Apple: I like what you’re doing with USB-C on the iPad, but if you really want it to be useful for us, the consumers, give it more power. Allow photo management apps like Lightroom to import photos and allow access to external document drives and internal storage via Files app. But this is a rant for another time.
Alongside the new iPad is a new keyboard that Apple calls Smart Keyboard Folio. This keyboard will connect, like the previous versions of the iPad, using the smart connector on the back making it simple pair and use. If you have purchased a previous Apple keyboard case it, unfortunately, is not compatible with the new iPad Pro so you will have to purchase the new model. The new Folio keyboard can be purchased for $179 for 11″ and $199 for 12.9″. If you want a cheaper option you can connect any Bluetooth keyboard.
The Apple Pencil just got an upgrade too. With the old Apple Pencil, you had to plug it into the lightning port of your iPad for pairing and charging. In the end, you would be left with your pencil sticking out of your iPad and it looks terrible. The new Apple Pencil will magnetically connect to the side of your iPad for charging and pairing. This is a way better design. Since it magnetically connects to the iPad there is a flat side that aligns with the side of the iPad, this can also help to keep it from rolling away. Hidden at the bottom of the pencil near the tip is a button. This button can be customized by the developer per app for special app features. The most common feature will be to switch between a drawing utensil and an eraser. It will be interesting to see what developers can do with it. Unfortunately, if you have the first generation of Apple Pencil it will not work on the new 2018 iPad Pro, and the new Apple Pencil will not work on previous generations of iPad. I suspect that it is because of the different ways the pencil connects to the iPad. The 2nd Gen Apple Pencil is being sold for $129 which is $30 more than the first generation which is also still being sold at its original price of $99.
Did You Miss Something
A lot came out of the iPad Pro check out the image below from Apple’s Special Event for the full rundown.