The iPad Pro follows the general design principles of the iPad Air 2, but on a significantly larger scale. Aside from the increase in screen area, there are some key design differences, each corresponding to a functional difference.
One is that there are four speakers, as opposed to the twin speakers on the iPad Air 2. This results in far more volume output of course, and Apple says the device is also smart enough to adjust audio balance between the four units to maintain a consistent performance as you hold the iPad in different ways. There is also a new type of connector on the left hand side. Apple calls it the Smart Connector, and it’s designed to fit the new Smart Keyboard accessory. Its not yet known if third parties will produce their own accessories to fit the Smart Connector, but it’s fairly likely that a range of accessories will be available in due course.
The iPad Pro gets a super-powered A9X processor chip, one that Apple claims is close to twice the speed of the iPad Air 2’s A8X. It also comes with a 12.9-inch display, compared to the 9.7-inch display on the iPad Air and the 7.9-inch display on the iPad mini. That’s 78 percent more screen space than the next-largest iPad. Apple claims the iPad Pro will last for 10 hours (of video play or web use) between charges. That figure is the same as the quoted battery life for the iPad Air 2.
A diagonal measurement of 12.9 inches makes for a device that is both sharply differentiated from the smaller iPads and a convenient size in terms of productivity and ease of use. The iPad Pro’s screen is also pleasingly sharp, with a massive screen resolution of 2732 x 2048, the largest resolution ever seen on an iOS device. That’s the same pixel density – 264.68 pixels per inch (ppi) – as the iPad Air 2, stretched across a much bigger screen.
With a total of 5.6 million pixels on show, Apple boasts that the iPad Pro has more pixels than the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. And it’s supposed to be power-efficient too, with the ability to adjust refresh rate as and when the movement on the screen warrants it. “For the first time in any of our devices,” says Apple, “iPad Pro knows when the content on your screen is static and cuts the refresh rate in half, to 30 times per second instead of 60. This means that the screen isn’t just big, beautiful and bright. It’s also incredibly energy efficient.”
Apple has finally given way and launched a stylus, called the Apple Pencil, intended to offer pressure-sensitive drawing and painting rather than a standard control method. The Apple Pencil charges by plugging directly into the the iPad Pro’s Lightening Connector port.
The new iPad Pro will come in 64GB or 128GB versions, the latter coming with or without 4G LTE. The iPad Pro is backed by some new accessories: a detachable fabric keyboard and the aforementioned Apple Pencil stylus.