New iPads, Pencil, Keyboard – Report card on the latest products – 9to5Mac

Yesterday’s Let Loose event announced new iPads, Apple Pencil, Magic Keyboard – plus a few surprises, some pleasant, some not.

There were no major surprises to the actual iPad announcements, as they were very much in line with what we’d been expecting …

iPad Pro

We did, as expected, get a new iPad Pro with tandem OLED display, in both 11-inch and 13-inch versions. The display is of course the headline news.

The Ultra Retina XDR display features state-of-the-art tandem OLED technology that uses two OLED panels and combines the light from both to provide phenomenal full-screen brightness. The new iPad Pro supports an incredible 1000 nits of full-screen brightness for SDR and HDR content, and 1600 nits peak for HDR. No other device of its kind delivers this level of extreme dynamic range. Tandem OLED technology enables sub-millisecond control over the color and luminance of each pixel, taking XDR precision further than ever.

One very pleasant surprise here was the option of matte glass (what Apple calls nano-texture glass). This is a $100 upgrade, but it’s still a very good option to have available.

Both models did indeed get the new M4 chip – something which even the source of the rumor, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, didn’t dare describe as anything more definite than a possibility.

M4 builds on the GPU architecture of M3 — the 10-core GPU includes powerful features like Dynamic Caching, and hardware-accelerated mesh shading and ray tracing, which come to iPad for the first time. Coupled with higher unified memory bandwidth, pro rendering apps like Octane will see up to 4x faster performance than M2.

A new advanced Media Engine includes support for AV1 decode, providing more power-efficient playback of high-resolution video experiences from streaming services.

My view for some time has been that fewer and fewer people actually need the power of the iPad Pro, and that’s even more true of this model, but it’s still insane how much performance Apple has squeezed into an iPad.

Speaking of squeezing, the new iPad Pro is also thinner than ever – so much so that a Thunderbolt cable actually protrudes above the display!

Verdict: A truly incredible achievement, but one which very few people need. The starting price also got bumped up. The cost of maxing out the 13-inch iPad Pro, together with the new Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil Pro, now exceeds $2,700. That’s more than the cost of most MacBook Pro configurations.

iPad Air

The new iPad Air also aligned with pre-event reporting. The big news here, of course, is the 13-inch model. For the first time, iPad buyers are no longer forced to pay for Pro features they don’t need just to get a bigger screen.

The 11-inch model is a relatively modest update, but also remains at the same $599 starting price, so no complaints there. There’s little reason for anyone who has the previous model to upgrade, though it is good to see the front-facing camera repositioned for use in landscape orientation.

Verdict: The addition of a 13-inch iPad Air is a truly fantastic addition to the iPad line-up, and helps to offset the increasingly eye-watering pricing of the Pro models. For $799, you’re still getting a fantastic display even without the OLED upgrade of the Pro, and this screen size is a real joy for immersive content, as well as multi-window working.

‘New’ entry-level iPad

There was no new entry-level iPad as such, but Apple did drop the 9th-gen model from the line-up, and give the 10th-gen one a very welcome $100 price cut. That effectively means that the cost of entry to iPad got a slight increase to $349, but it’s much better value.

Verdict: This is great news, and I view it as almost as good a move as a brand new device.

Magic Keyboard

The new Magic Keyboard was a smaller upgrade than some reports had suggested, but the aluminum base does give it a more premium look, and it’s good to see that Apple hasn’t increased the price even further.

The key benefits here are the function keys and larger trackpad. The bad news is that it’s only compatible with the latest models (though this does include the Air, which is a nice surprise). That means that anyone who wants to take advantage of it can do so only by replacing their iPad.

Verdict: A worthwhile upgrade, without a bump in price, but no backward compatibility is disappointing. Had it been iPad Pro only, that might have been more understandable given the ultra-thin design, but it’s less forgivable given that it can accommodate both the new 0.2-inch thick iPad Pro 6th generation and the 0.24-inch thick iPad Air, yet not the 0.25-inch thick 5th-gen iPad Pro.

Apple Pencil Pro

The new Apple Pencil Pro didn’t get all of the new features rumored. There are no magnetically-attached interchangeable tips, and no specific eraser feature.

However, it did deliver some of the other upgrades were were expecting: the squeeze gesture and Find My support.

It also gets a new Barrel Roll gesture, which may have been the source of some of the interchangeable tips confusion, as this does provide a means of switching between thinner and thicker brushes, for example.

Verdict: Some worthwhile new features for sure, and the good news is no price increase over the 2nd-gen. However, it’s again disappointing that there’s no backward compatibility with previous iPad Pro models. Relocating the front camera – with corresponding changes to the magnetic attachment and charging – is the likely problem here. I doubt it was deliberate: Apple would likely have loved to sell a new Pencil to owners of older models.

Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro

Some very welcome improvements here! Live Multicam capabilities in the iPad version of FCP is a phenomenal achievement, as is stem-splitting and additional AI musicians in Logic Pro.

Most exciting of all is the announcement of a new Final Cut Camera app coming soon. Bad news for Filmic and BlackMagic, whose apps will likely be Sherlocked, but probably good news for iPhone and iPad owners.

Verdict: All welcome surprises here!

All in, then, a very solid event.

Image: Apple

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Click Here To Read More

Related posts