The update of the high-powered iPad Pro, aimed at professional users like photographers and digital artists, involves both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch models. Both now use the Apple-designed M1 processor, which significantly boosted the performance of the MacBook Pro and Air laptops, according to Consumer Reports testers.
They also employ a new display technology called Mini LED that Apple claims delivers more accurate colors and better contrast, compared to traditional LCD technology. Apple calls this new display Liquid Retina XDR.
Mini LED technology isn’t exclusive to Apple, and is expected to appear in high-end TVs this year from companies like LG, Samsung, and TCL.
Other additions include optional 5G wireless connectivity, which allows for very fast downloads when connected to a compatible wireless network, upgraded webcams for better performance on video calls, and a new white version of the tablet.
Despite heated speculation heading into the event, no other iPad model updates were revealed on Tuesday.
The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799 for the WiFi-only model ($999 for the option with cellular) while the 12.9-inch model starts at $1099 ($1299 with cellular). All will be available for preorder on April 30 and begin shipping in the second half of May.
Apple’s iPad Pro has typically fared very well in Consumer Reports’ tablet ratings, though consumers looking for less expensive tablets do have other options, including the $330 entry-level iPad and the Amazon Fire and Walmart Onn. Those are not nearly as powerful and the last pair doesn’t have access to the rich suite of apps available on the iPad OS App Store, but may suffice for more ordinary tasks like browsing the web or streaming video.