The New Apple iPad Pro: Can it finally replace your laptop?
The 2020 iPad Pro
Apple in March 2020 refreshed its iPad Pro lineup, introducing a faster A12Z Bionic processor, dual rear cameras, a new LiDAR scanner for improved augmented reality capabilities, improved audio, and an optional Magic Keyboard accessory that adds a trackpad to the iPad for the first time.
According to Apple, the 2020 iPad Pro is its most advanced iPad Pro to date, with a number of "pro" improvements for those who want an iPad that's able to replace a computer.
When it comes to design, the iPad Pro is unchanged, available in 11 and 12.9-inch sizes with an all-screen design and an edge-to-edge display that does not include a Home button. Like the 2018 iPad Pro models, the 2020 iPad Pro features a TrueDepth camera system with Face ID that uses facial recognition for biometric authentication and a 7-megapixel camera for selfies.
Both of the iPad Pro models feature an aluminum chassis in Silver or Space Gray with flat, rounded edges that wrap around the Liquid Retina display. The Liquid Retina display is unchanged from the 2018 model, featuring wide color support, True Tone for adjusting to ambient light, an anti-reflective coating, and ProMotion 120Hz refresh capabilities.
While the general design of the iPad Pro has remained the same, there's a new rear camera system. There are two cameras, including a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera and a 10-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera that can zoom out two times for a wider field of view.
Features like Smart HDR, Quad-LED True Tone Flash, wide color, and 4K video recording at up to 60fps are included.
Accompanying the two-camera setup is a new LiDAR Scanner that uses reflected light to measure the distance of objects up to five meters away in nano-second speeds. Apple says that new depth frameworks in iPadOS combine depth points from the LiDAR scanner with data from cameras and motion sensors for a whole new class of AR experiences on the iPad Pro.
Existing ARKit apps will benefit from instant AR placement, improved motion capture, and people occlusion. With new ARKit capabilities, developers can access a new Scene Geometry API that will result in new scenarios not possible without the LiDAR Scanner.
Apple has improved the Measure app using the LiDAR Scanner, and it can now automatically calculate a person's height. Object measurements are faster and more accurate thanks to automatic vertical and edge guides, plus there's a new Ruler View for more granular measurements.
Inside, the 2020 iPad Pro is equipped with an A12Z Bionic Chip that features an 8-core GPU, 8-core CPU, and enhanced thermal architecture and tuned performance controllers for faster than ever performance. The Neural Engine handles Core ML tasks and augmented reality features, and processes data from the LiDAR Scanner.
Like the 2018 iPad Pro models, the 2020 iPad Pro features a USB-C port for charging purposes and connecting to USB-C accessories including 4K and 5K displays. The USB-C port on the iPad can also be used to charge accessories like the iPhone and Apple Watch.
Apple has added five studio-quality microphones to the iPad Pro for capturing "super clean audio." There are four speakers included for an immersive sound experience in any orientation.
With the A12Z processor, the 2020 iPad Pro models feature up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge. Other iPad Pro features include WiFi 6 support, gigabit-class LTE for cellular models, and storage options ranging from 128GB to 1TB.
The 2020 iPad Pro works with the second-generation Apple Pencil that attaches to the iPad magnetically and charges from a direct physical connection.
Apple has designed a new Magic Keyboard for the 2020 iPad Pro, which is essentially a new version of the Smart Keyboard that's equipped with a trackpad, backlit keys, and a scissor switch mechanism with 1mm of key travel.
The full-sized Magic Keyboard attaches magnetically to the iPad Pro and features cantilevered hinges for smooth viewing angle adjustments up to 130 degrees. It features USB-C passthrough charging and features a folio-like design that folds and protects the iPad when it's not in use.
The new Magic Keyboard is accompanied by trackpad and mouse support for iPad in iPadOS 13.4. Trackpad support on iPad is designed as a touch-first experience, with the cursor appearing as a circle but shifting to highlight user interface elements like text fields, apps on the Home screen and Dock, and other items that can be tapped.
Gesture support lets the trackpad be used to swap between apps, edit text, access the app switcher, activate the Dock and Control Center, and more. Trackpad support works in both first and third-party iOS apps.
While the trackpad experience was designed primarily for the Magic Keyboard, other mice and trackpads connect to the iPad Pro, such as the Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2. Mouse and trackpad support is available for all modern iPads, and the new Magic Keyboard even works with 2018 iPad Pro models. Scrolling and gesture support requires a Magic Trackpad 2 or a Magic Mouse 2 and does not work with first-generation models.
Pricing on the iPad Pro starts at $799 for the 11-inch 128GB WiFi only model or $949 for the 128GB cellular model. The 12.9-inch model is priced starting at $999 for the 128GB WiFi model and $1,149 for the 128GB cellular model. Additional storage is available at higher prices.
The new iPad Pro is available for order from the online Apple Store with new order shipping out within a week or two.
The Apple Pencil is available from Apple for $129, and the new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro became available to order on April 15, 2020. It is priced at $299 for the 11-inch model and $349 for the 12.9-inch model. Apple has also released an updated Smart Keyboard Folio that fits the new iPad Pro, which is priced at $179 for the 11-inch iPad Pro and $199 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.Note: See an error in this roundup or want to offer feedback? Send us an email here.