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Apple Special Event: iPad Pro Announced – It’s Business Time

Apple hosted its long awaited ‘Special Event’ yesterday and delivered the goods in abundance. The product announcements were of course headlined by new iPhones – a September tradition, and these came in the form of the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6S Plus. Also plucked from the tree for this autumn’s Apple line-up was a new iPad aimed at the business user and called the iPad Pro.

Dubbed by CEO Tim Cook as “The biggest news in iPad since the iPad” – the iPad Pro will come out of the box this November featuring a sizeable 12.9-inch retina display touchscreen packing in a stunning 2732 x 2048 pixels and its first surprise – an optional Smart Keyboard.

Yes, Apple looks to be taking on portable multitasking business machines such as the Microsoft Surface by offering a larger working area and a physical input method for getting the job done. The iPad Pro can be set up on a desk and the keyboard is attached to the tablet with a flip design that doubles as a stand. If you need to be on the move the keyboard is easily unhooked and the slate can be used as just that, using our grubby fingers as your tools.

But wait..

Surprise number 2 allows iPad Pro users to fully benefit from that generous working area – it’s a stylus, or “Apple Pencil” as it was introduced by SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller (also sold separately – the Pencil, not Phil Schiller). This raised a few laughs from the crowd at the San Francisco auditorium, mainly for the somewhat lazy name but perhaps also from those who remembered late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ dismissive comments regarding styluses from a few years prior. Despite those early remarks the Apple Pencil is now here and is a thing, and promises to be “highly responsive” with “virtually no lag” and does offer a more natural writing and drawing method.

In regards to specs, the iPad Pro comes along running iOS 9, not a version of Mac OS as one might expect from a product tooled for business. Apple’s 64-bit A9x chipset drives the new super-tablet making processing 1.8 times faster than the iPad Air 2’s A8x and “faster then 90% of portable PCs”. These considerable gains also mean the tablet picks up a little bit of girth with a thickness of 6.9mm – an increase of .8 of a millimetre over the predecessor.

Battery life should last and average of 10 hours between full charges and the iPad Pro will also feature 4K video editing with an 8-megapixel rear facing camera and HD front facing camera for use with FaceTime. No selfies on this one, please. It’s for professionals and grown-ups only. (Full specs list at Apple.com).

The iPad Pro will go on sale in November with the peripherals arriving at the same time. A breakdown of price shows the iPad itself starting at $799 for 32GB model or 129GB model also available for $949 (in choice of Silver, Gold or Space Grey), the Keyboard costing $169 and the Apple Pencil coming in at $99. Put it all together and you’re looking at up to £800 for the full fat iPad Pro experience when it hits the UK.

Will you be buying an iPad Pro with all the extras – or sticking with your Mac Books and Laptops?

Also See: New Apple TV – Gaming Focus and Redesigned Remote

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