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Bigger, faster, thinner, lighter iPad Pro and iPad Air models coming to tackle AI

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Apple just made its first artificial intelligence product move with the M4 Apple silicon chip in a new iPad Pro model that is bigger, faster, thinner and lighter than its predecessor.    

The late Steve Jobs once predicted iPad would replace laptops, and that day may have finally arrived.

Three additional versions of iPad were announced with upgrades to the line. It’s Apple’s biggest updates for iPad since its introduction in 2010. The iPad Pro is now leading the pack with the brand-new M4 chip. The iPad Air is not far behind, sporting a solid upgrade to the M2 chip. 

I’m getting my hands on them to test the speed, performance, design and battery life. Here are 10 things we learned from today’s event.

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iPad 1

iPad Pro  (Apple)

1. iPad Pro Ultra Retina XDR display is really bright

The centerpiece of the new iPad Pro is its Ultra Retina XDR display. This breakthrough technology combines state-of-the-art tandem OLED panels to deliver phenomenal full-screen brightness. With support for 1000 nits of brightness for SDR and HDR content (and a peak of 1600 nits for HDR), no other device matches its extreme dynamic range.

WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)?

Tandem OLED control ensures precise color and luminance for specular highlights, shadows, and low-light scenes. For professionals, a nano-texture glass option reduces glare while maintaining image quality.

iPad 2

iPad Pro  (Apple)

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2. AI-ready M4 chip makes iPad Pro AI-ready M4 chip the most powerful

At the heart of the new iPad Pro lies the M4 chip, Apple’s next-generation silicon. Built on second-generation 3-nanometer technology, the M4 is power-efficient and perfect for the tablet’s design.

Its entirely new display engine enables precision, color accuracy, and brightness for the Ultra Retina XDR display. The CPU boasts up to four performance cores and six efficiency cores, delivering 1.5x faster performance than the previous M2 chip.

Thanks to the M4 chip, which has the most powerful Neural Engine ever, it is capable of an astonishing 38 trillion operations per second. This Neural Engine is 60x faster than the one in the A11 Bionic chip. This raw power, combined with next-generation ML accelerators, a high-performance GPU, and more memory bandwidth, makes the iPad Pro a powerhouse for AI tasks.

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iPad 3

iPad Pro  (Apple)

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3. iPad Pro is the thinnest and lightest ever

The new iPad Pro is not only powerful but also incredibly thin and light. The 11-inch model is just 5.3 mm thin, while the 13-inch model is even thinner at 5.1 mm. Both models are as strong as their predecessors, allowing pro users to work anywhere. Available in silver and space black finishes, the iPad Pro features 100% recycled aluminum enclosures.

iPad 4

iPad Pro  (Apple)

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4. iPad Pro camera and audio make it very versatile

The updated camera system adds versatility to the iPad Pro. The 12MP back camera with Smart HDR captures stunning images and videos, while the new adaptive True Tone flash improves document scanning.

iPad 5

iPad Pro  (Apple)

The front-facing True Depth camera system, now in landscape orientation, enhances video conferencing with the Ultra Wide 12MP camera and Center Stage.

iPad 6

iPad Pro  (Apple)

5. iPad Pro allows for easy connection

The iPad Pro boasts a high-performance USB-C connector that supports Thunderbolt 3 and USB 4 and offers up to 40Gb/s wired connectivity. It also supports Wi-Fi 6E for super-fast connections and 5G for on-the-go workflows. The eSIM technology allows easy connection to wireless data plans in over 190 countries.

iPad 7

iPad Pro  (Apple)

6. iPad Pro gets a souped-up Apple Pencil Pro and thinner, lighter Magic Keyboard

Apple has also revamped accessories for the iPad Pro. The Apple Pencil Pro introduces new interactions, such as a squeeze sensor that brings up a tool palette, a custom haptic engine, and a gyroscope for precise control. With Apple Pencil hover, you can preview the orientation of a tool before making a mark. The Apple Pencil Pro also supports Find My, ensuring you never lose track of your creative companion.

The new iPad Pro also pairs seamlessly with the all-new Magic Keyboard, which is now thinner and lighter than ever. It opens up to a floating design, and it includes a function row for quick access to screen brightness, volume, and more. The experience is akin to using a MacBook, with a beautiful aluminum palm rest, a larger trackpad with haptic feedback, and a magnetic attachment that connects power and data instantly.

iPad 8

Apple Pencil Pro  (Apple)

7. Apple’s now using 100% recycled materials in new iPad Pro

Apple’s commitment to the environment shines through with the new iPad Pro’s use of 100% recycled materials. The device is energy-efficient and free of harmful substances, with fiber-based packaging. Apple aims to be carbon neutral across its entire manufacturing supply chain by 2030.

iPad 9

iPad Pro  (Apple)

8. iPad Pro pricing starts at $999

The new iPad Pro with M4 is available for order starting at $999 for the Wi-Fi model, with various configurations and education pricing options at apple.com/store and in the Apple Store app, with availability in stores beginning Wednesday, May 15. The Apple Pencil Pro and Magic Keyboard are also available, further enhancing the iPad Pro experience.

iPad 10

iPad Pro  (Apple)

9. New iPad Air gives you double the choice

Apple’s iPad Air has long been a fan favorite, striking a balance between the high-end iPad Pro features and a more accessible price point. This year, Apple takes it a step further by introducing a brand new 13-inch model to the iPad Air lineup, alongside the familiar 11-inch version. The addition of the larger display is a boon for creatives seeking more digital canvas space.

In a move that mirrors the utility of a laptop, Apple has repositioned the front-facing camera to the landscape edge. This enhancement aligns the iPad Air even closer to a laptop experience, especially when paired with the M2 chip. This chip, which powers the 2022 MacBook Air, is now at the heart of the iPad Air, promising significant performance improvements for those upgrading from older models.

Apple has also addressed storage constraints by eliminating the 64GB option. The iPad Air now starts at 128GB, offering ample space for a richer array of apps, photos and music. With these updates, the iPad Air 2024 stands ready to hit the shelves next week, poised to continue its legacy as a versatile and beloved tablet.

You can order the new iPad Air with M2 starting at $599 on apple.com/store, and in the Apple Store app.

iPad 11

iPad Air  (Apple)

10. Deal Alert: Apple slashes prices on outgoing iPad models

With the announcement of the new iPad Pro and iPad Air models, you are presented with a golden opportunity. For those who’ve been eyeing an iPad but hesitated due to price, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Retailers have reduced prices on the current stock of the previous generation iPads to clear out inventory. This means you can get your hands on the still-powerful and capable models like the earlier iPad Pro or iPad Air at a fraction of their original cost. For instance, the iPad 10th generation is priced from $349 here.

While the allure of the newest technology is undeniable, the outgoing models remain highly efficient, boasting impressive displays, battery life and processing power that can handle most tasks with ease.

So, before you rush to pre-order the latest model, take a moment to consider the outgoing iPads. They might just offer everything you need, with the added bonus of keeping your wallet a bit fuller.

Kurt’s key takeaways

Apple’s “Let Loose” event got closer to proving what the late Steve Jobs said would replace the laptop one day. It marks a sizable evolution for the iPad with their latest models packed with advanced features like the Ultra Retina XDR display and new chips that will be available from May 15. When I put together an order for the iPad Pro 13 space black with 1TB, adding in upgraded nano-textured glass, WiFi with cellular, a new Magic Keyboard and new Apple Pencil Pro (my recommended configuration), it’ll set you back $2,677 without any educational discounts. Suddenly, the outgoing iPad deals look very attractive. Given the updates to the iPad Pro and iPad Air, would you consider upgrading your current device, and what factors influence your decision? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact

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