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Apple Updates iPad Pro With New Camera, Sensors, Adds Trackpad To Magic Keyboard

Apple has unveiled the new iPad Pro, with a faster processor, improved display and addition cameras, sensors and a LiDAR scanner for AR applications. The company also updated the optional Magic Keyboard with a trackpad and new design to make the tablet even more useful as a laptop replacement.

The iPad Pro is available in now in silver or space grey, starting at USD 799 for 11-inch model with Wi-Fi or USD 949 with LTE. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at USD 999 for the Wi-Fi model and USD 1,149 for the cellular version. These prices are for 128 GB storage; Apple also offers 256 or 512 GB and a 1 TB model.

Targeting Apple’s core market of creative professionals, the new tablet comes with increased performance for demanding tasks such as editing 4K video or designing 3D models. The new A12Z Bionic chip provides an eight-core GPU, neural engine, enhanced thermal architecture and tuned performance controllers to make this the top-performing iPad ever, Apple said.

The edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display features P3 wide colour support for more vivid, real-life images, and ProMotion technology to adjust automatically the display refresh rate up to 120 Hz.

On the back, the tablet comes with a 12MP wide camera with 4K video support as well as a new 10MP Ultra Wide camera that zooms out two times to capture a much wider field of view. In addition, the iPad Pro now features five studio-quality microphones and four-speaker audio that automatically adjusts to any orientation, no matter how the device is held. Apple said the combination of cameras, audio and large display make the iPad Pro “a versatile mobile studio for creative pros including filmmakers, video professionals, podcasters and other content creators”.

LiDAR scanner for AR apps

The addition of a LiDAR scanner allows iPad users to measure the distance to surrounding objects up to 5 meters away, opening up new augmented reality applications. New depth frameworks in the iPadOS combine depth points measured by the LiDAR scanner and data from both cameras and motion sensors and enhance this with computer vision algorithms on the A12Z Bionic chip for a more detailed understanding of a scene. Existing ARKit apps will benefit from instant AR placement, improved motion capture and people occlusion, and the latest update to ARKit with a new Scene Geometry API will help developers exploit the possibilities of LiDAR further.

Trackpad support on redesigned keyboard

The latest update to the iPadOS, version 13.4, adds support for a trackpad on the new Magic Keyboard. Apple said the trackpad is unlike a laptop and has been re-imagined for the tablet. The cursor appears as a circle that highlights user interface elements, text fields and apps on the Home screen and Dock, indicating what users can click on. Fluid gestures on the trackpad support switching between apps, accessing the app switcher and activating the Dock, Control Center and apps in Slide Over.

The new Magic Keyboard with trackpad attaches magnetically to the iPad Pro and gives the display a floating appearance over cantilevered hinges for adjusting the viewing angle. The full-size keyboard comes with backlit keys and a scissor mechanism that delivers 1mm travel and can charge using USB-C pass-through, keeping the USB-C port on the iPad Pro free for other accessories.

The new keyboard will be available in May for USD 299 for the 11-inch model and USD 349 for the 12.9-inch.


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