Apple was expected to host an event in March to refresh its iPad Pro models, which are now more than a year old, but it was reportedly canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of hosting a physical launch, Apple yesterday announced the iPad Pro 2020 models through its online channels. The new lineup includes two devices with the same screen sizes and overall design, but carry significant upgrades to their OS and accessory ecosystem, which has seemingly undergone an overhaul.
The two iPad Pros — officially called the iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation) and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation) — themselves haven’t seen a dramatic visual change, barring the new camera system. Here is everything that you need to know about the two iPad Pro models, including their specs, prices, availability details, and some alternatives.
- 11/12.9-inch Retina screen
- 8-core Apple A12Z Bionic processor
- iPadOS with mouse/trackpad support
- Two rear cameras + LiDAR scanner
- 128GB base storage
- Optional Apple Pencil (2nd gen)
- Optional Magic Keyboard with a trackpad
Apple iPad Pro 11 & 12.9-inch (2020): The Basics
Over at the front, you won’t find anything changed from the previous generation as Apple has retained the overall design with thin bezels that was introduced in 2018. Both iPad Pros have also maintained their 11 and 12.9-inch screen sizes with the same resolution and other attributes, including 120Hz ProMotion. The footprint of the two iPad Pros hasn’t changed either, though they are now a couple of grams heavier, possibly with the upgraded internals. They also come with a stereo setup of four speakers, exactly like the previous gen. However, Apple may have made some quality upgrades, which we’ll know once we test them.
The biggest visual change is on the iPad Pro’s back, where you’ll find a new camera array comprising two cameras and an additional sensor. Talking about the cameras first, the devices now come with an additional 10MP ultra-wide shooter that sits alongside the main 12MP unit. As for the sensor, Apple is calling it the LiDAR scanner, and it helps measure depth in your environment (up to 5 meters) for improving the iPad’s AR capabilities. Apart from the Apple Pencil stylus, the iPad now also natively supports input from mouse and trackpads using the newer iPadOS version.
Apple has done away with the meager base storage of 64GB and the two Pros ship with a minimum of 128GB of storage and goes all the way up to 1TB. Both iPads come equipped with a new A12Z Bionic processor, which builds upon the previous-gen A12X Bionic to offer improved performance with its eight cores. As it has always been the case, Apple hasn’t shared the RAM capacity of these devices, and it would be known only when someone does a teardown. Apart from these, the new iPad Pros now also come with Wi-Fi 6 and support gigabit-class LTE speeds on supported models.
Magic Keyboard And Its Trackpad
Addressing the issues nearly all previous Smart Keyboards for iPad have been criticized for, Apple has redesigned the Magic Keyboard from the ground up. The most noticeable change here is the inclusion of a trackpad, which has been a long-standing demand by iPad users. It supports a bunch of Mac-like gestures but altered to gel with iPad’s touch gestures. The backlit keys themselves have been changed to incorporate the scissor mechanism, much like the MacBook Pro 16. The Magic Keyboard will be compatible with the 2018 Pros as well.
What’s interesting here is how the keyboard case holds the iPad Pro; the tablet basically floats when it’s magnetically attached to the other half of the cover. The case now has a real hinge that holds the tablet in any place using the cantilever mechanism. What this means is that you can finally change the viewing angle as per your need, and you aren’t stuck with just one or two preset angles. Another major thing about the case is its USB-C port on the hinge that supports pass-through charging.
|Tablet||Apple iPad Pro 11 & 12.9-inch (2020)|
|Operating system||iPadOS 13|
|Display||11-inch (2388 x 1668)/12.9-inch (2732 x 2048) Liquid Retina, 120Hz, 600 nits|
|Processor||Octa-core Apple A12Z Bionic|
|Main camera||12MP f/1.8 wide + 10MP f/2.4 ultra-wide|
|Front camera||7MP f/2.2 TrueDepth Face ID|
|Connectivity||Optional gigabit-class 4G LTE, Wi-Fi ax, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Battery||28.65/36.71Wh, up to 10 hours|
|Dimensions||247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm (11-inch), 280.6 x 214.9 x 5.9mm (12.9-inch)|
|Weight||471/641 grams or 1.04/1.41 pounds|
Pricing & Availability
In the US, the iPad Pro 11 (2020) starts at $799 for the base Wi-Fi-only model with 128GB storage, while you’ll be required to pay another $150 if you want the LTE model. Adding $100 more will upgrade the storage capacity to 256GB, while the 512GB and 1TB options cost even more.
Similarly, the iPad Pro 12.9 (2020) starts at $999 for its Wi-Fi-only base variant with 128GB storage. Paying $100 extra doubles the storage, and you can add LTE capabilities by paying $150 more on any storage option. The fully specced out version of the iPad Pro 12.9 costs $1,649, without factoring in the cost of the Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard.
Mush like anything Apple, the Magic Keyboard is an expensive accessory and costs $299 for the size meant for the iPad Pro 11. The one for the bigger 12.9-inch models costs $349. You can preorder the iPads right away from Apple’s website, and they’ll start shipping from March 25, while the Magic Keyboard won’t go on sale until May.
Apple iPad Pro 11 & 12.9-inch (2020) Alternatives
In the premium territory, there aren’t many tablets that can replace the Apple iPad Pro models. But if you want to save a few bucks, then you can consider getting the 2018 iPad Pro models (review), which should get a little cheaper now that their follow-ups are out. They continue to be excellent devices with top-notch performance, while the icing on the cake is that the mouse support will reach all iPads with iPadOS 13.4 update, and the new Magic Keyboard is also backward compatible. For those wanting a machine with a desktop OS can go for the new Surface Pro 7 (review) or Pro X (review) models, which are great machines rocking Windows 10.
Samsung recently came out with its flagship Galaxy Tab S6 (review), which costs a tad less than the new iPads and more or less matches all the features with Android and One UI. You’ll save further as it comes bundled with the S Pen stylus. Improved keyboard attachment and Apple Pencil-like stylus, which also charges wirelessly. In case you want to save some money, and to get the latest and greatest isn’t what you want, take a look at the iPad Air 2019 (review), which supports the older Apple Pencil model and has its own keyboard accessory. It is often sold at discounted rates during online sales.
- Super-fast A12Z SoC
- Very pretty screen
- Great cameras
- Modern design
- Face ID
- Good speakers
- Up-to-date iPadOS
- Fantastic accessories
- Very pricey
- Few changes compared to predecessor
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