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Apple's new iPad Pro 2020 keyboard and trackpad costs $349

Apple's new iPad Pro 2020 keyboard and trackpad costs $349

"Much more than a computer." In a market that it monopolizes, Apple has no lack of ambition for its new iPad Pro. The tablet will be released on March 25 but is already available for pre-order on the Apple Online Store (physical stores are currently closed) from $749 for the 11-inch model (128GB) and $999 for the 12.9-inch model.

On the other hand, it will cost up to $1,449 euros for the 11-inch model with both Wi-Fi and cellular with 1TB of storage and up to $1,649 euros for the same configuration in the 12.9-inch. But the big novelty of this iPad Pro is the keyboard so aptly named the 'Magic Keyboard', equipped with a trackpad and sold separately (obviously) for the handsome price of $299 euros for the 11-inch version and $349 euros for the 12.9-inch. If you go for the top specs here with all the trimmings, you are spending the best part of two grand on your new iPad Pro.

The Pro line of Apple products is primarily designed for creative professionals, according to Apple. And it's going to take a lot of creativity to balance the books after buying this machine for many.

Faster than most current PCs

Of course, Apple focuses on the performance and screen quality with this iPad Pro. When it comes to the display, there's a Liquid Retina (LCD) panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and very thin bezels. Nothing new under the sun compared to the previous generation. The brand also announced the ability of its screen to cover the entire DCI-P3 spectrum (the range of colors visible to the human eye), with a brightness of 600 nits and the "most accurate colors on the market", as well as ultra-low reflectance.

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The new iPad Pro and its $349 Magic Keyboard. / © Apple

The iPad Pro features a Bionic A12Z chip and little is known about its performance, but the press release states that the CPU is composed of 8 cores, as is its GPU, all with an improved thermal architecture and optimized performance controllers.

According to Apple, it is unsurprisingly the most powerful iPad ever created to date and the firm of Cupertino claims it is "faster than most PCs ". There is also a Neural Engine, the chip dedicated to AI calculations, for the next generation of pro apps .

Again, this is not really new. Apple's previous products equipped with the A11 chip already carry this famous Neural Engine (such as the iPhone 11 for example). Wi-Fi would obviously be faster on this Pro model and the cellular version will support 4G LTE Gigabit. The iPad Pro's battery should last up to ten hours.

Nice back, like an iPhone 11

In terms of design, the iPad Pro adopts the look of the iPhone 11 line with a photo module arranged in a square island and consisting of a dual wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle sensor with 12 and 10 megapixels each. So now you can enjoy a better field of view (FOV) for your photos and videos. The iPad Pro can now record in 4K, too.

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The iPad Pro embeds the same photo module as the iPhone 11 on the back. / © Apple

Another new feature of the iPad Pro is a new depth sensor called LiDAR Scanner. Here, Apple enhances the augmented reality experience with the iPad Pro. The sensor will be able to measure the distance to objects in the environment, both indoors and outdoors, at a distance of up to five meters.

"The LiDAR Scanner measures the distance to surrounding objects up to 5 meters away, works both indoors and outdoors, and operates at the photon level at nano-second speeds. New depth frameworks in iPadOS combine depth points measured by the LiDAR Scanner, data from both cameras and motion sensors, and is enhanced by computer vision algorithms on the A12Z Bionic for a more detailed understanding of a scene," the manufacturer explains.

Thus, Apple's ARKit will in the future use data from both cameras, motion sensors, and the LiDAR scanner to further enhance RA applications. In an effort to appeal to creative professionals, the new iPad Pro is equipped with five studio-quality microphones to capture quality sound during your conferencing or video calls.

More than a PC, but the keyboard costs as much as a laptop

As mentioned before, the big news with this generation of iPad Pro is its compatibility with the new "Magic Keyboard" keyboard/screen protector. The keyboard is adjustable to different viewing angles for ease of use, but also features a brand new trackpad to replace the mouse.

This complete keyboard is composed of rigid keys with a scissor mechanism. It is thus a keyboard with real keys, contrary to what Apple currently offers, with an announced travel distance of 1mm. As for the trackpad, it allows you to use a cursor on iPadOS to perform precision tasks. It's meant to be contextual and offers different click functionalities depending on what you're pointing at on your screen, so it's always adaptable to the needs of the professional and creative user.

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The Apple Magic Keyboard is sold separately and works on older iPad models. / © Apple

To be exact, the trackpad doesn't bring a classic macOS cursor to the iPad screen. Instead, Apple has been working on an intuitive software solution, especially for Touch First environments. For example, the cursor should appear as a circle that highlights applications on the start screen and in the dock, or sections of text as long as they are clickable. The trackpad also supports gesture control for navigating the App Switcher or for zooming in on images or scrolling in the Safari browser. It is not known if third-party application developers are already working to implement trackpad support built into iPadOS 13.4, but it is very likely that they are.

Of course, the iPad Pro will also work with a mouse. This would be great news if the brand ever decides to allow cloud gaming or cloud computing (Cuckoo Shadow) services on its iOS and iPadOS devices again. The iPad Pro will also support the 2nd generation Apple Pencil with wireless pairing and charging.

But at $299 for the keyboard for the 11-inch model and $349 for the large format, the price of this new iPad Pro is more than a deterrent.

The iPadOS 13.4 update will also be available on March 24 for the iPad Air 2 or higher, iPad 5th generation or higher, and iPad Mini 4 or higher. You can technically connect the Magic Keyboard to these older models if you wish.

iPad Pro 2020: pricing and availability

Apple iPad Pro 2020 11 inch:

  • iPad Pro 2020 11 inch 128GB Wi-Fi: $799
  • iPad Pro 2020 11 inch 128GB Wi-Fi & Cellular: $949
  • iPad Pro 2020 11 inch 256GB Wi-Fi: $899
  • iPad Pro 2020 11 inch 256GB Wi-Fi & Cellular: $1,049
  • iPad Pro 2020 11 inch 512GB Wi-Fi: $1,099
  • iPad Pro 2020 11 inch 512GB Wi-Fi & Cellular: $1,249
  • iPad Pro 2020 11 inch 1TB Wi-Fi: $1,299
  • iPad Pro 2020 11 inch 1TB Wi-Fi & Cellular: $1,449

Apple iPad Pro 2020 12.9-inch:

  • iPad Pro 2020 12.9 inch 128 GB Wi-Fi: $999
  • iPad Pro 2020 12.9 inch 128 GB Wi-Fi & Cellular: $1,149
  • iPad Pro 2020 12.9 inch 256 GB Wi-Fi: $1,099
  • iPad Pro 2020 12.9 inch 256 GB Wi-Fi & Cellular: $1,249
  • iPad Pro 2020 12.9 inch 512 GB Wi-Fi: $1,299
  • iPad Pro 2020 12.9 inch 512 GB Wi-Fi & Cellular: $1,449
  • iPad Pro 2020 12.9 inch 1TB Wi-Fi: $1,499
  • iPad Pro 2020 12.9 inch 1TB Wi-Fi & Cellular: $1,649

The first deliveries will start shipping on March 24, 2020.

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