Apple unveils new larger iPad Pro

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Apple held their much-hyped media event today and announced a wide variety of new products for consumers. The event this time of year traditionally focuses on new iPhones, but it was the news of a new iPad Pro model this time around that is making headlines. Apple also announced a new iPad Mini 4, which is the first substantial upgrade to the smaller iPad in nearly 2 years.

The iPad Pro features a high resolution 12.9" screen.
The iPad Pro features a high resolution 12.9″ screen.

iPad Pro

The brand new iPad Pro features a large 12.9″ screen and is primarily targeted towards students, creative professionals and those that prefer an iPad for daily use instead of a laptop. The screen has a high-resolution 2,732 x 2,048 pixel display, and the larger allows the on-screen keyboard to be presented at a size comparable to what you’d find on a similar sized 13″ laptop.

The iPad Pro features both a front and rear facing camera, and 4 speakers located on both the top and bottom of the tablet (2 more than the iPad Air). It incorporates a brand new A9X processor that Apple claims to be better performing than 80% of the portable PCs sold in the last year. Battery life is advertised to be the same as existing iPads at 10 hours, but the weight comes in at only 1.57 lbs–just a hair more than the original iPad weighed when it was launched in 2010. It’s also remarkably thin for the large size, coming in at 6.9mm, compared to 6.1mm for the iPad Air 2.

Like the iPad Air 2, it will support the new iOS 9 split-screen feature that was previewed in June at the developer conference, making it a great display for running two apps side by side. Like the iPad Air 2 it includes a built-in barometer and anti-reflective screen coating, which we’ve found to be a real improvement over the traditional glossy iPad screen.

A stylus is available as an accessory to help with note-taking and drawing.
A stylus is available as an accessory to help with note-taking and drawing.

To add additional capability you can add Apple’s smart keyboard accessory (picture a Microsoft Surface cover) for a better typing experience. A stylus is also available as an option, called Pencil, that is sensitive to both tilt and pressure to enable realistic note-taking and drawing on the tablet.

The iPad Pro will be available in November and isn’t cheap, with the 32GB WiFi-only model selling for $799 and $949 for 128GB. A 128GB Wi-Fi+Cellular model is available for $1,079, which also includes an internal GPS. The smart keyboard cover will retail for $169 and the Pencil stylus goes for $99.

The iPad Pro will be a tight fit in most cockpits, though some may want to make use of the the larger size to run 2 apps simultaneously with the iOS 9 split-screen multitasking feature. We can also see some value in using the iPad Pro as large panel-mount display for experimental airplanes, since it would be able to dedicate plenty of real estate to both flight instruments and a GPS moving map.

iPad Mini 4

Apple today also announced the first substantial update in 2 years to the iPad Mini, which pilots will love. The iPad Mini 4 brings the feature set and performance in line with the iPad Air 2, but with the smaller footprint that many have found to be a better fit in the cockpit. The new model adds the higher-performance A8 processor, 1 gigabyte of RAM, built-in barometer and antireflective screen coating–all of which will significantly improve its utility in flight. The iPad Mini 4 should support the new multitasking features, and starts at $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model. It’s available for order now and will ship out next week.

What do you think of the new iPad Pro? Let us know your initial reaction in the poll below.

7 COMMENTS

    • Yes1 There are places where you can get cash for an older iPad. Just look on the internet with your favorite browser.

  1. I’ve had all of the original sized iPads, then the iPad mini came out, and life was good. Now I would feel kinda silly carrying around the big original size. As for the pro, can’t see it being useful in a GA cockpit. I use the mini and Garmin Pilot. And can’t wait for the mini 4.

  2. I love the idea of the iPad pro which I thought would be here sometime. Let’s take a look and see the proformance I’m sure at the end of day we all will love it , not yet sure the GA cockpit but let’s see.

  3. If the iPad Air was already on the top-end of feasibility for yoke-mounting, I can’t see how the iPad Pro would fit in most cockpits. I suspect airliner cockpits would be an easier fit for the Pros (no pun intended) but it’s only going to be a few years until we see the same tech into smaller form factors. The big question is whether Apple decides to continue with the Minis after this year, especially after they almost forgot to mention the Mini 4 during their recent announcement. I suspect they see the plus-sized iPhones filling the 5-7″-ish gap. Time will tell, but probably a safe bet to continue with the 9.7″ form factor especially since mounts, cases, accessories, etc will still be able to be ultiized for some time.

  4. Size is only one consideration. Price is the other, and when you combine these two factors, the Pro offers no value to pilots. Full size and mini are much better options.

    Apple really dropped the ball with this model. I bet they sell minimal numbers of units.

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