Apple recently hosted their annual developer’s conference, which began with a high-profile keynote announcing new Apple products and a preview of the next big iOS release. This year’s presentation didn’t disappoint, showcasing the new features coming to iOS 11 in the fall and a wide variety of new hardware, including an all-new iPad model, a new focus on augmented reality, updated MacBook computers and a new voice-activated speaker for the home.
The highlight of the keynote today from a pilot’s perspective is the release of an all-new iPad Pro model that features a slightly larger 10.5″ diagonal screen while maintaining nearly the same footprint as the existing iPad models that incorporate a 9.7″ screen. Apple accomplished this by reducing the forward-facing bezel to a thinner size, providing more real estate for the display. This larger screen allows it to display an improved full-size onscreen keyboard.
On the inside, the new iPad features a more powerful A10X processor with a 12-core graphics processor, which Apple claims to be up to 40% more powerful than previous models. This allows it to support HDR video, with a screen refresh rate of 120hz (current models support up to 60hz). It will also dynamically change the refresh rate, reducing it to as low as 24hz when refresh isn’t a priority to improve battery life.
The display has been improved to be 50% brighter than previous models at the max setting, which should be a nice improvement when flying in bright conditions. It also includes an upgraded camera that can take 12MP pictures and record 4K video.
The new 10.5″ model comes with larger storage options, including 64GB, 256GB and 512GB, which is double that of the previous iPad Pro. The base model starts at $649 for the WiFi only option and goes up to $1,079 for the 512GB model with cellular data. Like all previous iPads, you’ll need to buy the model with cellular data to get the internal GPS.
The larger 12.9″ iPad was also updated to include the new A10X processor but retains the same screen size and footprint as the current 12.9″ model. It starts at $799 for the WiFi model with 64GB of storage and is available with up to 512GB of storage as well.
Apple will continue to offer the regular 9.7″ model, which is now referred to as “iPad”. This was released back in March – you can read more on that model here.
The new iPad models are available for order now from Apple and start shipping June 13. We’ll report back next week after we get a chance fly with it to see how it fits in existing kneeboards and cockpit mounting systems.
Here comes iOS 11
The newest version of iOS that Apple previewed today does not radically change the look and feel of the interface, but as in years past it adds hundreds of features and new ways to more efficiently work between multiple applications. It’s clear that Apple’s goal is to establish the iPad Pro as a true laptop replacement, and the new features incorporated in iOS 11 make that much more of a reality. The real focus of this software update is on the iPad, so we’ll first take a look at new additions available exclusively for tablets:
- Files App – The new Files app brings all your files together. You can easily browse, search, and organize all your files in one place. And there’s a dedicated place for your recent files. Not just the ones on your iPad, but also those in apps, on your other iOS devices, in iCloud Drive, and across other services like Box and Dropbox.
- New application dock – The new Dock will look very familiar to Mac users. It’s accessed at any time by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and allows you to open and switch apps instantly. And you can customize it with more of your favorite apps. The Dock also changes as you work. Intelligently suggested apps — like ones you opened recently and the last one you were using on your iPhone or Mac — appear in the right side of the Dock.
- Improved multitasking – iOS 11 makes it easier and more intuitive than ever to multitask. You can open a second app right from the Dock, and both apps remain active in Slide Over as well as Split View. You can drag the second app in Slide Over to the left. And you can get back to your favorite App Spaces in the redesigned App Switcher.
- Drag and Drop – Drag and Drop comes to iPad, allowing you to move text, photos, and files from one app to another. And because it’s been designed for the large Multi-Touch display of iPad, moving them around is easy. You can touch and move just about anything — or things — anywhere on the screen.
- Quicktype keyboard – Letters, numbers, symbols, and punctuation marks are now all on the same keyboard — no more switching back and forth. Just flick down on a key to quickly select what you need.
- Augmented Reality – iOS 11 introduces ARKit, a new framework that brings augmented reality to hundreds of millions of iOS devices by allowing developers to easily build unique AR experiences. By blending digital objects and information with the environment around you, augmented reality takes apps beyond the screen, freeing them to interact with the real world in entirely new ways. This could be a hot new feature for aviation apps in the future.
There are also many new features available for both iPhone and iPad:
- The Control Center has been redesigned to fit on the controls on one screen.
- iPhone can now sense when you’re driving and prevent you from being distracted by calls, text messages, and notifications until later. People trying to reach you can automatically be notified that you’re driving.
- Maps have been updated to provide indoor directions inside shopping malls and airport terminals.
- Apple Pay allows you to send money directly to other people using the messages app.
- New Live Photos effects.
- Improvements to the Photos app, providing more control when taking pictures and better compression technology that takes up less space.
- The App Store has been redesigned from the ground up to help you discover new apps and games. You’ll see daily stories by experts, a dedicated Games tab, lists for all kinds of apps, and much more.
- New Siri voice, with advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence.
- Social features added to the Music app, to help you discover new music from your friends.
- AirPlay 2 allows you to control your home audio system and the speakers throughout your house. You can play a song in the living room and your kitchen at the same time and adjust the volume separately to different sources.
As with most major updates, Apple dropped compatibility with iOS 11 for older devices, including the iPad 4, iPhone 5 and 5C. iOS 11 will run on:
- The iPhone 5S, 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, and 7 Plus
- The iPad Air and Air 2; the iPad Mini 2, 3, and 4; the fifth-generation iPad; and all iPad Pros
- The sixth-generation iPod Touch
iOS 11 will be available for download this fall, most likely coinciding with the release of the rumored iPhone 8.