Apple has just announced the new sixth-generation iPad Pro. The company’s latest flagship tablet is powered by the M2 chip that first debuted in the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro earlier this year. It’ll be available in the same two screen sizes as before: you can choose between 12.9-inch and 11-inch sizes. Preorders open today and it’ll be in stores on October 26th starting at $799 for the 11-inch and $1,099 for the 12.9-inch model.
As with the 2021 refresh, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro features Mini LED display technology for improved black levels, better contrast, and more impactful HDR performance, while the smaller model sticks with a more basic screen. Both support Apple’s ProMotion feature for refresh rates up to 120Hz.
The latest iPad Pro gains a new “hover” feature that detects the Apple Pencil when positioned slightly above the screen. Owners of Samsung’s stylus-compatible phones and tablets are already well familiar with this concept. Apple says hover lets users “see a preview of their mark before they make it.”
This also allows users to sketch and illustrate with even greater precision, and makes everything users do with Apple Pencil even more effortless. For example, with Scribble, text fields automatically expand when the pencil gets near the screen, and handwriting converts to text even faster. Third-party apps can also take advantage of this new feature to enable entirely new marking and drawing experiences.
Wireless networking has also been upgraded, as the iPad Pro now supports Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, and “more 5G networks around the world.” Color options remain the same — just silver and space gray — and storage still tops out at 2TB. As before, the 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB configurations come with 8GB of RAM, while the 1TB and 2TB iPad Pros bump that up to 16GB.
Apple is sticking with the same accessories lineup, and bizarrely, the iPad Pro’s Magic Keyboard isn’t gaining the function key row that’s present on the new entry-level iPad’s keyboard. And whereas the base iPad’s camera is now positioned for landscape orientation, a spot far more convenient for video calling, the iPad Pro still has it at the top when held in portrait.
The new iPad Pro maintains the same overall design that Apple has used since 2018, when the company first removed the home button in order to maximize display area. We still refuse to call this an “all-screen design” like Apple does since there are still noticeable bezels on all sides, but it’s a look that has aged well over four years.
Apple has said that iPadOS 16, the latest major software update for the platform, will be released sometime this month. And now there’s a date: it’s coming October 24th. Part of the reason that iPadOS has trailed the launch of iOS 16 comes down to Apple’s struggles with a new feature called Stage Manager. Described as “a new way to multitask and get things done with ease,” Stage Manager has been poorly received by some iPad power users during the beta testing period and criticized for buggy performance.
Apple has responded to some of the Stage Manager feedback by delaying external monitor support and expanding the feature to support more iPads models.