Just over a month after Apple announced and subsequently launched its latest iPad, as rumours suggested, WWDC 2017 served as the stage for the introduction of a new member to the tablet line’s Pro family and for the first time, it was a slate with a 10.5-inch display.
It’s fair to say that Apple’s latest developer conference was one of the most jam-packed that the company has ever put together, with new software coming to watchOS, iOS and macOS-powered devices, as well as notable hardware updates to Apple’s existing iMac and MacBook families along with new hardware for the home with Apple HomePod and, of course, a new iPad Pro.
This latest Pro is the first iPad ever to strike a new sweet spot of 10.5-inches, designed to allow for a more comfortable typing experience with a full-size on-screen keyboard or Smart Keyboard.
iPad 10.5-inch all you need to know: A brighter, smarter screen
The existing iPad Pros already possess what Apple considers a more true-to-life viewing experience, thanks to the super crisp TrueTone Retina displays they feature, but the new Pro takes things a step further by implementing what Apple’s dubbed ProMotion.
ProMotion is an encompassing term for a host of display technologies, principally amongst them being a higher refresh rate. The new iPad will be able to output visuals at up to 120Hz, double that of the existing Pro slates, making for even slicker visuals and more responsive input whether swiping around the interface or creating a masterpiece with the Apple Pencil (it will supposedly offer a latency of just 20ms, an industry first).
Speed isn’t everything though and so when you don’t need that super slick motion the new 10.5-inch Pro will also dial things back locking into 24Hz when navigating a simple web page or 48Hz when watching compatible video content, saving power in the process.
It’s also worth noting that Apple’s been able to push the screen-to-body ratio even further in the right direction, so comparatively speaking you get slimmer bezels for a cleaner viewing experience, a brighter overall image with a maximum output of 600 nits and more accurate colours as it’s capable of displaying the DCI P3 colour gamut (both benefits together also renders the new iPad display HDR-capable).
iPad 10.5-inch all you need to know: A new, killer chipset
The A10X Fusion is the first hexa-core chip we’ve seen from the company, with three low-power and three high-performance cores designed to work side by side giving you 30 percent better CPU performance and 40 percent faster GPU performance versus the A9X.
It can also leverage Apple’s updated graphical architecture, Metal 2 and in the Affinity Photo demo during the keynote, Serif’s Ash Hewson stated that it was apparently able to outclass a quad-core Intel i7-powered machine tasked with the same job four times over.
iPad 10.5-inch all you need to know: iOS 11 – it’s all about the iPad
Whilst the iPad Pro 10.5-inch is set to launch next week running iOS 10, it’ll get a free upgrade to iOS 11 once the update arrives around September this year and based on what we saw at WWDC 2017, it’ll be worth the wait.
iOS 11 revamps the way you manage apps and multitask on the iPad with a macOS style dock that accessible throughout the interface.
You’ll be able to drag and drop apps into multitasking views, swap which side of the screen they appear and drag and drop multiple items be it text or media between apps with simple long-press and tap gestures.
Swiping up from the bottom to the top reveals a new multitasking view that includes preserved states for open apps and quick access to Control Centre whilst the introduction of a Files app finally adds some usable interpretation of file management, arguably one of the biggest shortcoming of iOS as a platform thus far and one of the key restrictions facing those considering an iPad as a replacement for a conventional laptop.
The Files app even plugs into cloud services including iCloud, Box, Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive so that remote files are also readily accessible and able to be managed.
There are smaller smart tweaks to the experience too, like flick typing to easily access numbers and symbols when from the native Apple keyboard as well as machine learning to make hand-written content from notes searchable within Spotlight.
iPad 10.5-inch all you need to know: Specs at a glance
|Weight||469 grams (WiFi)/477 grams (LTE)|
|OS||iOS 10. Upgradeable to iOS 11|
|Processor||Hexa-core Apple A10X Fusion|
|Battery||30.4Wh = Approx. 10 hours|
|Extras||Apple Pencil support, Smart connector, quad speakers, ProMotion, Touch ID|
We’ll have more on the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro soon when it comes in for review but in the meantime, you’ll be able pre-order one from today with three storage options: 64GB, 256GB and 512GB, starting at £619.