Apple announces new iPad Pro with M4, iPad Air tablets

Apple announces new iPad Pro with M4, iPad Air tablets

Apple on Tuesday announced new versions of its iPad Air and iPad Pro tablets, in a short video posted on its website.  

“This is the biggest day for iPad since its introduction,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said.

The new iPad models are the first Apple has released since October 2022, which is the longest time that Apple has gone without updating the iPad product line since its launch in 2011.

Apple shares were flat during trading Tuesday.

Apple’s new iPad Pro comes in two sizes, and starts at $999. It also has a new add-on case called Smart Keyboard that makes it feel like a laptop.

The iPad Pro, Apple’s most expensive and advanced tablet, will come in two sizes, a 11-inch model and a 13-inch model, Apple said. The company called the product its thinnest ever, coming in at 5.1 millimeters thick.

The smaller iPad Pro starts at $999, and the larger 13-inch model starts at $1,299 with 256GB of storage, a slight price increase from its predecessor.

The iPad Pro will snap into a new case that Apple calls Magic Keyboard, which is made out of aluminum and pairs the tablet with a keyboard and trackpad. Apple said that using the case will make using an iPad Pro feel similar to a laptop experience, i.e., “just like a MacBook.”

Apple’s new Magic Keyboard accessory.

CNBC/Todd Haselton

The Magic Keyboard will cost $249 or $299, depending on size. Apple also announced an updated stylus called the Apple Pencil Pro for $129.

The fresh iPad models use a new Apple chip called the M4, an update from the M3 chips that currently power Apple’s laptops. Apple said that the M4 chip was an “outrageously powerful chip for AI,” noting, as an example, its ability to help power software that isolates subjects from their backgrounds in videos.

“This stunning design and breakthrough display required we make the leap to the next generation of Apple silicon,” John Ternus, an Apple hardware executive, said.

Apple’s new iPad Pro from the back.

CNBC/Todd Haselton

Apple said that its iPad Pro tablets will use a new kind of display called the OLED — the same technology Apple uses on its iPhones — and that the new tablets will be brighter and have more vibrant colors than older models. The company also said it developed a technology called “tandem OLED” to create the screens, which are branded as Ultra Retina XDR.

The company added that the iPad Pro could be a useful tool for professional video producers, and it announced a new app called Final Cut Camera that can control multiple iPhone cameras. The iPad Pro comes with a 12 megapixel rear camera that can record 4K video, according to Apple. The company also announced an update to the camera’s flash, which should make scanning documents easier.

The new tablets and accessories are up for preorder now and will go on sale next week.

Apple’s iPad Air starts at $599 and was updated with a faster M2 chip.

CNBC/Todd Haselton

Apple said that the iPad Air would come in two sizes: an 11-inch size that matches older models and a larger 13-inch model. Both are equipped with Apple’s M2 chip. The smaller iPad costs $599 for 128GB of storage, and the larger iPad starts at $799.

Apple has also moved the front-facing camera to the longer side of the device — landscape mode — to be better for videoconferencing, matching Apple’s more-expensive iPad Pro models.

The iPad Air will be available in stores next week and comes in a variety of colors, including blue, purple and gold.

Apple also dropped the price of its entry-level iPad to $349, down from its previous $429 price.

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