Apple made a big splash at its September event with the announcement of its new king-sized tablet, the iPad Pro.
Scheduled for a November release, the "Pro" is Apple's largest tablet to date. It is 78% larger than the iPad Air 2 and has lots of features and options such as a slick stylus and a detachable keyboard cover.
The device features a 12.9 inch Retina display with a nice resolution of 2732 x 2048. It weights in at a reliably light 1.57 pounds with 10 hours of battery life.
The Pro runs on Apple's new iOS9 operating system. They say it will almost double the CPU performance of the iPad Air 2 with refined Multi-Touch technology.
The iPad Pro is designed for work more so than play. It has Apple's new and most powerful chip, the AX9. This is their third generation chip with a 64-bit desktop-class architecture. It is supposedly 1.9 times faster than its smaller counterparts.
Since the focus is on business use it is designed to make the iPad user more productive and creative. The extra power enables more multitasking by easily running two apps at once, with a multi-screen view. Siri and Spotlight Search are also said to be familiar and improved features.
What is certainly new is Apple's stylus the "Pencil". It is pressure sensitive and designed to provide more accuracy for graphics and photo work.
The Pencil is battery operated. It can be recharged with a Lightning adapter and plugged into the iPad Pro. The thickness of the stroke can be adjusted with a light or a heavy pressure for more accuracy. Two spots at the Pencil's tip will emit signals so designers can create shaded strokes. Apple says this will provide for more detailed drawing.
Users of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 will notice some semblance to the Pro's Smart Keyboard. It is made from woven fabric. When unfolded as a cover you get a physical keyboard which attaches magnetically to three small circles on the side of the iPad Pro. The circuits are called the Smart Connector. They can carry power and data. Reports are that the keyboard is comfortable and fits the tablet perfectly.
Additional business applications include Notes and Mail apps in iOS9, and Adobe and Microsoft Office suite applications. These include Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Support is also available for Apple Pencil.
Other features include an improved sound system with four speakers said to be three times louder than the iPad Air and an 8-megapixel iSight camera on the back. Colors include silver, gold and gray.
Pricing for the iPad Pro will, like most machines, depend on power and optional accessories. Expect prices to start at $ 799 for the 32 GB model. A 128GB model will run $ 949 and the 128GB LTE model will go for around $ 1,079. Add an Apple Pencil for another $ 99 and the Smart Keyboard for $ 169 and you have crossed the $ 1,000 threshold for the most basic model.
As Apple attempts to gain more share in the enterprise marketplace, some may balk at the iPad Pro's total price or perceived limited capabilities when compared to a fully loaded Microsoft Surface 3. Still fans of Apple and the iPad should like the Pro as a means to utilize a more productive device for business use without migrating to a Windows based computer.