The new iPad Air and iPad Pro: everything you need to know

  • Apple has revealed its brand new iPad lineup at a livestreamed event on Tuesday.
  • This includes refreshed and brand new versions of the iPad Air, iPad Pro and the new Apple Pencil Pro.
  • The devices go on sale worldwide on 15th May, but we have no official word about when they will make their way to South Africa.

At the first Apple Event of the year on Tuesday, Tim Cook and Apple revealed the latest iPad device lineup from the tech giant, the iPad Air and the iPad Pro, complete with a new stylus in the refreshed Apple Pencil and an upgraded piece of silicon in the M4 chip.

The company pulled the covers on the new iPad Air and iPad Pro devices at the live streamed event. A lot was covered by Apple, including two different turns at the iPad Air and the super-charged and super-expensive M4 iPad Pro.

Let’s start with the Air and work our way up.

Whet your appetite with the new iPad Air

Apple has redesigned the 11″ iPad Air, and introduced a new 13″ iPad Air, both now featuring the M2 chip.

“Featuring a faster CPU, GPU, and Neural Engine in M2, the new iPad Air offers even more performance and is an incredibly powerful device for artificial intelligence,” the company writes about the newly revealed 13″ version.

The main difference is the size of the device, and the display, as both the 11″ and 13″ feature the same silicon, as well as the same front-facing Ultra Wide 12MP camera. Centre Stage has also been moved for the iPad Air, and it is now located along the landscape edge of the pad.

Improved connectivity through WiFi and 5G internet are also confirmed for the machines. They both come in the colourways of blue, with purple finishes, along with starlight and space gray.

The 11-inch iPad Air still starts at $599, and the 13-inch iPad Air is at $799. Pre-orders are available now in select countries, excluding South Africa right now. Apple says general availability starts 15th May 2024.

Behold, the super-charged M4 iPad Pro

The main event of the presentation was the new iPad Pro, for which Apple has rolled out the red carpet that reads “The Works.” We’re talking about an OLED screen, the most powerful Apple-made chip to date, Ultra Retina XRD display, and its launch is accompanied by the new Apple Pencil and a new Magic Keyboard.

Like the iPad Air, it comes in 11″ and 13″ configurations, in either silver or space black and they are ridiculously thin. Apple says the devices are the “thinnest Apple product ever” and definitely looks like it, with the 11″ at just 5.3mm and the taller 13″ at 5.1mm. This is about as thick as the eraser at the top of a pencil.

Apple says the devices keep their strength due to their 100 percent recycled aluminium enclosures.

The Pro also has a new patented method from Apple that combines two OLED screens on top of each other for “full screen” brightness on what the company is now calling the Ultra Retina XDR display. This is made to reduce glare, and increase fidelity as much as possible.

“The new iPad Pro supports an incredible 1000 nits of full-screen brightness for SDR and HDR content, and 1600 nits peak for HDR. No other device of its kind delivers this level of extreme dynamic range,” the company explains.

“Specular highlights in photos and video appear even brighter, and there’s more detail in shadows and low light than ever before on iPad.”

On the performance side, the Pro should be the fastest iPad we have ever seen from Apple thanks to the new M4 chip. This builds on what was achieved by the M3 line, and according to its makers is even more power efficient, up to four times better performance than the M2 chip, and allows Ray Tracing to be use on an iPad for the first time ever.

Unlike the Air, the Pro comes with a 12MP back camera, as well as the 12MP Ultra Wide front camera. The Pro also features the latest cellular connectivity for Apple’s iPad, with WiFi 6E and 5G support. It also supports the use of an eSIM.

While the Pro comes in different configurations in terms of storage space, the 11″ version starts at $999, and the 13″ starts at $1 299, but can go up to $1 499 with top-of-the-range specs, including WiFi+Cellular connectivity.

The new iPad Pro is available for pre-order right now in the US, with general availability expecting in South Africa after 15th May 2024.

Both the new iPad Air and the iPad Pro leverage iPadOS 17.

The new Apple Pencil

The final gadget revealed during the presentation is the Apple Pencil Pro. We knew this had been coming since about November 2022, and we finally got to see the upgraded version of the existing Apple stylus for iPad. This version comes with many new features and accessibility improvements.

Including a new sensor under the Pencil’s barrel that can sense a user’s squeeze, as well as a new customic haptic engine within the tiny machine, the Apple Pencil Pro can tell when a user is pressing down, squeezing or tapping it lightly in order to intuitively respond. Either by bringing up the tool pallete, or switching line weights or colours, all without you having to move your hand away from what you’re drawing.

“With these advanced features, Apple Pencil Pro allows users to bring their ideas to life in entirely new ways, and developers can also create their own custom interactions,” Apple says. The new Pencil is stored, charges and pairs on the side of the iPad Pro via a magnetic interface.

The Apple Pencil Pro is selling for $129 and will likely release alongside the iPad Pro.


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