The tech industry is waging a war on bezels, and the iPad Pro is the first Apple product to benefit. Today at WWDC, Apple’s annual gathering of developers, the company announced a new version of its tablet, with a 10.5-inch screen.
It’s a different size, but only in one sense. The new 10.5-inch Pro is physically almost exactly the same physical dimensions as the previous 9.7-inch Pro, just without the bezels. Now that the front of the tablet is almost entirely screen, it could be nearly an inch larger without being harder to hold. Or heavier: the new Pro still weighs almost exactly a pound.
The new screen size gives the Pro a full-size on-screen keyboard, which should make typing on the screen a little easier. The new display is also a little brighter, and a little faster-refreshing, all of which Apple says will make a big difference to how you use it. It makes Apple Pencil more responsive, makes scrolling even better. It makes sense for Apple to care so much about the display, obviously, since the display is increasingly the only thing an iPad has. Still, this change is mostly about the screen size.
The new Pro is also the fastest iPad ever, Apple says. It has a six-core A10X Fusion processor that is apparently 500 times more powerful than the original iPad—which is both impressive and completely meaningless. Thanks to Metal 2 and some of the other new low-level tech in the upcoming iOS 11, it supposedly works even faster than a high-end laptop. Like all iPads, Apple still quotes a battery life of 10 hours.
Now that Apple is diving headlong into the VR and AR worlds, iPad cameras become more important than ever. So the new Pro has a 12-megapixel sensor on the back, plus another 7-megapixel model on the front. You still shouldn’t take pictures at concerts, but you’re allowed to use your iPad camera for AR. We’ll give you that one.
Your Next Computer
The new Pro comes with new accessories, a memory bump (up to 64 gigs), and a new $649 price tag. It’s the closest thing Apple’s ever made to a computer that is truly all-screen, and to the kind of computer that’s powerful enough to work as your only computer.
To make it work more like the computer it can now be, Apple made a lot of iPad-friendly changes in iOS 11. You can now add as many icons to your dock as you want, drag and drop things between apps, and multitask a little more easily. Most important, there’s a new app called Files, that pulls all your local and cloud-stored stuff into a single place. These are the kinds of features that make the iPad feel like a Mac. And that’s exactly what users have been wanting: the best of iPad, and the best of Mac, in one device. Apple’s getting closer.