Apple fuels its iPad Pro revolution with new 9.7in version

21 Mar 2016

It was a logical next step for Apple to introduce a 9.7in version of its iPad Pro, which it sees as the ideal PC replacement

Still faithful to the 9.7in form factor of the classic iPad, Apple’s new 9.7in iPad Pro features the same firepower as the 12.9in model and works with the Apple Pencil and new Smart Keyboard revealed last September.

The 9.7in iPad Pro comes with a new Retina display that Apple claims is brighter and has a wider colour gamut.

Powered by the 64-bit A9X chip that rivals most portable PCs, it boasts a four-speaker audio system.

It also comes with a new 12MP iSight camera for shooting 4K videos, as well as a 5MP front-facing FaceTime HD camera.

The camera also features Focus Pixels for fast-focusing and can take 63MP panoramas.

Just like with the iPhone SE device – also launched today at a special event in Cupertino – the device features a new Night Shift mode, which changes colours as the environment darkens, but also a True Tone display technology to adjust white balance.

Apple’s head of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, made it very clear that the device is targeted as not only an upgrade for existing iPad users, but a replacement device for PC users.

“iPad Pro is a new generation of iPad that is indispensable and immersive, enabling people to be more productive and more creative,” said Schiller.

“It’s incredibly fast, extremely portable, and completely natural to use with your fingers, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. And now it comes in two sizes.

“The 9.7in iPad Pro has a new Retina display with True Tone technology, four-speaker audio system, blazing fast A9X chip, 12MP iSight camera, 5MP FaceTime HD camera, faster wireless, and support for Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. It is the ultimate upgrade for existing iPad users and replacement for PC users,” Schiller said.

New 9.7-inch iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil

New 9.7in iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil

Apple also revealed a new custom Smart Keyboard designed for the 9.7in iPad Pro that can be purchased separately.

Other accessories include the new lightning-to-SD-card camera reader and lightning-to-USB three-camera adapter, which makes it easy to download photos and videos from a digital camera to iPad Pro, while a new lightning-to-USB-C cable and Apple’s 29W USB-C power adapter enable faster charging.

Pricing and availability of 9.7in iPad Pro

The 9.7in iPad Pro comes in silver, space grey, gold and a new rose gold metallic finish, and starts at €699 (inc VAT) for the 32GB with Wi-Fi model, and €849 (inc VAT) for the 32GB Wi-Fi and cellular model. Both iPad Pro sizes are available in offerings of 32GB, 128GB and a new 256GB capacity, the highest of any iOS device.

Apple Pencil is available for €109 and Smart Keyboard in charcoal grey for €169 (inc VAT).

The lightning-to-SD-card camera reader will be available for €35 (inc VAT) and the lightning-to-USB three-camera adapter for €45 (inc VAT).

The device goes on sale in the US, UK, France, Germany, Australia, Canada, China, Singapore, Puerto Rico and Hong Kong on Thursday 24 March.

It will be available in the rest of the world, including Ireland, from early April.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years