Seems we may not be getting a surprise October Apple event, after all. The company just dropped what will, no doubt, be one of its last major hardware updates for the calendar year. The iPad Pro is getting a spec refresh revolving around an upgrade for the M1 to M2 chip.
The new chip sports eight CPU cores, with a performance bump of around 15%, according to Apple. The GPU is 10 cores, with a stated 35% performance boost per the company.
Apple is clearly pushing the latest version of the Pro as something more akin to a laptop aimed at creative professionals, pushing enhancements to the sorts of content creation that could be managed by tablets as recently as a few years ago. It notes:
The performance of M2 turbocharges even the most demanding workflows, from photographers editing massive photo libraries and designers manipulating complex 3D objects, to healthcare professionals taking advanced imaging and analysis, to gamers enjoying graphics-intensive games. The power of M2 also extends to the new media engine and the image signal processor, which combined with the advanced cameras, enable users to capture ProRes video for the first time and transcode ProRes footage up to 3x faster. This means content creators can capture, edit, and publish cinema-grade video from a single device out in the field.
The high-end tablet comes in both 11- and 12.9-inch versions, available with 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB of storage, coupled with 16 GB of RAM. Both versions will be available in WiFI and 5G options. Connectivity gets a refresh here, with support for WiFi 6E.
In terms of the its sustainability push, Apple notes that the Pro features 100% recycled gold for the circuit board, along with recycled aluminum, tin and various rare earth elements.
The new iPad Pro arrives alongside a new (2nd gen) Apple Pencil, which can be detected farther from the display (12 mm), offering up a preview of sketches before committing stylus to tablet.
Both arrive alongside iPadOS 16, which features a number of desktop-focused additions, including the reworked Stage Manager (which received some user backlash in betas) and app layouts better optimized for the screen.
All told, the new version is more of a spec bump than anything, with the M2 serving as the centerpiece of the whole refresh.
The 11-inch Pro starts at $799 for WiFi and $999 for cellular, while the 12.9-inch model starts at $1,000 for WiFi and $1,299 for cellular. It’s up for preorder starting today. The Apple Pencil, meanwhile, runs $129. Other accessories include the Magic Keyboard ($299 and $349 for the two sizes) and the Smart Keyboard Folio ($179 and $199).
Also new is an update to the entry-level iPad, which features a design more in line with the Pro. That includes the end of the physical home button, while the fingerprint reader moves to the power button. The new version starts at $449. The Apple TV 4K also gets an upgrade built around a faster chip, with a starting price of $129.