As previously suspected, Apple today announced a new iPad in the iPad Pro family, debuting the 9.7-inch iPad Pro with all of the features of the existing 12.9-inch iPad Pro, including the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro even has a few improved features over the 12.9-inch version, including a True Tone display and better rear and front-facing cameras.
Apple’s Phil Schiller went up on stage to announce the new tablet. It does have a 9.7-inch display, and it has only 1.8% reflectivity, the lowest of any tablet. It is 25% brighter than an iPad Air 2, with 500 nits of light. It has a very wide color gamut, with 25% greater color saturation than an iPad Air 2.
“iPad Pro is a new generation of iPad that is indispensable and immersive, enabling people to be more productive and more creative. 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,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a new Retina display with True Tone technology, four-speaker audio system, blazing fast A9X chip, 12-megapixel iSight camera, 5-megapixel 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”.
There are four speakers, matching the larger iPad Pro model. It has twice the audio volume of an iPad Air 2. Apple’s A9X processor is equipped inside, with over 3 billion transistors. 12 cores of graphic with over half a teraflop of processing power. It does boast an embedded M9 coprocessor as well, offering up “Hey Siri” feature.
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro does support the Smart Keyboard, as well as the Apple Pencil. It boasts palm rejection software as well, allowing users to place their hands on the iPad while they use the Apple Pencil. There’s a new USB camera adapter and an SD card reader as accessories.
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has an improved 12-megapixel camera, with Focus Pixels for faster focusing, a better image signal processor, advanced noise reduction, and better face detection. It’s the same camera used in the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus, with support for 5K video, 63-megapixel panoramas, and Live Photos. There’s also a rear-facing flash, the first flash included in an iPad. Apple has also improved the front-facing camera, introducing a 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera with a front-facing Retina Flash feature.
The new 9.7-inch iPad Pro will retail in Silver, Gold, Space Gray, and Rose Gold. The 32GB option will retail for $599, while the 128GB model retails for $749. There’s a brand new 256GB option as well, which retails for $899. It begins shipping on March 31. Pre-orders begin on March 24.