Apple announced a new iPad model, the Pro, at a special event on Wednesday, confirming rumors that they will continue investing in tablets despite stalling iPad sales in recent years.
The iPad Pro is the largest and most powerful tablet ever offered by Apple, and comes with about 10 hours of battery life. The screen measures 12.9 inches diagonally and is as wide as the iPad Air is tall. It has 5.6 million pixels, a higher resolution than offered by a Retina MacBook Pro. Weighing in at 1.57 pounds, it is interestingly heavier than very first iPad, as Walt Mossberg notes. It will be offered in space gray, gold, and silver colors, but not the classic Apple white or black.
The Pro is available for purchase starting in November at $799 with 32 GB of storage, $949 for 64 GB, and $1,079 for 128 GB. It's no surprise that the powerful Pro is being offered with new bells and whistles, including a stylus called the Apple Pencil ($99) and a keyboard accessory ($169) to help consumers use the tablet like its bigger brother, the desktop. For more on the Apple Pencil, watch our quick video (below).
The latest iPad Pro is built to let you do many things at once
The new iPad Pro is tailored for multitasking. First-time tablet users are often surprised at how difficult it is to use more than one app at a time, a capability that desktop computers mastered decades ago. Side-by-side app usage will allow the iPad to work more like the way programs can be used on a desktop computer. Apple is right: this really is the biggest news in iPad since iPad.
In fact, Apple says the Pro offers users "desktop-class performance." The simultaneous-use functions will come in handy for Apple's integration with Microsoft Office products, which were featured at Wednesday's event. The partnership will allow Pro users to work in Word and Excel programs at the same time, for example.
Sticker shock is a little less personal when you're a multinational corporation
The iPad Pro will be one of the most advanced tablets available. It will also be one of the most expensive — tablets running Android are often far cheaper.
Microsoft has struggled to sell its tablets to consumers, but it's been more successful at selling tablets to large businesses, which can buy in bulk and need a reliable supply of tailored products to sustain the way they incorporate technology into their businesses. Only days prior to Apple's event on Thursday, the New York Times reported that Microsoft Surface tablets would be sold by Dell and Hewlett-Packard.
If Apple could become more adept at selling tablets to businesses, it could provide a much-needed boost to flagging iPad sales. The creation of a larger tablet with power-user features like split-screen operation is designed to aid sales to corporate customers.
iPad sales have been moving at a tortoise's pace as iPhone sales race ahead
Sales of the iPad have been slowing down as far back as 2013, a worrying sign that Apple needed to seriously review its commitment to tablets. Just take a look at this chart shared by Benedict Evans, which shows just how different iPad sales are to that of iPhones:
A tale of two curves pic.twitter.com/cax7fH0w9v— Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) July 21, 2015
Steve Jobs was slow to acknowledge that tablets should be part of the Apple product line. In 2005, he responded to a man practically begging him to consider tablets with an air of inspired bemusement.
Dude asks Steve Jobs to make an iPad in 2005. Jobs: "I like that" cc @karaswisher pic.twitter.com/EnYzl2Q8Cf— Chill Relleno (@margarita) June 22, 2015
Apple users would wait until 2010 for the company to offer its first tablet, the iPad, which actually weighs slightly less than the iPad Pro.
For the full breakdown of Apple's other announcements, including the Apple 6S, Apple TV, Apple Mini 2 and Mini 4 tablets, and more, check out our full Apple story stream.