In Brief

Apple iPad Pro: first reviews of the huge iPad with its own pencil

Apple unveils the biggest tablet it has ever made, targeting business users with a new stylus and smart keyboard

ipad.png

Apple has unveiled the new iPad Pro, the biggest tablet the tech giant has ever made. It is designed for the business sector but most critics agree that it can just as easily serve as a consumer device.

The iPad Pro is expected to go on sale in November in silver, gold and "space grey", and to cost between $799 and $1,079 (£520 and £702), depending on its level of storage and connectivity. It was unveiled at yesterday's Apple launch in San Francisco.

So what's new?

Size

The new device has a 12.9-inch display that's more than three inches larger than the iPad Air. It's "really big in the hand", says Gareth Beavis at Techradar, "to the point of feeling like you might be able to defend yourself from a particularly vicious knife attack if you're holding it in the right way". Nevertheless, it's just 6.9mm thin and weighs only 712g. Beavis says it's the "perfect device" for  leafing through newspapers on a lazy Sunday afternoon or spending hours in bed watching Netflix.

Performance

The iPad Pro offers high resolution graphics (2732 x 2048 resolution with 264 ppi), as well as a Touch ID sensor, a four-speaker audio system, an eight-megapixel iSight camera on the back and a FaceTime HD Camera at the front. The new A9X processor makes it 1.8 times faster than the previous chip it replaces, according to Apple. Despite the high resolution, the battery can apparently last ten hours and has the ability to edit three streams of 4K video simultaneously. The new split screen view in iOS 9 was "conceived for the iPad Pro", says Beavis – although he points out that the Samsung Galaxy S3 was capable of such multitasking in 2012.

Apple Pencil

One accessory that had everyone talking after yesterday's launch was the Apple Pencil. The new stylus allows users to annotate or draw, with sensitivity sensors so you can create brief strokes with a light press and wider strokes with a harder press. Microsoft demonstrated how the new Apple Pencil would work on new versions of its Office for iOS apps, such as PowerPoint. The stylus can also be used on Adobe Sketch. "We got to try out exactly how they work with a drawing app, and the combo's ability to quickly and accurately interpret my brush strokes showed a lot of potential," said Justin Rubio at IGN. However, it does cost an additional $99 (£70).[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"84358","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

Smart keyboard

Another "nifty addition" is the smart keyboard, says Beavis at Techradar. Keys have a "very accurate travel despite feeling rubber clad", he says. Users think they've failed to hit the space bar or any letters, then find that when they check the screen again it's all been registered "perfectly." At an extra $169 (£110), "it's expensive", says TechnoBuffalo, but you can "expect plenty of third-party alternatives to come out this holiday season".

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