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First look: New 9.7-inch iPad Pro is Apple's most advanced tablet

Apple on Monday expanded its iPad Pro lineup with a 9.7-inch model with A9X SoC, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support, all-new True Tone screen features and more. AppleInsider was on the scene and offers a hands-on look at the new tablet.

Those familiar with Apple's 12.9-inch iPad Pro will feel right at home with the 9.7-inch version. The smaller slate comes with all the trappings enjoyed by its larger-screened sibling, including built-in support for Apple Pencil and an all-new Smart Keyboard designed specifically for the full-size form factor.

In addition to elements introduced with last year's iPad Pro, the new 9.7-inch model comes with a slew of features not seen on any other Apple device. When SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller presented the device onstage, he touted the innovative True Tone screen system, which samples light from a user's surrounding environment and automatically adjusts screen brightness and color to mimic a "paper-white" viewing experience. The screen itself sports a wider color gamut that reproduces vivid blues and greens without over saturation.

For the first time ever, Apple is including a flash for iPad's rear-facing iSight camera. A True Tone module, the flash is positioned below the protruding lens element, itself a vestige from the iPhone 6.

Everything zips along nicely with Apple's A9X chip, providing ample power for image and video editing, drawing, data crunching, Web browsing and more.

Preorders for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro start on Thursday, with the 32-gigabyte model going for $599, 128-gigabyte model for $699 and a new 256-gigabyte configuration selling for $799. Additionally, Apple is introducing a rose gold color to go along with the usual space grey, gold and silver options.