First Look at Apple's new 2018 iPad Pros, Apple Pencil, and Smart Keyboard
When Apple took the wraps off the redesigned iPad Pro at a special media event Tuesday, the tablets easily stole the show. With beefed up internals and an all-new exterior, the new iPad Pros are a delight to use.
The iPad Pro is now available in an 11-inch model with the same footprint as the 10.5-inch but with a bigger display, and a 12.9-inch model with a reduced physical size versus the first- and second-generation units.
A new design includes including squared off edges similar to that of the iPhone 4, a relocated Smart Connector, and a beautiful new display. The display was absolutely stunning to us as we handled it, going close to the edges without feeling like the bezel was too small.
Within the bezel, Apple hides the True Depth camera system which is used for taking Portrait mode selfies, using Animoji/Memoji, and of course Face ID. Face ID is implemented well, working at any angle as we rotated the iPad. There is even a nice touch where if you cover the camera on accident and try to unlock the iPad, it alerts you that the camera is being covered.
That means the Home button is gone, and frankly, we won't miss it.
Other improvements to the display include tap to wake — like on the iPhone — and rounded corners to match the curvature of the aluminum body.
In other big news, the Lightning port has been replaced by USB-Cm which we are sure going to appreciate. It adds a lot of new functionality, much of which Apple was showing off in the hands-on area. You can connect it to a 5K display, connect it directly to your USB-C camera, and even power your iPhone/Apple Watch from it.
On the 11-inch model, we love that we get a bit of extra screen real estate compared to the 10.5-inch that had the same physical dimensions. It is a nice touch and reminds us of the display on the XR compared to the iPhone 8 Plus.
Apple has seemingly fixed all the complaints that user had regarding the original Apple Pencil in the second generation of the product now that it has a seamless body, no cap, and charges wirelessly. There is gesture support that works in Apple's Notes app and can be customized in others. In Notes, double tapping the side switches between your drawing instrument and the eraser.
The only downside is that the original Pencil won't work with the new iPads and the new Pencil won't work with the old iPads. But, we liked the new Pencil so much it is probably worth it to upgrade anyway.
The new Apple Pencil is available for $129, an increase from the original $99 price tag.
The Smart Keyboard got improvements beyond just the new size. It now has a full-sized keyboard and for the first time protects the back of the iPad as well as the front.
It cleverly attaches via magnets and takes some effort to remove so it won't get dislodged by accident. It also still supports two different typing angles to adjust for different work environments.
The 11-inch Smart Keyboard retails at $179 while the larger 12.9-inch model comes in at $199.