Apple just moved the iPad a giant step closer to its MacBook line with the new iPad Pro
- The device you see above isn't a new MacBook from Apple - it's the latest iPad Pro, announced on Wednesday morning.
- The new iPad Pro is an evolution of the current model: It's got a faster chip, a new ultrawide camera, "studio-quality" microphones, and a "breakthrough LiDAR Scanner" which enables it to scan 3D objects.
- The optional Magic Keyboard outright turns the iPad Pro into a laptop, with a trackpad and all.
- Another similarity to Apple's laptops: Pricing. The iPad Pro starts at $800.
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Apple's most powerful, most expensive tablet - the iPad Pro - is getting an evolutionary overhaul.
The 2020 iPad Pro is getting a new chip (the "A12Z Bionic," a version of the chip from the iPhone XS), an ultrawide camera, improved microphones, and a "breakthroug LiDAR Scanner," which can be used for better 3D scanning.
Perhaps most importantly of all, the new iPad Pro can be used with the new Apple Magic Keyboard - an attachable keyboard that essentially turns the iPad Pro into a MacBook.
Though iPads have supported external keyboards in the past, the new keyboard adds a trackpad - a first for Apple, and a feature that requires a rethinking of how the iPad operating system works.
To that end, Apple is adding trackpad support, including support for third-party mice, through iPadOS 13.4. But it's not going to work like a normal mouse does on a computer.
"The cursor appears as a circle that highlights user interface elements, text fields and apps on the Home screen and Dock, giving a clear indication of what users can click on," Apple's press release says. Trackpad/mouse support will come to a variety of iPad models, including "all iPad Pro models, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, and iPad mini 4 and later," according to Apple.
The other major addition to the new iPad Pro, a LiDAR Scanner, is intended to assist with augmented reality applications.
It can be used to measure 3D space - a crucial tool in AR. "The LiDAR Scanner measures the distance to surrounding objects up to 5 meters away, works both indoors and outdoors, and operates at the photon level at nano-second speeds," according to Apple.
The new iPad Pro is available starting on Wednesday, and the 11-inch WiFi model starts at $800. The Magic Keyboard with a trackpad isn't scheduled to be available until May, and it starts at $300.
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