Similar to the previous year, Apple stuck to its launch pattern and introduced two new iPads – a bigger 12.9-inch model and a smaller 11-inch model (instead of the 10.5-inch model from last year). With the new iPads, Apple shrank the bezels and got rid of the Home Button, making way for an all-screen LCD display. This display is similar to the one found on the new iPhone XR and is called the ‘Liquid Retina’ display.
With the new iPads, Apple got rid of the Home Button to make their devices look more aesthetically-pleasing and more 2018-ish. However, this leads to two problems: navigation and authentication. Apple introduced the gesture-based navigation system on the new iPads to navigate through the interface, which is similar to the navigation system found on the ‘X’ series iPhones. And to address the other problem, Apple again went to the ‘X’ series iPhones for another feature, called the FaceID, which replaces TouchID and introduces a new way to authenticate users on the new iPads.
To be honest, Apple did a really good job with the implementation of hardware for FaceID on the new iPads. We know that the FaceID requires a certain set of hardware to function properly and to include it on a device with such slim bezels or no bezels at all, usually ends-up in a NOTCH. In the case of Apple, who did the same with their iPhones, starting with the iPhone X from last year, they could have also ended-up putting a NOTCH on the new iPads. But thankfully, that’s not the case and the new iPads are NOTCH-less. Instead, they incorporate all the required hardware in the very small bezel at the top.
With Apple getting rid of the Home Button on its new iPad, the two other things that add to the list of excluded-things include the lightning port – making way for an all-new USB-C port, and the dreaded 3.5mm headphone jack. The new iPads no longer have Apple’s proprietary lightning port – doubting its fate with their upcoming iPhones, and also lack a 3.5mm headphone jack – which means you need a USB-to-3.5mm adapter if you wish to connect your headphones to the new iPads. Apple says that the inclusion of USB-C port makes way for the ‘charging-out’ feature on the new iPads. This new feature allows users to charge their other devices by plugging them directly to their iPad – which delivers power from the USB-C port to the connected device over the running cable. Additionally, the port also allows for the option to connect a 5K display to the iPad, allowing users to edit photos and videos on a rather crisp display straight from their iPad.
Talking about the internals, the new iPads come with Apple’s all-new A12X Bionic chip – which is a 7nm chip, similar to the A12 Bionic chip on the new iPhones, powered by an eight-core CPU (four-performance cores, four-efficiency cores) and a seven-core GPU, making it 35 percent faster for the single-core performance and 90 percent faster for the multi-core performance. During the event, Apple said that their new iPads deliver Xbox like performance, while maintaining a smaller overall-footprint of the device. In addition to that, they also claimed that their new iPads are up to 92 percent faster than all the portable PCs out in the market, while also being a thousand times faster in terms of the GPU performance than the previous models. Since talking about a device without mentioning its Camera is not so 2018, it’s necessary to highlight that the new iPads come with a 12-megapixel sensor with a large viewfinder, which makes it capable of shooting 4K at 60fps. And, with FaceID and Neural Engine added to the new iPads, Apple has opened doors for the inclusion of Animoji and Memoji on the iPads for the first time.
By now, it’s pretty clear that Apple is making a lot of claims about its new iPads this year. In addition to the ones it made to over-shadow other tablets and portable-PCs, it has one more left up its sleeve. And that has to do with the performance of its new iPads in terms of augmented reality. Apple claims that its new iPads are the best devices for augmented reality – this comes based on the assumption that the new A12X chip in addition to the improved Neural Engine, would be able to deliver significant performance improvements as compared to last year’s models.
Talking about accessories, the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard get upgrades too. The Apple Pencil has been re-designed and now connects to the iPad magnetically – getting rid of the annoying charging method and making way for a wireless charging mechanism. It provides the ability to tap the screen to wake it from sleep and launch into the Notes app directly from the lock screen. In addition to the Apple Pencil, Apple has also made some rudimentary changes to its Smart Keyboard and also re-named it to Smart Keyboard Folio. The new keyboard connects to the new iPads magnetically – just like the Apple Pencil, and doubles as a cover to protect it from the front to the back.
The new iPads come in Silver and Space Grey finishes, with 64GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB of storage configuration and are available for pre-ordering along with the Apple Pencil 2 and Apple Keyboard Folio in the US starting today, with availability expected around November 7. In India, the 11-inch iPad Pro starts at Rs 71,900 for the WiFi model and Rs 85,900 for the cellular version. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at Rs 89,900 for the Wi-Fi model and Rs 1,03,900 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model.