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This is the Apple iPad Pro: A new and very real 12.9″ tablet, with a Pencil and a Smart Keyboard

After months, maybe even years, of rumours and leaks, Apple have finally announced the iPad Pro.

Update: iPad Pro pricing and availability now out!

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Featuring a huge 12.9″ screen, the iPad Pro has the same dimensions of almost two vertical iPad Air’s side by side, all while staying fairly thin, light, and powerful. In fact, it still measures in at just 6.9mm thin and 0.7kg in weight. With that new size comes some potential to give the increasingly stagnant tablet market a quick booster shot.

Mixing the huge screen with iOS 9’s dual-app multitasking, the Pro and the Air can now use multiple apps at once. Plus given the dimensions, that’s more comparable to having two iPad Air’s running in the one shell.

The bigger overall size of the Pro also means that Apple can pack in a lot more power, with a new A9X processor giving performance that’s 1.8x faster than the A8X, and “faster than 80 percent of the portable PCs that shipped in the last 12 months”. For context Apple showed the iMovie application running three streams of 4K video simultaneously. The Apple employee-filled crowd loved it. Storage performance has been doubled too, while battery life remains consistent with “10 hours”, but we’d better try that for ourselves.

Apple Pencil

Apple Pencil

Even more unexpected too, the huge iPad Pro also supports a brand new stylus, the Apple Pencil, with precision similar to that of the Samsung Note like and the Surface 3 stylus. Just like the Note’s pen too, the Pencil also has weight sensors, meaning a light touch of the Pencil in a drawing app will draw a light line, while a deep press can leave a heavier one, similar to that on a professional Wacom tablet. However there is a catch: the Pencil will need to be charged, with an integrated Lightning port, which is a bit of a bummer.

Apple iPad Smart Keyboard

Apple iPad Smart Keyboard

Following that line of thought too, Apple might also finally make a dent in the iPad keyboard accessory market, with an official iPad Pro keyboard dock that looks a little bit like the Surface’s kickstand, without the integrated kickstand.

iPad Pro with the Pencil

iPad Pro with the Pencil

However it’s that size which comes with an inherently exclusionary nature. The iPad has always been about portability, a definition which this device strains.

Yet if you already love or need an iPad, the Pro’s bigger screen could be the productivity bump you’ve been looking for.

The iPad Pro will be hitting Australian shelves in November.

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