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Apple's new iPad Pro features LiDAR tech for immersive AR

By Sara Barker
Thu 19 Mar 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

There’s a new iPad Pro out, and it comes complete with two cameras, an edge-to-edge liquid retina display, better performance, ‘studio-quality’ microphones, and even a LiDAR scanner.

What exactly is a LiDAR scanner?

What is it, and why is it on an iPad? It’s essentially depth-sensing technology, and Apple says the scanner is able to measure the distance between the iPad and objects around it that are up to five metres away. 

Immediate uses include augmented reality functions through the likes of development platforms like ARKit, and more possibilities for professional photo and video apps. 

Here’s how Apple describes it: “New depth frameworks in iPadOS combine depth points measured by the LiDAR Scanner, data from both cameras and motion sensors, and is enhanced by computer vision algorithms on the A12Z Bionic for a more detailed understanding of a scene. The tight integration of these elements enables a whole new class of AR experiences on iPad Pro.”

The new LiDAR tech also complements the Measure app, which now comes with Ruler View for more granular measurements and allows users to save a list of all measurements, complete with screenshots for future use.

The iPad Pro has two cameras, and better graphics

The ‘Pro’ camera system, as Apple calls it, features a 12MP Wide camera for capturing photos and 4K video, as well as a 10MP Ultra Wide camera that zooms out two times to capture a much wider field of view. 

To help show off those photos, the edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display features P3 wide colour support (i.e. many more colours) and works in conjunction with ProMotion technology. ProMotion automatically adjusts the display refresh rate up to 120 Hz for ultra-smooth scrolling and responsiveness. 

And no matter where customers take iPad Pro or how they interact with it, True Tone, high brightness and an anti-reflective coating.

Under the hood

The A12Z Bionic chip features an eight-core GPU and a bunch of other hardware improvements (enhanced thermal architecture and tuned performance controllers).
Battery life is up to 10 hours, while faster onboard improvements allow for Wi-Fi connectivity and 4G LTE Advanced and support for more LTE bands.

iPad Pro features ‘studio quality’ mics 

"The iPad Pro now features five studio-quality microphones for capturing super clean audio and the quietest details, and delivers an immersive sound experience with four-speaker audio that automatically adjusts to any orientation, no matter how it is held. The combination of pro cameras, pro audio and the large display make iPad Pro a versatile mobile studio for creative pros including filmmakers, video professionals, podcasters and other content creators," says Apple.

iPadOS 13.4 also supports trackpads, enabling users to see the cursor 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. Fluid gestures on the trackpad make it easy to switch between apps, access the app switcher and activate the Dock, Control Centre and apps in Slide Over. Apple’s Magic Keyboard will soon be able to be used in conjunction with the new iPad Pro.

The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at a recommended retail price of NZ$1,499 for the Wi-Fi model and NZ$1,779  for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. 

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at NZ$1,849 for the Wi-Fi model and NZ$2,129 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model.

They are available to order from today.

The Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro will be available for purchase in May for NZ$549 for the 11-inch iPad Pro and NZ$639 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro model.

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