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New iPad Pro gets the M1 treatment

21 Apr 2021

Apple has today announced a new iPad Pro, the first to feature the company’s M1 chip, as part of Apple’s Spring Loaded launch event.

The electronics giant also announced the addition of a new colour for the iPhone 12 and 12 mini — an all new purple finish.

Among the new iPad Pro’s features: a Liquid Retina XDR display on the 12.9-inch screen, 5G capability with cellular models, and a Thunderbolt USB-C port. But it’s the M1 chip that is proving to be the primary differentiator to the iPad’s predecessors, making it the ‘fastest device of its kind’, according to Apple.

“The revolutionary M1 chip has been a breakthrough for the Mac, and we’re incredibly excited to bring it to iPad Pro,” says Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Greg Joswiak.

“With M1’s huge jump in performance, a groundbreaking extreme dynamic range experience on the 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display, up to 2TB of high-speed storage, Thunderbolt expansion, a four-speaker audio system, pro cameras with LiDAR Scanner, blazing-fast 5G connectivity, an amazing video-calling experience with Centre Stage — combined with the advanced features of iPadOS and a powerful pro app ecosystem all in a device users can hold in one hand — there’s nothing else like iPad Pro.”

M1 chip

The 8-core CPU design delivers up to 50% faster CPU performance than A12Z Bionic, and up to 40% faster GPU performance. 

The iPad also features a next-generation 16-core Apple Neural Engine, an image signal processor (ISP), a unified, high-bandwidth memory architecture with up to 16GB of memory, 2x faster storage, and up to 2TB capacity.

Apple says the M1 also delivers better performance and all-day battery life.

Display

The 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display includes a mini-LED design that uses over 10,000 LEDs across the entire back of the display, and also features up to 1000 nits of full-screen brightness, 1600 nits of peak brightness, and a 1 million-to-1 contrast ratio.

Thunderbolt port

Apple says the support for Thunderbolt and USB 4 makes the USB-C port on iPad Pro the fastest port ever on an iPad, with 4x more bandwidth for wired connections than the previous iPad Pro — up to 40Gbps. 

The Thunderbolt port supports 10Gbps Ethernet, meaning high-performance accessories, like faster external storage and even higher resolution external displays, can be used. 

Cameras

The new iPad Pro features a TrueDepth camera system with a new 12MP Ultra Wide front camera. Apple also announced Centre Stage, a ‘new experience’ for video calls, whereby the camera uses the larger field of view in concert with machine learning capabilities of the M1 chip to recognise and keep users centred in the frame. 

This means as users move around the frame, the software automatically pans to keep them in the shot.

Pricing and availability

The new iPad Pro will be available to order online on 30 April in New Zealand, and will appear in Apple Store locations in the second half of May.

Both the 11-inch and the 12.9-inch iPads will be available in silver and space grey finishes, and will ship with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB configurations.

The 11-inch iPad Pro begins at NZ$1,349 for the Wi-Fi model and NZ$1,629 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.