Apple has unveiled a new 12.9in iPad, called the iPad Pro, that it hopes will reinvigorate sales of its tablet range.
The device was widely expected as Apple looks to tackle falling iPad sales, caused in part by the success of its larger-screen iPhone devices that have impacted sales for iPads by negating the need for a large-screened iOS tablet device.
However, with the super-sized iPad Pro, marketing chief at Apple Phil Schiller said the device was an ideal complement to the iPhone and laptops, helping make information clearer, making it easier to type and last longer throughout the day with a bigger battery that lasts 10 hours.
The iPad Pro is powered by Apple’s new A9X processor that is 1.8 times faster than the A8X chip it replaces, Schiller said. It also has an 8MP iSight camera and four-speaker audio as well as WiFi and mobile data options, including 4G.
He also revealed the screen’s pixel count is 5.6 million, higher than a MacBook Pro with Retina display. "Your documents will be fully-sized with laser sharp text and watching movies on it is incredible, it’s an amazing experience," he said.
Schiller said the new multi-tasking features that iOS 9 bring, were “designed with this iPad in mind” by offering split-screen apps that boost productivity, something that should be of real interest to business users.
Keyboard and stylus
Apple has created a new keyboard attachment for the iPad Pro, called the Smart Keyboard. This is similar to the keyboard found on the Surface line of devices from Microsoft. The keyboard will cost $169.
Secondly, for drawing the firm has developed a stylus that it calls Apple Pencil for the iPad Pro that offers touch sensitive controls. This will cost $99.
Design chief Jony Ive said the firm had designed it to allow "more precision" when using the iPad Pro.
"Highly responsive sensors in the tip of Apple Pencil work with the iPad Pro display to detect position, force and tilt," he noted.
Microsoft joins Apple on stage
To show off the productivity options of the device with these tools, Apple invited rival Microsoft on the stage to show off how users can use apps such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the iPad Pro.
Adobe also joined Apple on stage to talk about the benefits of iPad Pro for using its products, such as the Adobe Comp design tool and Photoshop Fix, a new product within Photoshop.
Despite the large screen the iPad Pro only weighs 712g, the same as the first ever iPad, despite being so much bigger.
The iPad Pro will launch in November and cost from $799, $949 and $1079 with storage options of 32GB, 64GB and 128GB respectively. It will come in three colours: silver, gold and space grey.
The stylus and keyboard will also launch in November.
The move comes as Apple increases its business partnerships, after it announced a major deal with Cisco last week that will see the two companies work together to optimise the iPhone and iPad for its network kit and collaboration services.
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