When is the iPad Pro coming out in the UK? How much will the iPad Pro cost in the UK? What about the iPad Pro's new features, price, tech specs and more...
At its 9 September iPhone 6s launch event, Apple pulled a gentle surprise by unveiling an iPad at the same time - and not just any iPad. The iPad Pro. Phil Schiller took the spotlight to unveil this new category for Apple to approach, and called it 'the most capable and powerful iPad we've ever created'.
In this article we reveal all the details: the iPad Pro UK launch date and price, as well as its new features and design changes, and the iPad Pro tech specs.
iPad Pro release date: iPad Pro available to buy from Apple now
The iPad Pro is now available to order from Apple's online store, and is set to be available in Apple Stores, as well as selected mobile carriers and Apple Authorised Resellers by the end of the week. At time of writing (11:30, 11 November), all models are available to ship within one business day with one exception: the 128GB iPad Pro with WiFi in Space Grey says it will be dispatched in 2-4 business days.
Frustratingly, though, the Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro has a dispatch estimate of 3-4 weeks, and the Apple Pencil for iPad Pro has a dispatch estimate of 1-2 weeks, so if you were hoping to purchase those too you'll have to wait a little while before they arrive, slightly dampening the excitement when your iPad Pro arrives much sooner.
Read on to find out more about the iPad Pro. See our iPad Pro UK price section for more details on how much it'll cost.
iPad Pro launch: Apple 'not expecting big Christmas sales of iPad Pro'
Apple has been leaning on the iPhone for several years now, and pessimists often muse on the difficulties the company would face if iPhone sales started to slow. (Indeed, while iPhone sales in the most recent financial posing were extremely strong, growth may be starting to plateau.) Many Apple fans have argued that the iPad Pro represents an opportunity to reinvigorate sales of the iPad range. Well, sources in Apple's supply chain report that Apple is playing down that possibility.
Sources cited by Cult of Mac say that the company has ordered only 2.5 million iPad Pros for the remainder of 2015, which pales in comparison with the 9.9 million iPad units that Apple sold in Q4 2015, and the 10.9 million units sold in the quarter before.
Of course, the iPad Pro is a more expensive tablet than the Air and mini models Apple has been selling before now, and those figures represent the total tablet sales Apple made whereas this is only a single model; but it still represents a surprisingly cautious approach when you've got a brand-new model in a category you've never entered before.
We should add that the sources were speaking before the Q4 2015 results were in, and Tim Cook sounded pretty confident during the announcements:
"iPad Pro will enable a new generation of apps for entertainment and productivity, design and illustration, engineering and medical."
iPad Pro UK price
The iPad Pro will be available in just three storage configurations, confirming the pre-launch rumour that the 16GB option has been killed off. Your only options are 32GB or 128GB (if you want the Wi-Fi model) or 128GB (if you want it with cellular connectivity).
We now have official word from Apple on UK pricing for the iPad Pro, but Macworld had already seen the price list that Apple distributes to its retail partners, and our expectations were correct.
- iPad Pro Wi-Fi (32GB): £679
- iPad Pro Wi-Fi (128GB): £799
- iPad Pro Wi-Fi + cellular (128GB): £899
These are recommended prices (which include VAT, naturally), so individual retailers could offer different pricing. But we'd expect most to stick to these numbers pretty closely. Note that these correspond to the price list obtained from the reseller below.
The US pricing of those three configurations, incidentally, is as follows:
- $799 (32GB, Wi-Fi)
- $949 (128GB, Wi-Fi)
- $1,079 (128GB, Wi-Fi and cellular)
iPad Pro UK price: Pre-launch price predictions and estimates
Back in October, a UK reseller, KRCS, announced that it was taking preorders for the iPad Pro - but it still hadn't got confirmed UK pricing. How does that work? With estimated prices. The company has since withdrawn the offer - we're not sure why, but can imagine that Apple might have been annoyed and got in touch - but we've still got the company's pricing estimates:
- iPad Pro (32GB, Wi-Fi only): £679
- iPad Pro (128GB, Wi-Fi only): £799
- iPad Pro (128GB, cellular): £899
These are a little higher than our own old predictions, listed below, although it's possible that KRCS is estimating on the high side so that it doesn't lose sales when the real prices are revealed.
Looking at similarly priced Macs in October, we estimated that the iPad Pro would retail as follows:
- iPad Pro (32GB, Wi-Fi): £649 in the UK (based on the price of an 11in MacBook Air at $899)
- iPad Pro (128GB, Wi-Fi): £749 (based on the price of a 2.8GHz Mac mini at $999)
- iPad Pro (128GB, Wi-Fi and cellular): £849 in the UK (based on the price of the 11in 1.6GB MacBook Air at $,1099)
The iPad Pro is available in three colours: silver, gold and Space Grey - it doesn't get the rose gold option that's offered for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
iPad Pro design
Design-wise, the iPad Pro is a companion piece to the iPad Air 2: you're just getting a lot more iPad. Its general layout, its material, edging and so on all match. The positioning of the buttons, the Lightning and headphone ports, the Touch ID-equipped Home button: all of these are the same as on the smaller iPad Air 2. But there are some key differences to the design.
These are not cosmetic differences. Each one corresponds to something that the iPad Pro does differently.
One is that there are four speakers - resulting in far more volume output and (Apple claims) automatically reblancing audio performance. This is something we will talk about in more depth in the audio section of our specs report.
There is a new type of connector on the side of the iPad Pro: the lefthand side if you're holding it in portrait orientation. Apple calls it the Smart Connector, fairly straightforwardly. This is for the new Smart Keyboard accessory, which we will discuss in the accessories section.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, the screen's design has been enhanced. This isn't something that you will be able to notice from the exterior hardware, but Apple is confident that you'll notice is when the device is in use.
iPad Pro tech specs
The iPad Pro's tech specs are pretty impressive. Let's look at them in more detail.
iPad Pro screen size and resolution
The iPad Pro features a 12.9-inch (diagonal) display with a resolution of 2732 x 2048. That gives a pixel density of 264.68 (according to the excellent Pixel Density Calculator) - that's the same density as the iPad Air 2 across a far larger screen, and a total of 5.6 million pixels.
Apple boasted that the iPad Pro has more pixels than the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro.
iPad Air 2 (left) and iPad Pro
The iPad Pro offers 78 percent more screen space than the iPad Air 2. Its width is the same as the iPad Air 2's length, which makes it easy to run apps optimised for the smaller device in portrait, with the Pro in landscape orientation. Running two side by side would work well, too, thanks to the Split View in iOS 9.
iPad Pro specs: Processor
The iPad Pro's processor chip, as we expected, is the A9X: an update to the A8X chip in the iPad Air 2 (which is itself very fast, in our experience).
Apple boasted that the A9X chip offers 2x the memory bandwidth of the A8X, and 2x faster storage performance too. Overall speed is 1.8x the performance of the A8X, Apple says, although we'd like to run our own tests.
One last (two-part) boast about the iPad Pro's speed. Apple reckons that in CPU tests, the Pro is faster than 80 precedent of portable PCs, and faster than 90 percent in graphics tests. We'll update this article when we know a little more about the details of Apple's testing!
Here's Apple press release on the iPad Pro's speed:
"iPad Pro delivers groundbreaking performance and energy efficiency, so you can tackle the most demanding tasks. Apple's powerful new 64-bit A9X chip, with third-generation 64-bit architecture, provides desktop-class CPU performance and console-class graphics."
iPad Pro specs: Camera
The iPad Pro gets an 8Mp front-facing iSight camera with the following specs:
- 8MP iSight camera
- ƒ/2.4 aperture
- Five-element lens
- Hybrid IR ?lter
- Backside illumination
- Improved face detection
- Exposure control
- Panorama (up to 43MP)
- Burst mode
- Tap to focus
- Photo geotagging
- Timer mode
Yep, it's seemlngly identical to the camera on the iPad Air 2.
Video recording specs are also the same as the Air 2:
- 1080p HD video recording (30 fps)
- Slo-mo (120 fps)
- Time-lapse video
- Video image stabilisation
- Improved face detection
- 3x video zoom
- Video geotagging
As is, last of all, the front-facing camera:
- 1.2MP photos
- ƒ/2.2 aperture
- 720p HD video recording
- Backside illumination
- Auto HDR photos and videos
- Improved face detection
- Burst mode
- Exposure control
- Timer mode
iPad Pro battery life
According to Apple the iPad Pro will have a battery life of 10 hours. As with the speed metrics, we'd like to test that out for ourselves, but Apple tends to if anything underestimate the battery performance of its products.
One other element worth mentioning in relation to battery life: Apple says that the iPad Pro is at present the only iOS device that automatically adjusts its screen refresh rate depending on the amount of movement on screen - something which the company says allows it to save power when it isn't needed.
iPad Pro speaker and audio specs
The iPad Pro has a four-speaker audio system, as was rumoured beforehand. (The obligatory Jony Ive video gloated about this being "machined directly into the unibody enclosure".) The company observed that this is the first time an Apple product has offered this; we're willing to take their word for it.
What does this quad-speaker setup produce in practice? Three times the audio volume of the iPad Air 2, according to Apple. The setup also rebalances the sound performance depending on the way you're holding it. Something else to put to the test in our labs.
iPad Pro dimensions
The iPad Pro weighs roughly 710g (US-based Apple of course gave the weight in imperial measurements: 1.57lbs) and again the company was able to find a flattering comparison: in this case the iPad Pro is only fractionally heavier than the (1.54lb, or 680g) iPad 1, which of course had a massively smaller screen.
Thickness is also impressive: the iPad Pro is 6.9mm thick, which is only slightly thicker than the iPad Air 2 (6.1mm) while again offering an immensely bigger screen, greater speed and so on.
iPad Pro accessories
Apple unveiled two new accessories alongside the iPad Pro: a stylus called the Apple Pencil, and Smart Keyboard.
Yes, Apple has cracked and, after all those years saying that touch was the best interface method, it's launching a stylus to go with the iPad Pro. It's called Apple Pencil.
Jony Ive did his best to justify what can only be seen as a significant change in strategy by saying that the Apple Pencil gives you "the ability to touch a single pixel". It also charges by plugging directly into the iPad Pro's Lightning port. It costs $99 in the US. We'll update with a UK price when we have one.
Apple Smart Keyboard
Apple also unveiled a Microsoft Surface-esque keyboard cover. This is called the Apple Smart Keyboard, and will sell for $169 in the US. We'll update this article with a UK price when we have it.
Read on to find out what the rumours about the iPad Pro suggested prior to the iPhone 6s event...