Apple unveils new iPad Pro and updates MacBook Air

Apple has shipped 500 million iPads in the 10 year since the first one was introduced

Apple has unveiled a new iPad Pro and updated its MacBook Air, making the devices more powerful and adding new features.

The new tablet has a dual camera system - the first time that the iPad Pro has included the set up - and advanced technology to improve augemented reality apps.

Describing the new iPad Pro as its most advanced yet, Apple said the tablet was more powerful than most Windows laptops, with a new A12Z Bionic chip that makes the tablet capable of power-hungry tasks such as editing 4K video or designing 3D models.

They may look similar to last year’s model, but the new tablets have some interesting features, including a new depth-sensing Lidar scanner in the device that can measure distance to objects in a room, which will open up new options for developers looking at augmented reality applications. Five studio quality microphones are included for audio, the same as those used in the 16 inch MacBook Pro.


The updated iPad Pro comes in two sizes - 11 inch and 12.9 inch - and has what Apple describes as a Pro camera system, with a 12MP Wide camera, a 10MP Ultra Wide camera and the ability to shoot 4K video.

"The new iPad Pro introduces advanced technologies never before available in mobile computing," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing. "Combining the most advanced mobile display with powerful performance, pro cameras, pro audio, the breakthrough Lidar Scanner and new Magic Keyboard with Trackpad, this is another huge leap forward for iPad."

The new version of the iPad operating system, iPadOS 13.4, brings trackpad support to the iPad too, and Apple has said the new Magic Keyboard will be available in May.

"We're making iPad even more capable and versatile by bringing trackpad support to iPadOS," said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering. "We carefully considered the best way to integrate trackpad use into a touch-first environment while retaining everything our customers know and love about iPad. We're thrilled to bring this new way of interacting with iPad to the millions of people using iPadOS today."

Apple is currently taking orders for the new iPads, and will begin shipping next week, just over 10 years after the first iPad was shipped in 2010. The company has shipped 500 million of the tablets since then. Prices start at €909 for the smaller wifi-only model.

The tech giant also unveiled a new MacBook Air, updating the notebook with more storage, a new keyboard and improved performance.

The new MacBook Air will come with the option of quad-core processors for the first time, featuring the new 10th-generation Intel Core chips. Apple said the performance of the new MacBook Air was twice as fast compared to the previous generation, with graphics up to 80 per cent faster.

The company also dropped the price of the device slightly, to €1,229, and doubled the base storage capacity to 256GB. It is also getting the updated Magic keyboard that was introduced with the 16-inch Macbook Pro, and comes with Apple’s Retina display and TouchID to allow users to login with their fingerprint.

There is also the option to increase the storage to a 2TB solid state drive, which is double what was previously on offer.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist