Apple: new gen iPad Pro unveiled at event, Air 13-inch and Pencil 2024 UK release date, M4 chips - and price

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CEO Tim Cook called the day of the announcement the ‘most significant’ for the iPad

Apple has revealed a fresh lineup of iPads, on what has been hailed by CEO Tim Cook as the "most significant day for iPad since its inception."

After a hiatus of over a year, the tech giant returned with a live-streamed event dubbed Let Loose, broadcast at locations in London and the US.

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The US company Introduced two new versions of its premium iPad Pro and two new models of its mid-tier iPad Air, updates that represent the most substantial enhancement to the iPad series in years, as Apple aims to revive interest in its longstanding tablet range.

Industry expert Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight, said Apple would be looking to “reinvigorate” its tablet range with the updates.

“Although tablets are one of Apple’s less prominent products, the iPad generated 5.6 billion dollars in revenue in the company’s most recent quarterly earnings, surpassing the total revenue of many rival device makers,” he said.

Wood added that the new products “represent a much-needed reason to upgrade for customers with ageing products.” Here is everything you need to know about them.

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What’s new with the iPad?

The latest iPad Pro boasts a high-quality OLED display, a first for the device, and Apple's new M4 chip, delivering a claimed 50% boost in speed compared to the previous generation and a staggering tenfold improvement over the original iPad Pro model.

Apple senior vice president of hardware engineering, John Ternus, said the new Pro “pioneers our most advanced technologies, and pushes the limits of what an iPad can be”, adding that the new device was the “iPad we’ve always dreamed of making”.

The Pro also boasts a cutting-edge Ultra Retina XDR display, touted by Apple as akin to “holding a cinema right in your hands.”

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The new Pro is also the thinnest product Apple has ever made, the company says, noting during its presentation that it was thinner than its pocket-sized iPod Nano, with both versions of the Pro just over 5mm thick.

The new iPad Pro doubles the storage capacity of its predecessor. Pricing begins at £999 for the smaller model, and £1,299 for the larger 12.9-inch display variant. It will go on sale on 15 May, and is available to pre-order now.

(Images: Apple)(Images: Apple)
(Images: Apple)

A new version of the iPad Air was also revealed, which will be sold in its traditional 11-inch size, as well as in a new 13-inch model. It too has been given a faster Apple chip – the M2 – which Apple says will make the new Air 50% faster than its previous model.

The price of the air remains unchanged at £599, while the larger 13-inch display model is priced at £799. Orders can be placed immediately, with sales also set to commence on 15 May.

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New colour options include blue and purple, alongside Apple's “starlight” and “space grey” variations - offering customers a choice of two shades of grey.

What else was announced?

The new tablets will be joined by a new stylus – the Apple Pencil Pro – which users can squeeze to interact with via pressure-sensitive sensors, comes with haptic feedback for vibrational response, and is integrated with Find My for easy retrieval if misplaced.

The new Apple Pencil Pro is priced at £129. Also announced was an updated version of the firm’s Magic Keyboard, which comes with additional keys on the keyboard's top row. It costs £299.

What’s next?

Although Apple did not announce any major new AI tools during the event, company executives did repeatedly refer to the the "neural engine" component of the new chips in both devices allowing for better AI performance going forward.

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Apple has faced criticism for neglecting artificial intelligence despite strong marketing efforts from its competitors. But it is expected to more broadly discuss its plans around AI during its annual developer conference, WWDC, which takes place in California next month.

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