The 9.7-inch iPad has been the workhorse for Apple’s tablet line for quite some time, but with the release of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro released last year, some of that workload was finally transitioned to a bigger, more powerful device.
But Apple hasn’t left the 9.7-inch model fans out in the cold for long. Following up on plenty of reports and rumors, the Cupertino-based company has made the 9.7-inch iPad Pro official during today’s “Let Us Loop You In” event. As expected, the new iPad will use several different features that Apple initially debuted last year with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, including specs and accessory support.
Apple’s Phil Schiller went up on stage to announce the new tablet. It does have a 9.7-inch display, and it has only 1.8% reflectivity, the lowest of any tablet. It is 25% brighter than an iPad Air 2, with 500 nits of light. It has a very wide color gamut, with 25% greater color saturation than an iPad Air 2. It has a “True Tone Display,” which measures the color temperature of ambient light, and adjusts the display to match. Two four-four channel ambient sensors will accomplish this.
There are four speakers, matching the larger iPad Pro model. It has twice the audio volume of an iPad Air 2. Apple’s A9X processor is equipped inside, with over 3 billion transistors. 12 cores of graphic with over half a teraflop of processing power. It does boast an embedded M9 coprocessor as well, offering up “Hey Siri” feature.
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro does support the Smart Keyboard, as well as the Apple Pencil. It boasts palm rejection software as well, allowing users to place their hands on the iPad while they use the Apple Pencil. There’s a new USB camera adapter and an SD card reader as accessories.
The new iPad Pro offers a 12-megapixel camera on the back, with a True Tone flash, new image signal processor, and it shoots 4K video as well. There’s a 5MP FaceTime HD camera, and it boasts the Retina Flash features as well.
The new 9.7-inch iPad Pro will retail in Silver, Gold, Space Gray, and Rose Gold. The 32GB option will retail for $599, while the 128GB model retails for $749. There’s a brand new 256GB option as well, which retails for $899. It begins shipping on March 31. Pre-orders begin on March 24.
The iPad Air 2 now retails for $399.