Apple Wants its New iPad Pro to Replace Your Laptop


Minutes after revealing a modern make-over for the once-revolutionary MacBook Air at Apple’s New York launch, Apple CEO Tim Cook trotted out new iPad Pro tablets which the company says can replace your laptop.

It’s the Apple version of betting a dollar each way, and there’s no doubt that for some executives the supersized iPad Pro will be a safe bet.

While coming in two screen sizes – 11 inches and 12.9 inches – the upgraded tablets have a smaller physical footprint due to a thinner strip of bezels surrounding the screen and, most noticeably, the removal of the home button.

Face ID, Apple’s 3D facial recognition system introduced on last year’s iPhone X, replaces the home button’s fingerprint scanner, essentially making the iPad Pro just one big slab of almost edge-to-edge screen.

The edges of the case are now flat instead of rounded, for a more professional rather than consumer vibe, but the 5.9mm profile will make these iPads a delight to hold.

Apple’s Lightning connector – a mainstay across the iPhone and iPad lines – has been abandoned in favour of a USB-C port. This not only charges the iPad Pro, it lets you connect the likes of cameras, card readers, USB hubs and even external monitors (albeit not a disk drive).

However, Apple has also ditched the headphone jack. The new iPad Pro models want you to connect your cans via Bluetooth or with an optional $15 headphone adaptor for the USB-C socket.

Apple’s latest A12X Bionic chip brings speeds, artificial intelligence processing and graphics up to par with the latest iPhones.

The companion Apple Pencil – itself a $199 add-on – is smaller, better to hold and has one flat side so it won’t roll around your desk. It also gains a double-tap shortcut function and magnetically sticks to the iPad Pro for pairing and wireless charging.

Completing raw laptop-replacement scenario is the Smart Keyboard Folio (another $119 or $149, depending on what size iPad Pro you have) which is little-changed from the precious version.

As for the sticker on the tablets themselves, the 11-inch model starts at $1299 for WiFi and $1449 with 4G; the 12.9-inch slate kicks off at $1529 for WiFi and $1749 with 4G.