Apple shrinks down the iPad Pro for a super-charged 9.7-inch edition
Today’s Apple event sure felt like it was going to be about two key things: the introduction of a new four-inch iPhone, and the iPad lineup getting refreshed with a new 9.7-inch model. But this wouldn’t just be an iPad Air 3 – no, rumors suggested that we would see Apple take its tablets in a different direction, and rather than iterating on the old iPad Air 2, our next iPad would take more inspiration from the jumbo-sized iPad Pro. That’s just what we got today, as Apple introduced its new 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
Just like the big iPad Pro, the new 9.7-inch model supports the Apple Pencil, has four speakers for big room-filling sound, and will work with its own custom-sized Smart Keyboard.
Apple will sell the new iPad Pro in four color options, including rose gold. Pricing starts at $600 for the 32GB model, there’s a $750 128GB edition, and for the first time ever Apple’s pushing storage limits to 256GB – though that will run you a cool $900.
Like so many iPads before it, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be available in both WiFi and LTE-equipped editions, and notably, Apple’s not restricting LTE to 128GB and higher versions, as it does for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Orders open this Thursday, with full retail availability following on March 31.
But this isn’t just a cookie-cutter copy of the big iPad Pro, crammed into a new, smaller size. The 9.7-inch model manages to pick up some upgrades along the way, especially when it comes to the tablet’s screen. Apple’s giving the tablet what it calls its brightest screen yet, with some super-low-reflectivity glass. The screen supports iOS 9.3’s Night Shift mode for color temperature adjustment, but in addition to that it will also monitor ambient lighting conditions and shift its color output to match – giving you a more natural-looking display regardless of environmental conditions. Apple calls this ability the iPad Pro’s True Tone display.
The new tablet gets a 12MP main camera with 4K video support, a 5MP front-facer, and has an embedded Touch ID fingerprint scanner. It pulls its power from a 27.5‐watt‐hour battery (which Apple says should deliver 10 hours of use), measures a scant 6.1mm thick, and has a mass of just 437 grams – slightly under one pound.