Apple Unveils iPad Pro, With Huge Screen, Full Size Keyboard, Apple Pencil, and Speed that Beats PCs

ipad pro
Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Apple Inc, speaks about the new iPad Pro during an Apple media event in San Francisco, California, September 9. Beck Diefenbach/Reuters

On the stage at the Apple announcement event Wednesday morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the company's "biggest news in iPad since the iPad," the iPad Pro.

"It's the most capable and powerful iPad we've ever created," Cook said.

So what's new? A lot.

First of all, this iPad is much, much bigger than its predecessors: At 12.9 inches across diagonally, the width of the iPad Pro is equal to the height of the iPad Air. Put another way, its screen is 78 percent larger than the iPad Air.

"The biggest screen we've ever built in an iOS device," said Phil Schiller, Apple's Senior Vice President of marketing. That is set to change the iPad experience significantly: The keyboard display on the new iPad will be full sized, for example.

Its screen quality is also a major step up: It sports a 5.6 million pixel display, more than a 15-inch Macbook Pro with retina display.

"It is a beautiful display. Your photos will look amazing on it. Huge, incredibly detailed, rich colors," Schiller said. "Watching movies on it is incredible."

The iPad Pro is also faster, much faster—1.8 times faster than the iPad it replaces. It will come with a third-generation 64-bit chip, doubling its bandwidth to memory ratio, and doubling the "read and write" performance over the previous device.

"This is desktop-class performance," Schiller said. "Faster than 80 percent of the portable PCs that shipped in the last 12 months." While running iMovie on an iPad Pro, he added, users will be able to edit three streams of 4K video (sometimes called "Ultra HD") at once.

The iPad Pro also has a four-speaker audio system, which automatically balances the left and right speakers to compensate for the angle at which the iPad Pro is held.

"iPad is the clearest expression of our vision of the future of personal computing," Apple CEO Tim Cook said. "In just five years, iPad has transformed the way we create, the way we learn, and the way we work."

The iPad Pro will start at just $799, for the base model with just 32 gigs of memory, and will be available in November.

ipad multitasking
Kirk Koenigsbauer, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft Office 365 Client Apps and Services Team, speaks about Microsoft Office for iPad Pro during an Apple media event in San Francisco, California, September 9. Beck Diefenbach/Reuters

Smart Keyboard: $196

Apple also announced a new keyboard accessory with a "smart connector," that can connect magnetically to the iPad Pro, which in turn automatically detects the keyboard and will adjust commercially.

Apple Pencil: $99

Apple also announced the "Apple Pencil," a stylus compatible with the iPad Pro.

Apple pencil
Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Apple Inc, speaks about the Apple Pencil for the new iPad Pro during an Apple media event in San Francisco, California. Beck Diefenbach/Reuters

"Highly responsive sensors built into the tip of the iPad pencil work with the iPad display to detect position, force, and tilt," the voice in the Apple announcement video said. The Apple Pencil also offers "precision that actually gives you the capability to touch a single pixel."

You can press harder or softer with the Pencil for a bolder or lighter stroke, and it can be used simultaneously with your finger. It recharges via a lightning connector that plugs directly into iPad Pro.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.