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Apple's new $799 iPad Pro ditches the home button and adopts Face ID

New tablet has the 'performance of an Xbox One S' and starts at $799

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Apple's launching two new iPad Pro tablets, shown at a media event in New York.

The 2018 iPad Pro is available with two screen sizes, 11 inches and 12.9 inch, both offering edge-to-edge displays, a slimmed-down aluminum body and increased performance.

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As the rumor mills had predicted for some time, the new iPad Pro no longer has a home button, and is instead unlocked using Face ID, the facial recognition system used by Apple's iPhone X range. The new Pros have LCD screens which are curved at the corners, like on the iPhone XR, and stretch further to the edges of the body than before.

Also predicted, the new tablets have a USB-C connection instead of Apple's own Lightning port. This means they can connect to a huge range of accessories, including 5K external monitors. The USB-C port can also be used to charge an iPhone.

Apple

The new iPad Pro is 5.9mm thick, and the second, larger 12.9-inch model has 25 percent less physical volume than its predecessor. Running iOS 12.1, the new tablets were announced alongside a new version of Apple's Pencil stylus and a keyboard dock to help turn the iPad into a laptop alternative.

The lack of a home button means the tablet has a smaller screen bezel than past versions, but Face ID does not eat into the top of the screen with a 'notch' like on the iPhone XS and XR. Also, where the iPhone's Face ID only works in portrait, the iPad Pro's Face ID works in any orientation.

The iPad Pro duo are powered by an A12X Bionic processor, an upgrade on the A12 chip used by the iPhone XS and XS Max. Apple says general performance is up by 35 percent compared to last year's iPad Pro, or up to 90 percent faster in some scenarios. The iPads are also faster than 92 percent of portable computers sold by all of Apple's rivals over the last 12 months, the company claims.

A USB-C port means the new iPad Pro can be hooked up to an external monitor with up to 5K resolutionApple

Apple notes that the new tablets offer the same graphics performance as the Xbox One S games console, with storage options of up to 1TB (1,000GB) — double that of last year's model. Other storage options include 64, 256 and 512GB, and 4G connectivity is also available as an optional extra.

New second-generation Apple Pencil

Apple also announced a new version of its stylus, called the Pencil. This model connects to the iPad magnetically, automatically charging and pairing to the tablet. A new touch-sensitive body means you can adjust settings, like switching between the pen and eraser tool in Apple's Notes app, just by touching with above the nib with your index finger.

Adobe showed how Photoshop now runs on the iPad Pro, stressing that this is not a 'made for iOS' version of Photoshop, but the real deal — allowing artists to work on the same .PSD files as they do on their computer.

The new iPad Pro also has a new magnetic keyboard dock, which protects the front and back of the device when it's closed, and lets you work with the device standing up, or type on it as if you were on a laptop.

The new Apple Pencil charged when clipped magnetically to the iPadApple

As for smart home fans, the new iPads of course come with Apple's Home app, the central command hub for your connected devices. Smart lights, locks, thermostats, plugs and more — as well as Apple's HomePod speaker — can be controlled from the Home app. The app is also on iPhones, Macs and the Apple Watch.

Aimed at creatives, the iPad Pro is priced from $799 for the 11-inch model and $999 for the 12.9-inch version. Pre-orders open today and deliveries begin on November 7

The new iPad Pro was announced alongside an all-new MacBook Air and a revamped Mac Mini.


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