Apple Inc. quietly announced upgrades to two of its iPad models Tuesday, through announcements lacking the fanfare of the company’s recent iPhone 14 debut.
Instead of hosting an event to reveal the iPad updates as it did for the iPhone, Apple
simply announced the refreshed devices in a series of press releases. The company is enhancing its iPad Pro with the inclusion of its faster M2 chip and also delivering speed upgrades in its new base-level iPad.
The M2 chip seems to be the biggest change in the new iPad Pro. Apple says the chip has a central processing unit (CPU) that’s up to 15% faster than what was on the prior-generation M1 chip, while the graphics processing unit (GPU) can bring up to 35% faster graphics performance.
Apple suggests the chip will prove helpful to power users, such as “photographers editing massive photo libraries and designers manipulating complex 3D objects.”
The iPad Pro also supports a “hover” feature for the Apple Pencil, which detects the pencil up to 12 millimeters above the display so that users can see a preview of their mark before they touch the screen to draw or write.
The 11-inch iPad Pro will begin at $799 for the Wi-Fi version and $999 for the cellular version, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $1,099 with just Wi-Fi and $1,299 with the cellular option.
Apple also updated its base iPad model, this time moving the front-facing camera to the landscape edge of the device in what Apple says is a first for any of its iPads.
“Whether users are on a FaceTime call or recording a video for social media, they will always be looking right toward the camera,” Apple said in the release. The camera has a 12-megapixel sensor and a 122-degree field of view.
Apple is putting its A14 Bionic chip in the new base-level iPad, which the company says will bring improvements in CPU and graphics performance. Apple is also moving the Touch ID reader to the top button on the iPad.
The device will come in blue, pink, yellow, and silver color options. The Wi-Fi version starts at $449 and the cellular-connected version begins at $599.
Both refreshed models are currently up for preorder, with availability beginning Oct. 26.
The upgrades come as Apple looks to once again drive growth in the iPad category. The device proved popular during the pandemic as people sought new electronics that would help them work and study from home, but now momentum is harder to come by: Apple posted $7.22 billion in iPad revenue during its June quarter, down from $7.37 billion a year before.
The company refreshed its 4K Apple TV as well on Tuesday, giving a performance boost with the A15 Bionic chip that the company says will make gameplay faster.