Apple Introduces New iMac Pro; Finally Upgrades iPad Pro Line

NEWS ANALYSIS: New iPads include an all-new 10.5-inch model and an upgraded 12.9 inch iPad Pro with faster processors, more memory and improved screens, with more to come in iOS 11.

iPad Pro Upgrade

Apple introduced plenty of new hardware at the Worldwide Developers Conference including long-awaited iPad Pro tablets and a Xeon-powered iMac Pro.

Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered the long awaited announcement of a new iPad Pro tablet at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5 in San Jose.

Apple also announced new Macintosh computers, new versions of MacOS, watchOS and tvOS, along with providing a preview of an intelligent speaker that will show up in December.

The new iMac Pro is a Xeon-powered workstation class computer that’s designed to compete with workstations currently available from HP and Dell. The new iMac will be available at the end of the year and can be configured with up to CPU 18 cores and Graphical Processing Units with performance of up to 22 Teraflops. It will have a 27-inch 5K display.

The new iPads are available for order immediately, and will be delivered starting in the week of June 12. The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro has the same size chassis as the 9.7-inch iPad Pro it replaces, but with a more powerful A10X Fusion processor. However, Apple was able to achieve a 20 percent increase in the usable screen area by shrinking the borders and bezels, allowing the larger screen size in the existing form factor.

The upgraded 12.9-inch iPad Pro includes the same A10X Fusion processor, while the form factor remains the same as its predecessor. Both versions of the iPad Pro have improved screens that allow the use of a wider color range. The Apple also said the new iPads will have an anti-reflective coating, which if effective, this would be a welcome improvement.

Both allow screen refresh rates of up to 120 Hz, but the speed can be dynamically varied depending on what the iPad is doing. For example the high refresh rate works well with using the new iPads for handwriting using the Apple Pencil, while slower rates save power while doing relatively static tasks such as reading ebooks.

While the new iPad Pro models are shipping in June, the new version of iOS will have a significant impact on how they’re used in a business setting. However, Apple won't release iOS 11 until this fall, so users with the new devices will see only a portion of their new capabilities at first.

Apple is building a number of iPad-only features into iOS 11 that will enhance the new tablets’ capabilities. In addition, iOS 11 will allow the new iPads to compete more effectively with Microsoft’s Surface hybrid notebook-tablet models which are finding favor with business buyers.

The new capabilities include multitasking in which apps keep running in the background even when the user isn't working on it. Microsoft has been able to do with its tablets since the beginning.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...