It seems that the rumours were mostly correct for this year's September keynote. For several months, sources had been gathering information in regards to an upcoming 12.9" version of the iPad, branded the iPad Pro, with it's main rival being the Microsoft Surface.
On September 9th, we saw the announcement of said device, complete with the 12.9" screen (2732 x 2048 pixels) - which puts the display ratio at the familiar 4:3 we're used to, making many developers happy. The pixel density actually matches that of the iPad Air, which makes for some incredible display real estate.
The iPad Pro makes great use of iOS 9, and the multitasking functionality now offered, and with the addition of Apple's newest peripherals, namely the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, it seems the target market is shifting somewhat towards designers, and those within any form of media industry.
With the partnership of Apple and IBM being a somewhat fruitful relationship, with the release of more than 20 apps aimed at various industries, and the surprising appearance of Microsoft at this year's keynote, it seems that Apple is taking a serious look at the B2B market, especially as the demand for tablet devices has been steadily declining in recent quarters.
The Smart Keyboard addition ($129US - Sold separately) allows for a more user-friendly device when it comes to producing documents, whether it be reports, articles, or even publications for the user who wishes to keep things as portable as possible.
The Apple Pencil on the other hand ($99US - Sold separately), allows for designers to work effortlessly on a single medium, and with embedded features such as pressure and tilt sensors, drawing is made more natural when on a digital device, making this, and the iPad Pro's screen size some real positives when it comes to making a purchasing decision.
For those interested in the guts of the iPad Pro, here are some of the technical specifications of the device.
The iPad Pro is packed with Apple's new A9X chip, which has twice as much memory bandwidth as it's predecessor, and generally up to 80 percent better than the previous chip. The graphics are supposedly 90 percent faster, with Apple claiming they are now 'console-class'. The M9 motion co-processor is now embedded within the A9X, meaning an always-on motion sensing device and a Siri that can be voice activated.
A nice feature of the iPad Pro is the inclusion of four speakers, which are automatically volume-adjusted depending on the way the device is being held, or positioned. It's interesting to see how this will function, but definitely some good news for the audiophiles interested in buying the new tablet.
There was no news regarding the RAM, though if it were to be following on from the iPad Air 2, we can assume the device is stocked with 2GB, though it would be nice to see this boosted to 4GB considering the screen size, and the multitasking feature of iOS9.
Cameras are the device are quite standard, with the front face camera being the usual 1.2MP FaceTime model we're so used to be seeing, and the rear-facing camera is the 8MP iSight Camera.
Apple has announced that the newest iPad device will be released in November, with the cheapest model being available for $799US (32GB Wi-Fi Option), and the top of the line model available for $1,079 (128GB LTE Option).
The selection of colours hasn't changed from the iPad Air 2, meaning Space Grey, Silver and Gold are for the choosing, with the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard being available to purchase from November also (according to the Apple website).
With the iPad Pro being priced a lot less than the 12" MacBook, plus, the additions of the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, it raises questions about Apple's strategy, and although the two products aren't necessarily competing, would users be willing to pay more money for an OSX device, when photo-editing tools, publication software and many other mobile alternatives are coming to market, and cloud storage being easily available.