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Hands-on with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, built for getting stuff done

Susie Ochs | Sept. 11, 2015
The iPad Pro is ready to work, with a huge screen perfect for multitasking and an Apple Pencil for precision design and artistry.

ipad pro apple pencil lightning connector
The Lightning connector for charging is hidden in the end of the Pencil.  Credit: Susie Ochs

A Lightning connector hidden in the end of the Pencil lets you plug it right into the iPad Pro for charging. An Apple rep told me that its quick-charging feature lets it grab enough juice for another hour or so of work in just a few minutes, and a full charge should last all day. You can plug it into an AC charger with an adapter that I didn’t get to see—and I dearly hope is included in the purchase price.

Apple also created its own Smart Keyboard, similar in appearance to the Touch Covers that Microsoft makes for the Surface tablets. It closes around the front of the iPad Pro and flips back to form a stand, just like the Smart Covers Apple has made for a while. But it has a built-in, fabric-surface keyboard with short key travel similar to the new MacBook. Third-party keyboards will be able to use the iPad Pro’s Smart Connector, which powers and pairs the keyboard for you automatically—Logitech just announced one.

ipad pro apple pencil plugged in
You can charge the Pencil directly from the iPad Pro, or use a charger with the help of (sing it with me) an adapter. Credit: Susie Ochs 

I actually didn’t get hands-on with it—by the time I got all the photos and video I needed of everything else, it was getting late and they were packing it up. 

More of the same, FTW

Apple talked about how much faster the iPad Pro’s A9X chip is than the A8X in the iPad Air 2, but remained characteristically mum about details like how much RAM it has. Apple has teamed up with IBM to create iPad apps to be used for all kinds of work, since anything a clipboard can do, an iPad can do so much better, and having a laptop-quality iPad Pro on the high end of the line can open up more possibilities for people who need big power in a package that’s half a pound lighter than the MacBook. My demo running splitscreen Microsoft Office apps was impressive, but when developers put the pedal to the iPad Pro’s Metal, it’s going to be fun to see what happens.

The new iPad Pro starts at $799 for a 32GB model with Wi-Fi. If you want more storage, there’s a 128GB model (nope, no 64GB) with Wi-Fi for $949. Gotta have cellular? Your only option is a 128GB version for $1079. The Pencil is $99 and the Smart Keyboard is $169. Everything ships in November, and we’ll have a review up as soon as we can.


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