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Let Loose analysis: 11 talking points from Apple’s latest event

New iPad Pros. A fourth Apple Pencil. And an advert that crushed dreams

The latest Apple event reveled a spec-bumped iPad Air, a revamped iPad Pro, and yet another Apple Pencil. Much as expected. But dig into the finer details and there are interesting discoveries to be made.

High prices

The new iPad is absurdly thin and insanely powerful, featuring the new M4 chip. It has a fancy OLED display. None of which comes cheap. Even so, there were grumbles that Apple limited a nano-texture glass option to the most expensive models, and that it debuted yet more new pricey accessories – because existing iPad Pro ones are not compatible.

Stealth upgrades

Nano-texture glass isn’t all that’s limited to the most expensive iPad Pro models. Go for a 1TB or 2TB option and you get a faster M4 chip and more RAM. But you can’t twin 16GB of RAM with less storage to save money – unlike with a Mac. This may not matter today, since few iPad apps take advantage of that much RAM. But it would be good to have the choice.

Lagging software

Once again, iPad hardware outpaces software – and the latter barely got a mention during the event. Power users griped that Apple needs to do more to let people take full advantage of the iPad Pro’s capabilities – or at least not halt video renders in Final Cut Pro if you’ve the audacity to switch apps. Perhaps WWDC will bring much-needed change.

Pro apps

To be fair, it’s not like Apple had thrown Final Cut Pro for iPad and Logic Pro for iPad into a ditch before Let Loose. But you never know when excitement about new releases will wane. Instead, Apple revamped both apps with meaningful new features, suggesting the company’s in it for the long term. If only both enjoyed full feature-parity with their Mac counterparts.

A bigger iPad Air

The iPad line-up’s long been a mess, and few people relished the thought of another new model. But the 13in iPad Air might be a masterstroke. Sure, it lacks ProMotion and the Pro’s newer bleeding-edge screen tech. But it’s a sweet spot for people who need more space on their iPad, without spending a lot more money.

iPad Air M2

Meaningless names

This isn’t a new thing, given that Apple throws around ‘Pro’ with merry abandon. But we now have an iPad Air (which suggests a tablet with the least heft) that’s heavier than the iPad Pro. Weird. Then again, ‘iPad Mid-Range’ doesn’t have the same cachet.

A new (old) iPad

One of the biggest surprises in the event was Apple discontinuing the 9th-gen iPad (the last with a Home button), which primarily existed to be the most affordable iPad, until its successor’s price could be reduced without impacting on those lovely profits Apple likes so much. That time is now. So today, every new iPad is all-screen. Good.

Apple Pencils

Another Apple Pencil

There are now four Apple Pencils. Clearly, the original and 2nd-gen aren’t long for this world, but they remain available because each unit is compatible with specific iPads. When you need a checklist and table to decide which Pencil to buy, that isn’t ideal. With luck, half of them will soon go the way of the 9th-gen iPad.

Potential app issues

Probably. We don’t have a new iPad Pro or Air at the time of writing, but subtle changes in screen resolutions with these revamps suggest we’re in for another round of apps and games in ‘letterboxes’ while developers optimize them. It’s time Apple figured out how to ensure all apps and games ‘just work’ with any new screen size.

An ad blunder

We know what Apple was going for with its ad showing a press crushing creative and cultural items, inferring those things have been squeezed into the skinniest iPad Pro. But tone-deaf execution led to an outpouring of fury, from fuming creatives to Japanese people objecting on the basis their culture believes objects can have souls. Thereby making the ad even grimmer than you might have thought.

Tiny details: big wins

Apple showed off how the iPad Pro was better at scanning. We know: yawn. Except: no. With the adaptive flash and multiple snaps, scans look pristine rather than having shadows all over them. It’s a small thing. But also a feature we hope comes to the rest of Apple’s hardware – as boring as that might sound.