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Let Loose Recap: Apple unveils new iPads, Pencil, Keyboard, and more

Apple’s latest live event just wrapped up, during which Tim Cook and co revealed several new pieces of hardware, including upgraded iPads and a powered-up Apple Pencil.

The presentation was especially targeted at creatives, showcasing all the ways Apple’s kit can help get you ideas from brain to screen. But even if you don’t have an artistic bone in your body, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about these updates. Let’s explore the details.

Apple Pencil Pro

For the digital artists of the world, it was the third generation of Apple’s smart stylus that stole the show.

A new squeeze gesture, similar to that found in AirPods, gives users another way to control the Pencil. Squeezing has multiple functions, from selecting objects you’re hovering over to launching a contextual menu filled with shortcuts, which will likely be commonly used for the eraser function. It looks like you can even create your own custom interactions.

Meanwhile a new gyroscope tracks the rotation of the Pencil, which is not only useful for flat-wedged tools like highlighter pens and paintbrushes but also a gesture in its own right called Barrel Roll. There’s also Haptic feedback that pulses to confirm actions, making the accessory even more tactile. And the Hover and Double-tap functions from the previous Apple Pencil are still here too.

Finally, Find My support makes it much less likely your expensive accessory will go AWOL, with Precision Finding available to help out if it falls down the back of the couch. A very welcome addition.

Apple Pencil Pro retails for $129, while the second-generation Apple Pencil remains for sale at $79.

A new Magic Keyboard

It’s been four years since the last version, but the iPad’s second most-popular accessory has finally been updated.

This new version targets the pro market, with several improvements. It has an aluminum base, a larger trackpad with haptic feedback, and a row of function keys. Together, these changes have the effect of turning an iPad into an ersatz MacBook. It’s thinner and lighter than the previous version too.

The Magic Keyboard is $299 or $349, depending on what you’re planning to pair it with – but note that it’s only compatible with the new iPad Pros, not any other iPad model. Speaking of which…

iPad Pro

Both the 11-inch and 13-inch models of iPad Pro just received hefty upgrades. Though they don’t look too different on the surface, inside you’ll find a huge leap in performance thanks to the all-new M4 processing chip. That goes beyond even the latest Mac computers, which use last year’s M3 chip. There’s also a new Neural Engine designed for machine learning and AI workloads, which Apple says is more powerful than any similar chip in any type of computer in the world.

The average user will barely scratch the surface of all that power, but it’s fantastic future-proofing: these devices are built to last, and will still feel snappy even in years to come.

Both models also now boast incredible Ultra Retina XDR displays using a new “Tandem OLED” technology, improving brightness, contrast, and viewing angles. It’ll look great on the 13-inch model, but it’ll feel like an even bigger leap to anyone upgrading from the 11-inch version’s LCD screen.

Apple is also giving the option of advanced nano-texture glass, like you’d find in the $5999 Pro Display XDR for pros who really need perfect contrast and minimal glare. As expected, it’s a pretty expensive optional upgrade – but Apple claims it’s the world’s most advanced display.

Although the overall design language hasn’t changed much, anyone who videoconferences will be pleased to know Apple has finally moved the front-facing camera to the long side of the device, a much more natural placement when the device is in landscape orientation.

Finally, these models are thinner and lighter than their predecessors – both clocking it at just over 5mm thick and around 1lb. That makes this iPad the thinnest product Apple has ever made, even thinner than the iPod nano. Thanks to the power efficiency of M4 and Tandem OLED, that doesn’t come at the expense of all-day battery life.

The 11-inch model starts from $999, while the 13-inch version starts from $1299. As before, they’re available in silver or space black; no kooky colors for pro users.

iPad Air

For the first time, Apple is offering a mid-range iPad at the same massive scale as its Pro models: this is the first iPad Air with a gigantic 13-inch variant, along with an updated 11-inch model. Like the Pro, the front camera is on one side, and Apple’s improved the speaker setup too. To the uninitiated, iPad Pro and iPad Air now look remarkably similar – and they’re both compatible with the new Apple Pencil Pro.

The differences are in the details, however. iPad Air has less impressive displays, sticking with Liquid Retina displays rather than the fancy Ultra Retina XDR we mentioned earlier. And inside, you’ll find an M2 chip rather than Apple’s top-of-the-line M4. That said, M2 remains impressive and will be plenty powerful enough for the vast majority of users. Apple says it’s 50% faster than the previous model, and 3x faster than the model before that.

iPad Air comes in four colors: blue, purple, starlight, and space gray. The 11-inch model still starts at $599, while the new 13-inch model starts from $799.

Updated Pro apps

It’s not just hardware Apple revealed at this event, but software too. Creative professionals will be pleased to see new versions of Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro for iPad, along with an all-new app called Final Cut Camera for both iPhone and iPad. Those apps include some awesome new features which we’ll dig into at a later date, including support for live Multicam editing and an AI-powered backing band.


All the products mentioned above are available to order immediately, and they’ll start shipping on May 15th.

Meanwhile, the 10th-gen iPad now starts at just $349, making it a great value option for those who don’t need to live on the cutting edge. That’s all for now!