Ross Healy discusses Apple
Apple Inc. unveiled a new version of its iPad Pro that supports laptop-like trackpads as a new means of controlling the tablet, as well as upgraded cameras and microphones.
The company has also released a new US$999 MacBook Air model, with faster performance, a new keyboard, twice the storage capacity and a lower price, Cupertino, California-based Apple said in a statement on Wednesday.
With the new iPad, Apple is further blurring the lines between a tablet computer, which is typically a touchscreen device, and a laptop, usually controlled with a keyboard and mouse or trackpad. Before now, wireless mice were only supported with limited functionality as an accessibility option.
“We carefully considered the best way to integrate trackpad use into a touch-first environment while retaining everything our customers know and love about iPad,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, said in the statement.
It’s a difficult time to unveil a new product. The launch comes just a day after Apple said its stores outside of China would remain closed “until further notice,” in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus, no longer holding to the March 27 re-opening date it announced earlier.
Other new features on the iPad include a rear-facing 3D camera that lets the device measure the distance between itself and objects as far as 5 meters (16.4 feet) away, to be used with augmented-reality applications. The tablet also has two wide-angle lenses for taking pictures. Earlier models had only one camera.
A new keyboard accessory for the iPad Pro will be made available in May. With a price of US$300, the optional add-on costs more than a third as much as the tablet itself, which starts at US$799. “Pro” accessories such as AirPods Pro have been highly lucrative for the company.
The new iPad Pro and MacBook Air are available to order from Apple’s website.