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Apple Lets Loose Brand New iPads During May Event

The silicon valley tech giant announced in the past weeks the occurrence of their annual May event, dubbed “Let Loose”. The broadcast, which lasted thirty eight minutes, was quick paced with a strong focus on iPad. This comes after Apple spent 18 months without announcing new models of the gadget, which left fans, enthusiasts, and business analysts worried whether Apple could still innovate in the market of tablets. To our surprise, the livestream was packed with product releases and was considered by Apple CEO Tim Cook “the biggest day for iPad since its introduction”.

iPad Air

A new model of the iPad Air was announced in a variety of colors, including blue, purple, starlight, and space gray. For the first time ever, it will be available in two different sizes: 11 and 13-inch. Additionally, it is also powered by Apple’s flagship M2 chip, providing the same performance a 2022 MacBook Air – that carries the same system – has in a portable format.

The display composed of a high-resolution Liquid Retina comes completely laminated to reduce reflectivity. On top of the anti reflective coating, it can also brighten up to 600 nits to provide a crystal clear view of the content on screen. In 13-inch models, the screen is expanded by 30%, leaving more room for users to utilize their apps.

Those who use the new Air for video calling will find that the auto-focusing front camera has taken a new place in the landscape bar of the device, a move that was previously done with the introduction of the iPad 10th generation back in October 2022. Plus, a 12 megapixel wide camera on the back will enable users to capture photos and videos in 4K.

The new iPad Air starts at $599 for the 11-inch model, and $799 for the 13-inch one. Both models also were granted the possibility to be equipped with up to 1TB of storage. Pre-orders done through the Apple website will start arriving to customers on May 15.

The star of the event was the new iPad Pro, with a drastically re-designed enclosure. Like the Air, it will be available in 11 and 13-inch sizes. It also comes with a new Ultra Retina XDR display which Apple claims to be “the world’s most advanced display”. 

The display, powered by a custom-engineered two-layer OLED panel can literally brighten up the room with its peak brightness of 1600 nits. On top of that, customers will also be able to request their iPad to come with a nano-texture glass that takes color management to the next level, reducing glare even more.

What is even more surprising is the astounding thickness of the device as a whole. With the enclosure being 5.1 millimeters thick, the company claims that the new, 13-inch iPad Pro is the thinnest Apple product ever. It is also one of the lightest: weighing 0.98 pounds, or 444 grams. Both devices feature fully recycled aluminum enclosures, as Apple transitions to fully carbon neutral operations by 2030.

The new Pro also counts with a new 2TB storage option for customers, unspokenly aimed at film and media producers who seek to have the possibility of waving through footage and content on its maximum resolution within the thin device.

The new iPad Pro will be available in conjunction with the new Air starting on May 15, at the base price of $999 with 256GB of storage.

The M4

To the surprise of most, the new iPad runs on the entirely new M4 silicon. This marks the first time ever that an iPad receives a chip upgrade before a Mac machine. The new chip’s architecture is surrounded by the second-generation 3-nanometer technology that goes beyond the industry standard in power consumption, reducing energy usage by almost a half when compared to the M2. It is also equipped with a powerful new display engine that ensures that color and brightness are the most precise they can be on the new Ultra Retina XDR display.

A focal point in the development of the fourth entry of the Apple silicon lineup is the improvement of the embedded Neural Engine. The Engine, which powers all of the Machine Learning algorithms and AI workflows, has received a major buff and is now capable of processing up to 38 trillion operations per second. Apple claims that this rate of capability is “faster than the neural processing unit of any AI PC today.” 

Plus, the integration of a new CPU unit raises the amount of cores up to 10, pushing the limits on the capabilities of the device. It also comes with a new GPU, capable of ray tracing and mesh shading. This brings both features for the first time ever to iPad.

It is expected that the next generation of Mac devices will be powered by the M4. The computers are not set to release anytime soon though, with a possible release by early 2025, according to internet blog MacRumors.

Controversy over advertisement

With the new release of the iPad Pro, Apple accompanied it with a minute-long advertisement titled “Crush!”. The plot of the short video entailed a compression press pushing down several objects such as a trumpet, an old analog T.V., and several creative tools. At the end of the action, the iPad Pro is revealed from underneath the press head, highlighting its thinness.

This advertisement was blatantly criticized by the media and internet users, sparking anger within the creator community as analog tools were crushed to reveal an iPad in a time where artificial intelligence is able to replicate their work without having a sense of copyright. The community finds itself divided too. The Hollywood Reporter features editor Julian Sancton shared that the advertisement portrayed the iPad Pro as “All of human creation sacrificed for a lifeless gadget.”. On the other hand, MacWorld editor David Price points out that the complaints from internet users are exaggerated and unserious.

Due to this, Apple Marketing Vice-President Tor Myhren decided to release a firm apology on May 9th to the creator community. “Creativity is in our DNA at Apple, and it’s incredibly important to us to design products that empower creatives all over the world. Our goal is to always celebrate the myriad of ways users express themselves and bring their ideas to life through iPad. We missed the mark with this video, and we’re sorry.” read his statement shared with the Ad Age.

Magic Keyboard & Apple Pencil Pro

Alongside the full-screen devices, the next generation of peripheral accessories for the iPad dropped with the reveal of the brand-new Magic Keyboard and the Apple Pencil Pro. Both of these accessories were designed around the new iPad Pro, empowering users and creatives to enhance their workflow in unique ways.

The new Magic Keyboard counts with a USB-C port that provides power and connectivity to the Pro when attached magnetically. It also counts with a redesigned trackpad with haptic feedback, giving the user a Mac machine-like experience. It is also fitted with a function row, assimilating its desktop counterpart, that provides very similar functionality as the previously mentioned.

Alongside the Magic Keyboard, the Apple Pencil Pro was announced with next-generation gesture recognition controls that blend alongside the Pro’s flagship display technology. The new sensors on both electronics are capable of recognising the position and orientation of the stylus, and use this information to deliver superior experiences primarily targeted at artists and digital illustrators. It is also compatible with Apple’s Find My technology, enabling pencil owners to locate and track back their accessory if they misplaced it.

So, what comes next?

Overall, Apple’s occasion this spring was loaded for iPad with the announcement of the new generation Air and Pro, including the companion peripherals of the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil Pro.

However, enthusiasts have observed that the technology giant has silently enabled a new Eye Tracking feature predominantly aimed at persons with physical disabilities that enables them to control their devices using solely their eyes, similar to how the Vision Pro – Apple’s entry into the immersive reality market – operates. This could potentially open new possibilities on how users can operate their gadgets and pave the way for possibly exciting integrations with the Vision Pro.

Up next, Apple will host their yearly Worldwide Developers Conference at the Apple Park, in Cupertino, California. The opening keynote, scheduled to take place on June 10th, is expected to reveal the next generation of iOS, which according to AppleInsider may contain a revamped design for the portable devices mimicking the crystalline interface that the Vision Pro counts with.

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