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New iPad Pro Adds Face ID, USB-C and Ditches the Home Button | News & Opinion

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In addition to overhauling its MacBook Air and Mac mini, Apple today also gave its iPad Pro lineup an upgrade that brings the tablet more in line with its iPhone X smartphones.

That includes the addition of Face ID, the demise of the home button, and an edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display. As a result, iPhone X gestures will come to iPad: swipe down from the upper-right for Control Center and swipe up for apps.

Notably, the new iPad Pro embraces USB-C, replacing the Lightning connector for charging. It will support USB 3.1 Gen 2 for high-bandwidth data transfers between cameras and musical instruments and support external displays up to 5K.

A next-gen $129 Apple Pencil will magnetically adhere to the iPad and charge wirelessly. A touch sensor on the stylus will recognize taps, according to Apple.

iPad Pro 2018

In terms of size, Apple unveiled a new 11-inch iPad Pro; that’s up from 10.5 inches, but doesn’t add any heft to the tablet’s body; it still weighs just a pound. The 12.9-inch will maintain that display size but come in a “dramatically smaller” body.

Both new iPad Pros are just 5.9mm thick, or 25 percent less volume than their predecessors.

The new iPad Pros run a new A12X Bionic chip with four performance cores and four efficiency cores. That provides “up to 35 percent faster single-core performance and a new performance controller for simultaneous use of all eight cores for an up to 90 percent boost during multi-threaded tasks,” Apple says. The seven-core Apple GPU offers up to twice the graphics performance.

The new tablets should get up to 10 hours of battery life.

Face ID, meanwhile, will work in any position, and will allow people to create Animoji and Memoji.

The new 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799, and the 12.9-inch version will start at $999. Both come in silver or space gray in 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB configurations. Apple has also added a new 1TB option, which could set you back as much as $1,899 for the Wi-Fi and cellular 12.9-inch model. Pre-orders for all models begin today and the new iPads arrive on Nov. 7.

Apple is also offering a new Smart Keyboard Folio in space gray for $179 for the 11-inch iPad Pro and $199 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. A new Smart Folio will also be on sale in a variety of colors for $79 for the 11-inch iPad Pro and $99 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

The existing 10.5-inch iPad Pro will remain on sale, beginning at $649.

Rob Marvin contributed to this report.

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