Apple event recap: New M1-powered iPad Pro and redesigned 24” M1-based iMac
posted Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 3:30 PM EDT
Apple held an event today during which the Cupertino-based company announced a bevy of new products, including a new Apple TV 4K model, the long-rumored AirTag product, an M1-powered iPad Pro and a redesigned M1-powered iMac.
The new iPad Pro is powered by Apple's M1 chip, the same silicon found in Apple's MacBook Air, Mac Mini, 13" MacBook Pro and the new iMac. With the M1 chip, Apple promises that the new iPad Pro is as powerful and portable as ever. The M1 chip includes an 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine, which delivers up to 50 percent faster CPU performance and 40 percent faster graphics than the previous iPad Pro.
Like the prior generation, the new iPad Pro models come in 11" and 12.9" display sizes. However, the 12.9" model has many new tricks up its sleeve. The 12.9" model has a Liquid Retina XDR display, Apple's best and brightest display in an iPad model yet. The Liquid Retina XDR display builds upon the same technology as Apple's $5,000 Pro Display XDR, including the same 1,000,000:1 stated contrast ratio, P3 wide color, and HDR capabilities.
In addition to these features, the Liquid Retina XDR display has 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness, 1,600 nits of peak brightness when displaying HDR content, True Tone, ProMotion with adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. The display is powered by over 10,000 mini-LEDs, which are 120 times smaller than the previous generation mini-LEDs. The display has over 2,500 local dimming zones. With custom optical films and diffusers, the design is a mere 6.4mm thin.
The 11" iPad Pro includes a Liquid Retina display, which has 600 nits of peak brightness, True Tone, ProMotion and a P3 wide color gamut.
In terms of connectivity, both models now include 5G capabilities and Wi-Fi 6. The new models also include a new Ultra Wide camera with Center Stage. The 12MP camera, which includes TrueDepth for Face ID, offers a 122-degree field of view. Center Stage allows the camera to follow you in a scene while you FaceTime. For example, if you move side to side, the camera follows you and keeps you front and center. The new front-facing camera also works with Portrait mode for selfies. The rear camera array includes a 12MP Wide camera, 10MP Ultra Wide camera and a LiDAR scanner.
The new iPad Pro also now includes Thunderbolt, allowing for more versatile workflows. Wired connections can reach speeds up to 40 Gbps. The new iPad Pros can be used with fast external storage, displays and docks. It can even drive the Pro Display XDR at full 6K resolution. The new iPad Pro works with existing accessories, including the Apple Pencil, Magic Keyboard (which now comes in white), and the Smart Keyboard Folio.
iPad Pro will be available to order beginning April 30 with shipping beginning in the second half of May. The 11-inch iPad Pro with Liquid Retina display starts at $799 and comes in silver and space gray. The Wi-Fi + Cellular model starts at $999. Storage ranges from 128GB to a new 2TB option, which costs $1,899 in the Wi-Fi model and $2,099 with Wi-Fi + Cellular. The 12.9" iPad Pro with Liquid Retina XDR display starts at $1,099 for Wi-Fi and $1,299 for Wi-Fi + Cellular. The top-end 2TB model costs $2,199 ($2,399 with cellular connectivity). For additional information, visit Apple.
The highlight of today's event is the long-awaited redesigned iMac. The new iMac is a complete redesign from the ground up and is only 11.5mm thin. The ridiculously thin design is possible thanks to the inclusion of the Apple M1 chip, which is not only significantly smaller than previous-generation Intel-based chips, but it has much lower thermal demands, resulting in significantly more compact cooling systems.
The front of the iMac is dominated by the 24" 4.5K Retina display. The display has 4,480 x 2,520 resolution, which works out to 218 pixels per inch. The display has P3 wide color gamut and can display 1 billion colors. The display has 500 nits of brightness. The display has an anti-reflective coating and True Tone technology. Above the display is a new 1080p FaceTime HD camera with the M1 chip's image signaling processor.
The rear of the new iMac is a bit simpler than previous models, featuring four USB-C ports, two of which are Thunderbolt ports, a MagSafe power adapter, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a power button. The new iMac can support an additional external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz. Gone is an SD card slot, USB 2.0 ports and an Ethernet port. However, the MagSafe power cord, which is color-matched and woven, connects to a power supply that can be configured with a Gigabit Ethernet port.
On the inside, there's Apple's 8-core M1 chip with up to 16GB of unified memory and up to 2TB of storage. There are two configurations. The less expensive one starts at $1,299, and includes an M1 chip with an 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU. The higher-end configuration, which starts at $1,499, adds an eighth core to the GPU. Both models have a 16-core Neural Engine. The new iMac has an 85 percent faster CPU than the previous high-end 21.5" iMac, and its graphics performance is twice as fast. The higher-end machine comes in all seven of the new colors: blue, green, pink (red on the back), silver, yellow, orange and purple. The lower-end machine comes in blue, green, pink and silver.
The iMac comes with a color-matched keyboard and mouse. A new color-matched Magic Trackpad is also available. The standard Magic Keyboard now has keys for Spotlight, Dictation, Do Not Disturb and emoji. There are two optional new keyboards, which include Touch ID and a second one with Touch ID and a numerical keypad.
The new iMac will be available for purchase beginning April 30, with shipping expected in the second half of May. As mentioned earlier, the iMac starts at $1,299 with an 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU, 8GB of unified memory and 256GB of storage. The entry-level model has two thunderbolt/USB 4 ports. The mid-range model starts at $1,499 and comes with the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID. This mode has an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU and adds two USB 3 ports and Gigabit Ethernet. For $1,699, the highest-end model starts with 512GB of storage. At purchase, the user will be able to increase unified memory to 16GB and increase storage to up to 2TB (1TB for the base model). For more information, click here.