Everything we know about the iPad Pro

With Apple's newest iPad predicted to hit shelves next week, we thought we'd take a moment to review what we can expect from the device Apple CEO Tim Cook is calling "the biggest news in iPad since the iPad."

Announced at Apple's annual fall press event in San Francisco this September, the iPad Pro is the Cupertino company's biggest tablet yet. With a 12.9 inch display (just one diagonal inch shorter than a standard sheet of paper), the iPad Pro is 78 percent larger than the iPad Air 2, and as wide as the iPad mini is tall. The jump in size makes it less-than-optimal for casual personal use, but much more practical for business users looking to take advantage of the A9x chip to run powerful apps with desktop-like performance.

For all of its size, however, the iPad pro remains relatively light and thin. Weighing in at 1.57 pounds, it weighs about the same as the original iPad, all the while keeping a slim profile (6.9mm thick, almost as thin as the 6.9mm Air 2).

Under the hood, Apple claims the new A9x chip will run 1.9 times faster than the previous model, while also offering graphics performance faster than 80 percent of portable PCs. With the increased processing power, iPad Pro users will be able to run desktop-style apps, such as the Microsoft Office and Adobe suites, simultaneously in the new side-by-side multitasking mode without losing graphics quality or speed. It will also reportedly house 4GB of Random Access Memory (RAM), twice the amount found in the iPad Air 2. Increased RAM allows a device to access data faster, resulting in a smoother user experience featuring faster graphics-intensive activities, such as video editing.

In a nod to its creative users, Apple also released a stylus-like accessory, dubbed the Apple Pencil, that is exclusively compatible with the iPad Pro. Its hefty $99 price tag aside, the Apple Pencil boasts a range of impressive technical features. Sensors in the Pencil's tip detect pressure and tilt, allowing users to vary the thickness of their lines by simply adding or subtracting pressure, as well as apply shade with the same tipping motion they would use with a lead or charcoal pencil. What's more, the Pencil can be charged directly from it's host's Lightening port. A measly 15 seconds of charge time yields 30 minutes of draw time, making the battery life practically unlimited.

For those looking to use their iPad Pro more like a laptop, Apple offers an all-new Smart Keyboard. Rather than use Bluetooth, the Smart Keyboard will connect to the iPad Pro via three magnetic circles on the tablet's side. In addition to improving Bluetooth-related connectivity issues, the magnetic port also powers the keyboard, making it lighter by eliminating the need for a battery. While it will cost $169, the full-sized keyboard is durable spill and stain resistant, it folds up to serve as a case.

Tying all this together, the iPad Pro boasts the most advanced tablet audio-visual experience to date. The 2,732 x 2,048-pixel resolution Retina display is complemented by an all-new four-speaker system. With a set of speakers on each corner that automatically adjust to their new position when flipped or turned, the iPad Pro will be three times louder than the iPad Air 2, according to Apple.

So, how much will it cost to get your hands on Apple's most powerful tablet? Pricing starts at $799 for the 32GB model, $949 for the 128GB model, and $1,079 for the 128GB LTE model, with accessories sold separately.

For help designing or implementing an iPad deployment program at your workplace, contact MC Services. Our certified IT consultants can provide Apple support and training, as well as iOS management services to help your company get the most out of its new hardware. Contact us today to get started!