When is the iPad Pro coming out in the UK? What about the iPad Pro's new features, price, tech specs and onsale launch date?

Update, 9 September: At its 9 September iPhone 6s launch, Apple pulled a gentle surprise by unveiling an iPad at the same time - and not just any iPad. The iPad Pro. Phil Schiller took the spotlight to unveil this new category for Apple to approach, and called it 'the most capable and powerful iPad we've ever created'. 

iPad Pro launch: Design

iPad Pro design

Design-wise, the iPad Pro is a companion piece to the iPad Air 2: you're just getting a lot more iPad. Its general layout, its material, edging and so on all match. The positioning of the buttons, the Lightning and headphone ports, the Touch ID-equipped Home button: all of these are the same as on the smaller iPad Air 2. But there are some key differences to the design.

These are not cosmetic differences. Each one corresponds to something that the iPad Pro does differently.

iPad Pro design

One is that there are four speakers - resulting in far more volume output and (Apple claims) automatically reblancing audio performance. This is something we will talk about in more depth in the audio section of our specs report.

There is a new type of connector on the side of the iPad Pro: the lefthand side if you're holding it in portrait orientation. Apple calls it the Smart Connector, fairly straightforwardly. This is for the new Smart Keyboard accessory, which we will discuss in the accessories section.

Lastly, and probably most importantly, the screen's design has been enhanced. This isn't something that you will be able to notice from the exterior hardware, but Apple is confident that you'll notice is when the device is in use.

iPad Pro tech specs

The iPad Pro's tech specs are pretty impressive. Let's look at them in more detail.

iPad Pro screen size and resolution

The iPad Pro features a 12.9-inch (diagonal) display with a resolution of 2732 x 2048. That gives a pixel density of 264.68 (according to the excellent Pixel Density Calculator) - that's the same density as the iPad Air 2 across a far larger screen, and a total of 5.6 million pixels.

Apple boasted that the iPad Pro has more pixels than the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro.

iPad Pro launch: iPad Pro and iPad Air 2

iPad Air 2 (left) and iPad Pro

The iPad Pro offers 78 percent more screen space than the iPad Air 2. Its width is the same as the iPad Air 2's length, which makes it easy to run apps optimised for the smaller device in portrait, with the Pro in landscape orientation. Running two side by side would work well, too, thanks to the Split View in iOS 9.

iPad Pro specs: Processor

The iPad Pro's processor chip, as we expected, is the A9X: an update to the A8X chip in the iPad Air 2 (which is itself very fast, in our experience).

Apple boasted that the A9X chip offers 2x the memory bandwidth of the A8X, and 2x faster storage performance too. Overall speed is 1.8x the performance of the A8X, Apple says, although we'd like to run our own tests.

One last (two-part) boast about the iPad Pro's speed. Apple reckons that in CPU tests, the Pro is faster than 80 precedent of portable PCs, and faster than 90 percent in graphics tests. We'll update this article when we know a little more about the details of Apple's testing!

Here's Apple press release on the iPad Pro's speed:

iPad Pro delivers groundbreaking performance and energy efficiency, so you can tackle the most demanding tasks. Apple's powerful new 64-bit A9X chip, with third-generation 64-bit architecture, provides desktop-class CPU performance and console-class graphics."

iPad Pro specs: Camera

The iPad Pro gets an 8Mp front-facing iSight camera with the following specs:

  • 8MP iSight camera
  • Autofocus
  • ƒ/2.4 aperture
  • Five-element lens
  • Hybrid IR ?lter
  • Backside illumination
  • Improved face detection
  • Exposure control
  • Panorama (up to 43MP)
  • Burst mode
  • Tap to focus
  • Photo geotagging
  • Timer mode 

Yep, it's seemlngly identical to the camera on the iPad Air 2.

Video recording specs are also the same as the Air 2:

  • 1080p HD video recording (30 fps)
  • Slo-mo (120 fps)
  • Time-lapse video
  • Video image stabilisation
  • Improved face detection
  • 3x video zoom
  • Video geotagging

As is, last of all, the front-facing camera:

  • 1.2MP photos
  • ƒ/2.2 aperture
  • 720p HD video recording
  • Backside illumination
  • Auto HDR photos and videos
  • Improved face detection
  • Burst mode
  • Exposure control
  • Timer mode

iPad Pro battery life

According to Apple the iPad Pro will have a battery life of 10 hours. As with the speed metrics, we'd like to test that out for ourselves, but Apple tends to if anything underestimate the battery performance of its products.

One other element worth mentioning in relation to battery life: Apple says that the iPad Pro is at present the only iOS device that automatically adjusts its screen refresh rate depending on the amount of movement on screen - something which the company says allows it to save power when it isn't needed.

iPad Pro speaker and audio specs

The iPad Pro has a four-speaker audio system, as was rumoured beforehand. (The obligatory Jony Ive video gloated about this being "machined directly into the unibody enclosure".) The company observed that this is the first time an Apple product has offered this; we're willing to take their word for it.

iPad Pro launch: Speaker setup

What does this quad-speaker setup produce in practice? Three times the audio volume of the iPad Air 2, according to Apple. The setup also rebalances the sound performance depending on the way you're holding it. Something else to put to the test in our labs.

iPad Pro dimensions

The iPad Pro weighs roughly 710g (US-based Apple of course gave the weight in imperial measurements: 1.57lbs) and again the company was able to find a flattering comparison: in this case the iPad Pro is only fractionally heavier than the (1.54lb, or 680g) iPad 1, which of course had a massively smaller screen.

Thickness is also impressive: the iPad Pro is 6.9mm thick, which is only slightly thicker than the iPad Air 2 (6.1mm) while again offering an immensely bigger screen, greater speed and so on.

iPad Pro accessories

Apple unveiled two new accessories alongside the iPad Pro: a stylus called the Apple Pencil, and Smart Keyboard.

Apple Pencil

Yes, Apple has cracked and, after all those years saying that touch was the best interface method, it's launching a stylus to go with the iPad Pro. It's called Apple Pencil.

iPad Pro launch: Apple Pencil accessory

Jony Ive did his best to justify what can only be seen as a significant change in strategy by saying that the Apple Pencil gives you "the ability to touch a single pixel". It also charges by plugging directly into the iPad Pro's Lightning port. It costs $99 in the US. We'll update with a UK price when we have one.

Apple Smart Keyboard

Apple also unveiled a Microsoft Surface-esque keyboard cover. This is called the Apple Smart Keyboard, and will sell for $169 in the US. We'll update this article with a UK price when we have it.

iPad Pro launch: Smart Keyboard accessory

iPad Pro UK price and launch date rumours

Apple said the iPad Pro will go onsale in November: that's as specific as it was prepared to be. (Pre-launch rumours suggesed late-November, so don't back on anything happening near the start of the month.)

It will be available in just three storage configurations, confirming the pre-launch rumour that the 16GB option has been killed off. Your only options are 32GB or 128GB (if you want the Wi-Fi model) or 128GB (if you want it with cellular connectivity).

The US pricing of those three configurations is as follows:

  • $799 (32GB, Wi-Fi)
  • $949 (128GB, Wi-Fi)
  • $1,079 (128GB, Wi-Fi and cellular)

We'll update this article with UK pricing as soon as we hear from Apple, but they currently say only that "Pricing will be announced at availability."

The iPad Pro is available in three colours: silver, gold and Space Grey - it doesn't get the rose gold added to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

iPad Pro launch: colour options