Apple made a surprise announcement of the iPad Pro 2020 and MacBook Air 2020 refreshes. The announcements came in the form of press releases instead of Apple’s traditional March keynote event, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Apple surprised many enthusiasts, however, by not announcing the cheaper iPhone 9, which analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had predicted would be launched alongside other products in Apple’s March 2020 keynote.
However, here’s everything you would want to know about the new devices (or rather upgrades) announced by Apple.
iPad Pro 2020 Specs & Features
A lot of the external hardware remains the same as the older iPad Pro, but there are some notable upgrades. The biggest hardware upgrade comes to the camera department, where the iPad Pro 2020 models get more than one rear camera. The rounded-square-ish camera housing makes it’s way to the iPad Pro and houses three sensors this time. There’s a 12MP (wide) primary shooter, a 10MP ultra-wide shooter that Apple says can capture two times wider field of view than before, and a LiDAR sensor. The LiDAR sensor is an interesting addon.
LiDAR stands for Light Detection And Ranging, and it shall help the iPad machines measure the distance of physical objects in the field of view. This could be helpful in multiple scenarios, like getting more accurate background blur, but it should aid the most in AR apps and use-cases. Apple says the sensor can measure distances of products up to 5 meters from the iPad and can work both indoors and outdoors. It operates at nanosecond speeds, so it shouldn’t be hindering performance either. We could see improved performance and accuracy in AR apps and games, thanks to the new LiDAR sensor.
Apart from that, the machines get an SoC upgrade in the form of the new Apple A12Z Bionic, from the A12X Bionic. Apple says the A12Z can handle CPU-GPU intensive tasks, like 4K video editing and 3D modeling much better than before, while keeping the thermals in check. The new chip is also said to be power efficient than the previous one. The new iPad Pros are said to last up to 10 hours on a single charge, which is, more or less, similar to the old ones. Also, the new machines house more LTE bands than any other tablet in the market right now.
Coming to the feature a lot of people were desperately waiting for, iPads are finally getting trackpad support. iPad OS 13.2, slated to release later in March 2020, shall bring support for physical trackpads. With physical trackpads, iPads can make use of gestures and better element selection.
Apple has also unveiled a new keyboard attachment called the “Magic Keyboard”. The Magic Keyboard attachment houses a full-size keyboard (that has scissor switches) and, you guessed it, a trackpad.
The keyboard attaches magnetically to the iPad and features a floating design with angle adjustment & USB-C passthrough charging. The keyboard attachment shall also be compatible with older iPad Pro (3rd & 4th gen 12.9-inch, and 1st and 2nd gen 11-inch) models.
The new iPad Pro models also get new “Pro Microphones” that Apple says can record studio-quality audio, and should come helpful in video recording and calling.
Other features and add-ons, like the ProMotion (120Hz) True-Tone Liquid Retina display, the magnetically attaching pencil, Face ID, and high-quality front camera are retained.
Apple has abandoned the 64GB base model and now the iPad Pro shall start at 128GB of internal storage and go all the way up to a terabyte. There shall be two display sizes as usual: an 11-inch one and a 12.9-inch one. Both of these models shall be available in WiFi-only and WiFi + Cellular variants in two colors: Space Gray and Silver.
iPad Pro 2020 pricing & availability
The new iPad Pro machines are priced as follows:
|Variant||11-inch WiFi-only||11-inch WiFi + Cellular||12.9-inch WiFi-only||12.9-inch WiFi + Cellular|
All prices are in $ (US). The new iPad Pro models are available to order from Apple’s online store and offline stores as well (as soon as they’re open).
The new Magic Keyboard attachment shall cost $299 for the 11-inch iPad Pro, and $349 for the 12.9-inch one.
MacBook Air 2020 specs & features
Apple also announced an upgraded MacBook Air lineup. The new MacBook Air 2020 gets a lower price tag, double the storage, quad-core processor, and most importantly, the new Magic Keyboard.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is now not the only Apple notebook with a reliable keyboard. Apple announced a MacBook Air refresh that houses the new Magic Keyboard equipped with scissor-switches instead of the mushy butterfly ones. The new keyboard has the inverted-T arrow keys, and key-travel of 1mm, similar to the 16-inch Pro. There’s an Escape key too, and the Touch ID sensor sits on the top-right corner of the keyboard.
The new Air also has double performance, as Apple says. The machine packs 10th gen Intel Ice Lake processors (Y series), from a dual-core i3 up to a 1.2GHz quad-core i7, alongside Intel Iris Plus Graphics. It also now starts at 256 gigs of internal storage (SSD) and goes up to 2TB.
Apart from the CPU and keyboard, the new MacBook Air also sports Bluetooth 5.0, faster RAM, and improved speakers. Though it doesn’t include the amazing speakers from the 16-inch Pro, Apple says this year’s Air has “advanced stereo speakers”.
Apart from these changes, everything else remains the same as the old Air. The display is the same, the chassis and body are the same, and unfortunately, the 720p front webcam is the same.
Macbook Air 2020 pricing & availability
The new MacBook Air starts at $999 ($899 for education customers). For that price, the new Air seems like a much better deal than the previous model, which started at $1,099. It can be purchased from Apple’s stores, online and offline.
Mac Mini 2020 update
Apple also updated the Mac Mini lineup alongside the iPad Pro and MacBook Air. Mac Mini shall now start with 256GB of storage (doubled from older gen) and can be also be purchased in a 512GB variant. The Mac Mini is made up of 100% recycled aluminum. You can check details and purchase the update Mac Mini from Apple’s online and offline stores starting today.
What remains a mystery still, is the rumored iPhone 9. It was supposed to be launched at Apple’s March keynote event, but maybe Apple will launch it soon. Also, the addition of the LiDAC sensor has stirred up rumors of this year’s iPhones featuring the sensor as well.
However, the lower price-tag on the MacBook Air, along with the upgrades, especially the keyboard, has definitely made it much more reasonable and go-to option for people. It still isn’t a powerhouse, but that’s kind of the point, it wasn’t meant to be a powerhouse. We also feel the new iPad Pro 2020 is good. It really has no competition at the moment, but could it be a laptop replacement yet?
What do you think about all these new upgrades and updates? Let us know in the comments below.