Apple Launches iPad Pro With 8-core A12X SoC, Face ID, USB-C And Wirelessly Charged Apple Pencil

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Apple today pulled wraps off its all-new iPad Pro, which is the biggest design change to the professionally-oriented tablet since it first debuted in 2015. The bezels around the display have shrunken, and as you can clearly see, the venerable Home button has been jettisoned. Apple first completely removed the Home button on the iPhone X and continued the tradition with the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. Now that the iPad Pro no longer has a button on its front face, it too has adopted Face ID for authentication (like its iPhone siblings). 

However, whereas the iPhone family can only authenticate your face in a vertical orientation, the iPad Pro -- which is now available in 11- and 12.9-inch screen sizes -- can unlock either in a portrait or horizontal orientation. This expansion of Face ID capabilities is much appreciated given the fact that many people use iPads in orientated horizontally as they do vertically (with the UI rotating to match).

With respect to internals, the iPad Pro now ports Apple's blazing fast A12X Bionic SoC, which is an enhanced version of the A12 found in the 2018 lineup of iPhones. What's interesting is that this is an oct-core CPU design that is backed by a 7-core GPU. Given how dominant the A12 has been in performance benchmarks, we can't wait to see what kind of numbers the A12X is able to put on the scoreboard.

Although Apple doesn't tend to do comparisons against products from other manufacturers, Apple's Jon Ternus said that the A12X offers Xbox One S-class graphics performance. That's a mighty bid claim for a device that can easily fit in your briefcase or backpack.

As we've previously reported, Apple has decided to abandon its long-serving Lightning port in favor or USB-C with the new iPad Pro family. While we wish that Apple would have made the same move with the 2018 iPhones, the company seems to think that iPad Pro users would be more receptive to the interface change. This opens up the iPad Pro to greater compatibility with third-party accessories and cuts down on the number of cables and adapters that you'll have to carry around. Another added bonus is that the iPad Pro can now charge an iPhone thanks to its USB-C port.

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Another change comes in the form of the Apple Pencil. It has been redesigned with a much less obnoxious charging method. Whereas the previous Apple Pencil required you to remove a cap (which can get easily lost) and plug it into an iPad's Lightning port, the new one actually attaches magnetically to the side of the tablet. Once attached, it will then automatically wirelessly recharge.

The 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros start at $799 and $999 respectively and preorders open today. The tablets will begin shipping on November 7th.