Apple Unveils New iPad Pro with ‘Outrageously Powerful’ AI-Powered Chip

Apple AI-Powered Chip

The tech giant introduces its most advanced iPad lineup yet, featuring the M4 chip and enhanced AI tools

Apple is banking on its latest iPad lineup to revive its sluggish tablet market. During a pre-recorded live-streamed event from Cupertino, California, the company introduced new versions of the iPad Pro and iPad Air, as well as an all-new Apple Pencil Pro.

Apple CEO Tim Cook emphasized the significance of Tuesday’s announcement, calling it “the biggest day for iPad since its introduction.”

At the heart of the new iPad Pro is Apple’s custom M4 processor, described by CEO Tim Cook as an “outrageously powerful chip for AI.” This cutting-edge processor delivers four times the performance of existing iPad Pro models. Given that Apple’s current MacBook lineup runs on the M3 chip, the M4 represents a significant leap in processing power and efficiency, solidifying its position as the most advanced chip ever used in an iPad. With its enhanced GPU and neural engine, the M4 chip is specifically designed to support AI-driven software, enabling faster, more seamless multitasking and optimized performance for demanding applications like video editing, gaming, and productivity tools.

The New iPad Pro
At the core of the new iPad Pro is Apple’s custom M4 processor, which delivers four times the performance of existing iPad Pro models. Given that Apple’s current MacBook lineup runs on the M3 chip, Cook described the M4 as an “outrageously powerful chip for AI.”

The new iPad Pro will be available in two sizes: 11 inches and 13 inches. The 11-inch model is Apple’s thinnest yet, at just 5.1 mm thick and weighing less than a pound. The display combines two OLED panels to enhance brightness, while the iPad Pro itself is available in two finishes: silver and space black.

The Upgraded iPad Air
For the first time, the iPad Air will come in two sizes: 11 inches ($599) and 13 inches ($799). Inspired by the iPad Pro, the larger model provides 30% more screen space than the 11-inch display. Both models are powered by Apple’s custom M2 processor, which features a faster GPU and neural engine that’s 50% quicker than the previous iPad Air, enabling better support for AI-powered software.

The new iPad Air also includes a front-facing landscape camera.

The All-New Apple Pencil Pro
Apple has revamped the Apple Pencil Pro ($129), introducing a new squeeze function that lets users access tools, customize drawing layers, and receive haptic feedback. It also supports the Find My feature to locate the pencil when it’s misplaced.

Magic Keyboard and Final Cut Upgrades
Apple showcased a redesigned Magic Keyboard featuring a haptic trackpad to make the iPad more like a laptop. Key apps, including Final Cut, have also been significantly upgraded to include AI-based audio and editing features.

Availability and Market Context
The new iPad lineup is available for pre-order starting Tuesday and will be in stores next week. The announcement comes shortly after Apple reported a 17% year-over-year drop in iPad revenue, reaching $5.6 billion in its latest quarter. However, the company expects iPad business to grow in double digits in the June quarter.

Despite the dip in iPad sales, Apple also announced a $110 billion share buyback—the largest in company history—as iPhone sales declined 10%.

Analyst Perspectives
Ben Wood, chief analyst at market research firm CCS Insight, said that the iPad Pro’s new M4 chip and significant performance improvements could generate excitement among consumers.

“While these new iPads are unlikely to return the category to growth immediately, they represent a much-needed reason to upgrade for customers with aging products,” he said. “The emphasis on artificial intelligence was palpable with Apple determined to seize back the initiative in this area given the huge focus on this topic by all its rivals over the last 18 months.”

Tim Cook portrait

Looking Ahead
During the earnings call last week, Tim Cook hinted at the potential for generative AI tools to come to Apple products in the “weeks ahead,” as Apple currently lags behind its competitors in the space.

“We see generative AI as a key opportunity across our products and believe we have advantages that set us apart there,” he said.

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