The 2020 iPad Pro models have received no major design refreshes and continue to look like the 2018 iPad Pro models. There are two sizes: 11 inches and 12.9 inches.
Apple’s 11-inch iPad Pro measures in at 9.74 inches long and 7.02 inches wide, while the 12.9-inch model measures in at 11.04 inches long and 8.46 inches wide, so it’s over an inch wider and taller than the smaller model.
Both iPad Pro models are just 5.9mm thick. The 11-inch iPad Pro weighs in at 1.04 pounds and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro weighs 1.41 pounds. Apple offers the iPad Pro models in either a Silver or Space Gray aluminum.
The 2020 iPad Pro models continue to feature an edge-to-edge display with 6mm bezels at the top, bottom, and sides. Rather than smooth, tapered edges, the iPad Pro models feature a more industrial-like band around the sides reminiscent of the design of the iPhone 4 or the iPhone SE.
There is no Touch ID Home button, as the iPad Pro instead uses a TrueDepth camera system with facial recognition capabilities for biometric authentication. The TrueDepth camera is located in the top bezel of the iPad Pro.
At the top of the iPad Pro, there’s a sleep/wake button along with two speakers. On the right side, there are volume up and down buttons, a magnetic connector, and a nano-SIM tray on cellular iPads. As with prior models, there is no headphone jack on the iPad Pro and Bluetooth headphones or headphones that work with USB-C are required.
The back of the iPad Pro is where the sole design change is, with 2020 models featuring a square-shaped camera bump housing a wide-angle camera, an ultra wide-angle camera, the new LiDAR Scanner, and a True Tone flash. The new square-shaped camera bump is larger than the prior vertical camera bump in the 2018 iPad Pro, which featured a single-lens camera setup.
At the bottom of the iPad Pro there’s a USB-C port for charging and connecting accessories. USB-C allows the iPad Pro to be connected to 4K or 5K displays, cameras, and other USB-C devices. The USB-C port supports USB 3.1 Gen 2 transfer speeds and it can be used to charge an iPhone or Apple Watch with the appropriate cable.
Apple’s 2020 iPad Pro models use the same “Liquid Retina” edge-to-edge display that was available in 2018 iPad Pro models, which Apple at the time called its most advanced display yet.
The 11-inch iPad Pro features a resolution of 2388 x 1668, while the 12.9-inch model has a resolution of 2732 x 2048, and both have 264 pixels per inch like prior models. The iPad Pro displays feature 600 nits brightness, 1.8 percent reflectivity, an antireflective coating, and a fingerprint-resistant coating.
Wide color support ensures rich, vivid colors that are true to life and accurate, while True Tone adjusts the display to match the white balance of the lighting in the room to make the screen easier on the eyes.
ProMotion display technology with a 120Hz display refresh rate is included, which makes motion content on the screen smoother, crisper, and more responsive for reading, gaming, watching movies, and more.
The iPad Pro’s display refresh rate is dynamic and can change depending on what you’re looking at as a battery-saving measure. If you’re watching a movie or playing a game, the refresh rate is at 120 Hz, but if you’re reading a web page or looking at a photo, you don’t need a 120 Hz refresh rate, so it adjusts accordingly.
Face ID and TrueDepth Camera System
Instead of authenticating and unlocking through a Touch ID fingerprint system, the iPad Pro uses the Face ID feature that Apple has been adding to its products since 2017. Face ID does all of the same things that Touch ID does, like unlocking your iPad, allowing access to third-party passcode-protected apps, confirming purchases, and authenticating Apple Pay payments.
Face ID uses sensors and cameras built into the top bezel of the iPad Pro, and Apple calls its multi-component setup the TrueDepth camera. To create the scan of your face that’s used for authentication purposes, a dot projector projects over 30,000 invisible infrared dots onto your face.
The dot map is read by an infrared camera and the structure of your face is relayed to the A12Z Bionic processor in the iPad Pro where it is transformed into a mathematical model.
It takes just a fraction of a second for the iPad Pro to scan your face, recognize you, and unlock the device. Face ID is more secure than Touch ID, and it is unable to be fooled by a photo, mask, or other facial imitation. An “Attention Aware” security feature makes sure your iPad Pro only unlocks when you look at it with your eyes open, so it knows not to work when there’s not a live person in front of it.
Face ID data is encrypted and stored in the Secure Enclave of the A12Z chip. Authentication happens on device, with no data stored in the cloud, sent to Apple, or accessible by apps.
Apple has designed Face ID to work in the dark, when wearing sunglasses, and with the face partially obscured by beards, glasses, makeup, scarves, and other accessories. Face ID is also able to adapt to changes in the face, so if you’re slowly growing out a beard or your hair, it continues to recognize you.
Face ID on the iPad Pro works in both landscape and portrait orientation, a feature unique to the iPad. With iPhones, the device must be held in portrait orientation for Face ID to work properly.
The front-facing TrueDepth camera system includes a 7-megapixel camera for selfies and FaceTime videos, plus it supports Portrait Mode, Portrait Lighting, and Animoji and Memoji.
A12Z Bionic Chip
The 2020 iPad Pro is equipped with an A12Z Bionic chip, which is an upgrade over the A12X chip featured in the 2018 iPad Pro models.
The A12Z Bionic features an 8-core CPU, an upgraded 8-core GPU, enhanced thermal architecture, and tuned performance controllers for what Apple says is the highest performance ever in an iPad.
The A12Z Bionic is faster than the chips included in many PCs, and it was built for demanding tasks like 4K video editing and designing 3D models.
It’s been confirmed that the A12Z is a re-binned version of the A12X with an extra GPU core enabled. The A12X has a 8-core GPU, but one of the cores is deactivated, so it is functionally a 7-core GPU. The A12Z is an A12Z with that extra GPU core available.
The A12Z includes a Neural Engine that’s able to perform five trillion operations per second, allowing more than ever to be done in real time. The Neural Engine powers all of the machine learning features in the iPad Pro, like photo search, Face ID, and augmented reality experiences.
Apple’s Neural Engine allows for faster Face ID facial recognition, faster plane detection for augmented reality apps, speed improvements for other tasks that use real-time machine learning, and it powers the LiDAR sensor in the 2020 iPad Pro.
All 2020 iPad Pro models feature 6GB RAM. With the 2018 iPad Pro, models with 1TB of storage had 6GB RAM, while the rest had 4GB RAM.
There’s a whole new dual-camera system available in the 2020 iPad Pro, featuring a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera with an f/1.8 aperture and a 10-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera with an f/2.4 aperture and a 125 degree field of view.
Apple says that the ultra wide-angle camera can be used to zoom out two times for a much wider field of view, doubling the photo and video possibilities and enabling different perspectives and multi-camera use.
True Tone Flash, 5x digital zoom, 63-megapixel panoramas, wide color capture, noise reduction, smart HDR, burst mode, Live Photos support, and auto image stabilization are all included features. Like the 2018 models, the 2020 iPad Pro models do not feature optical image stabilization.
As for video, the iPad Pro can record 4K video at up to 60 frames per second with either camera, plus it supports slo-mo video, time-lapse video, and cinematic video stabilization when recording at 720 or 1080p.
Next to the two cameras in the iPad Pro’s square-shaped camera bump, there’s a new LiDAR Scanner (Light Detection and Ranging) that Apple says “enables capabilities never before possible on any mobile device.”
The LiDAR Scanner uses reflected light to measure the distance from the iPad Pro to surrounding objects that are up to five meters away (16.4 feet), either indoors or outdoors. The measurements are taken at the photon level at nano-second speeds.
Depth frameworks included in iPadOS combine depth points measured by the LiDAR Scanner, data from the two cameras, and data from motion sensors with computer vision algorithms handled by the A12Z Bionic to create a more detailed and complete understanding of a scene.
Apple says that the integration of all of these elements enables a new class of augmented reality experiences on the iPad Pro. Existing ARKit apps will get instant AR placement, improved motion capture, and people occlusion, while developers can take advantage of a new Scene Geometry API that uses the LiDAR Scanner for scenarios “never possible before.” One example of what can be done was demonstrated by Complete Anatomy, an app that is using the technology to measure range of motion in people healing from injuries.
On the iPad Pro, the Measure app is able to take advantage of the LiDAR Scanner to make it faster and easier to automatically calculate a person’s height.
There are also new vertical and edge guides that appear to help people more quickly and accurately measure objects, and Apple has added a Ruler View for more granular measurements.
The 11-inch iPad Pro has a 28.65-watt-hour battery while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a 36.71-watt-hour battery.
Both iPad Pro models offer up to 10 hours of battery life when surfing the web or watching video and can be recharged over USB-C and the included 18W power adapter that ships with them.
WiFi + Cellular models offer up to nine hours of battery life when surfing the web using LTE.
Other iPad Pro Features
Microphones and Speakers
There are five studio-quality microphones included in the iPad Pro for capturing super clean audio and the quietest details.
Apple has also equipped the iPad Pro with a four-speaker audio setup that adjusts sound to any orientation. There are two speakers at the top of the iPad and two speakers at the bottom, enabling stereo sound.
When an MFi compliant case such as the Magic Keyboard or Smart Keyboard is attached to the iPad Pro and closed, there’s a hardware microphone disconnect feature that disables the microphone all together.
WiFi 6 Support
The 2020 iPad Pro models support WiFi 6, otherwise known as 802.11ax. The updated standard offers faster speeds, improved network capacity, better power efficiency, lower latency, and upgraded connectivity when there are multiple WiFi devices in the same area.
WiFi 6 devices also support WPA3, which is a security protocol that offers improved cryptographic strength.
The 2020 iPad Pro models support Bluetooth 5.0 technology. Despite rumors of a U1 chip in the iPad Pro, it has been confirmed that Apple did not include the U1 chip in the device. It remains limited to the new iPhone models.
Gigabit-class LTE is available in the cellular 2020 iPad Pro models, and Apple says that these new modem chips support the most bands ever in an iPad.
Support for bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 29, 30, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46, 48, 66, and 71 is included.
There are two SIM options in the iPad Pro: a physical nano-SIM slot at the side of the device and an eSIM, or digital SIM, which is designed to work without the need for a physical SIM card.
The physical nano-SIM slot supports the Apple SIM that is designed to let users swap between carriers without a hassle. Many carriers in the U.S. and other countries support the Apple SIM, but for those that don’t, like Verizon, a physical SIM card is still required.
Apple’s iPad Pro models start out with 128GB of storage, up from the previous 64GB storage that was available on the entry-level 2018 iPad Pro model. Storage on the iPad Pro can be upgraded to 1TB, and all storage upgrade options are $50 cheaper than they were for the 2018 iPad Pro storage upgrades.
The Smart Connector on the back of the iPad Pro is designed to allow it to communicate with and power accessories like the Smart Keyboard Folio. The Smart Connector interface is able to transfer both power and data, so accessories that connect to the iPad Pro through it do not need batteries.
Magic Keyboard and Trackpad Support
Alongside the new iPad Pro, Apple introduced the Magic Keyboard, which is a folio-style case that features a full backlit keyboard and, for the first time, a trackpad. The Magic Keyboard uses scissor mechanisms much like the keyboard of the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro.
The scissor mechanism provides 1mm of travel, for what Apple says is the best typing experience ever on iPad.
The Magic Keyboard attaches to the iPad Pro through a magnetic connection, and it features cantilevered hinges that works on a desk or on a lap. The hinges allow for adjustments of the viewing angle up to 130 degrees, so it can be tweaked for every usage situation.
The design of the Magic Keyboard allows the iPad to “float” in the air, with the bottom part of the case tilting backwards when used in keyboard mode.
When not in use, the keyboard’s folio-style design keeps the iPad Pro safe, covering the front and back of the iPad. A USB-C port is included on the Magic Keyboard for passthrough inductive USB-C charging capabilities, leaving the iPad Pro’s USB-C port free for accessories like external drives and displays.
iOS 13.4 brings trackpad and mouse support to the iPad Pro, and the trackpad was “completely reimagined for the iPad” and its touch-first interface, though it should still be familiar to Mac users. The cursor on the iPad displays as a circle that highlights various user interface elements, text fields, and apps on the Home screen or dock, making it clear what can be clicked on.
Gestures on the trackpad are designed to let users switch between apps, access the app switcher, and activate the Dock, Control Center, and apps in Slide Over. Multi-touch gestures on the trackpad allow for quick and easy navigation through iPadOS.
Apple designed trackpad support to integrate into both first and third-party apps. Scrolling through web pages in Safari and photo libraries in Photos is supported, for example, as is precisely editing text in notes and other apps, viewing and organizing email in Mail, and more.
Apple says that most third-party apps will work with no changes at all, and developers will be able to take advantage of new APIs for deeper trackpad support.
While the iPad Pro was designed to work with the Magic Keyboard for iPad, it also supports the Magic Mouse, Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad, Magic Trackpad 2, and third-party mice options using Bluetooth or USB.
Apple has also introduced a new standard Smart Keyboard Folio that is compatible with the 2020 iPad Pro models.
2020 iPad Pro models work with the second-generation Apple Pencil that was introduced in 2018. Priced at $129, the Apple Pencil connects to the iPad Pro using magnets, and when attached magnetically, it charges inductively. Pairing is also done through the magnetic attachment.
Gesture support is included with the second-generation Apple Pencil, and with a tap, you can change brushes or quickly switch from a brush to an eraser without having to pick up the pencil and select a new tool.
The Apple Pencil works across the iPad Pro, with first and third-party apps, though it is designed primarily for use in writing and sketching apps. It features advanced palm rejection, extreme precision, and imperceptible lag for a paper-like writing experience that’s unmatched by third-party styluses.
Pressure support allows thinner and thicker lines to be drawn by increasing the amount of pressure on the iPad’s screen, and side nib detection allows for shading when the Apple Pencil is tilted.
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