Apple Announces New M1-Powered iPad Pro Models, Available This May

The new iPad Pros come equipped with new internals, including the company's proprietary M1 SoC.

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Apple's Spring Loaded event has come and gone, and while there were a few hardware announcements to note, the more-prominent unveiling was of the new iPad Pros. The two models, 11-in and 12.9-in, retail for $799 and $1299, respectively. They look like last year's iPad Pros but feature Apple's M1 system-on-a-chip and will be available in the second half of May. Preorders start on April 30.

This year's iPad Pros come with a bevy of improvements. There's the new ultra-wide front-facing camera equipped with Apple's Center Stage technology, which tracks your movements to keep you in frame at all times. Thunderbolt 3 support lets you connect high-speed accessories for even faster data transfer through the USB-C port. And cellular models feature 5G for quicker downloads and performance.

But the attention-grabbing inclusion is the M1 chip. This SoC cuts the need for various circuitry by combining everything onto one chip. The result is a smaller motherboard that produces faster performance. The communication between Apple's software and the M1 has been met with great fanfare since its November 2020 launch, with GameSpot sister site CNET praising the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini models.

One area where performance will see an increase is graphics. Apple said these new M1-equipped iPad Pros will deliver "up to 50 percent faster CPU performance" and "up to 40 percent faster GPU performance" than the A12Z Bionic chips in last year's models. This means gaming should run smoother, as the company highlighted someone playing a Devil May Cry game with a DualSense controller during the Spring Loaded event. This is a feature that will be available in iOS 14.5, which is rumored to launch sometime next week.

Apple also unveiled a redesigned iMac equipped with the M1 SoC, the long-rumored AirTags that connect to the Find My network to track items they're attached to, a 4K Apple TV model with the same A12 Bionic chip found in the iPhone 12, and an in-app paid subscription service for Podcasts to get perks like ad-free listening.

Also during the Spring Loaded event was the reveal of Ted Lasso Season 2, which airs exclusively on Apple TV+ on July 23. We also got a look at the new Apple TV 4K.

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