Apple Unveils New iPad Air, iPad Pro, Apple Pencil Pro, and Magic Keyboard

Originally published at: Apple Unveils New iPad Air, iPad Pro, Apple Pencil Pro, and Magic Keyboard - TidBITS

Everyone expected iPad announcements from Apple’s Let Loose event, and the company didn’t disappoint. It introduced new 11-inch and 13-inch models of the iPad Air and iPad Pro, alongside a new Apple Pencil Pro and redesigned Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro.

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I remain convinced that Macs (and other computers) are for content creation; iPads are for content consumption (and maybe gaming), and they just don’t need that much power—or that steep a price.


Interesting Fact. The basic iPad is $350.00. The new magic keyboard is $300. By any chance does the price of the keyboard have anything to do with the legalization of cannabis?

One additional thought: I figured out a possible reason it was named the Magic Keyboard; given its price point it will be a neat trick if they can get anyone to buy it!


High-end tablets are neither frivolous nor misguided for some content creators. For those who work in visual arts, a touchscreen is an extremely helpful tool. Prior to professional-level tablets, having a screen you could directly draw on with a stylus on a Mac was an expensive add-on (a base-level Wacom Cintiq is in the same price range as a regular iPad).

If you don’t draw, you may not appreciate how much more natural it is to draw on the screen with a stylus than to approximate it with a mouse, trackball, or trackpad. The number of digital artists I encounter who use an iPad Pro for their creative work is huge. Many use them in conjunction with more traditional computers (Mac, Windows, or Linux), but an iPad Pro is invaluable for the act of drawing itself.

You can believe whatever you want, but you are categorically incorrect to assert that tablets are not for content creation.


Missed opportunity: clean up the naming.
iPad mini, iPad SE, iPad (Plus), iPad Pro (Max). Done.
Final step: thinning. Drop the 13" Air and the 11" Pro.

Sure, it would be fairly obvious to add macOS capability to the iPP when you attached a KB. But why? The very cheapest 13" iPP with MK is $1528 (about the cost of a base 14" MBP). Over $500 more expensive than the 13" MBA. Oh well. Perhaps an 11" iPP with macOS makes sense for those looking for an 11" MBA. It would still be $300 more expensive than the 13" MBA. Tells me what a great deal the MBA is and how expensive Apple has made these iPads.

Overall, what I liked most about this announcement is that it bodes well for all the rumors claiming that the Mac Studio and Pro will head straight to M4 Max/Ultra (based on the improved N3P process) later this year together with a MBP refresh. I feel I kind of missed the moment to upgrade my M1 14" to the M3 when it came out last Oct. But by fall 2024 my M1 will be 3 years old and I’ll have no qualms whatsoever upgrading straight to M4. For the first time in forever, I will probably not be getting AppleCare for my new MacMook. They’re just that rock solid. :+1:

Fair point: And drawing!


I’ve been using an 11” iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil for photo editing for a couple of years now. Complete game changer for me. Between the ability to zoom in and the Pencil, photo editing feels natural on these tablets. I never felt that way on a Mac before. I feel like I’m working on a print.
I have to say, too that the Apple Pencil is probably one of Apple’s best products. It does everything it’s supposed to do. Perfectly. I can’t image editing without one. With that said I’m a bit disappointed that the new one doesn’t work with my M2 iPad Pro.


I agree 1,0000%. It’s been years since I fooled around with an Wacom tablet. In addition to not handling color particularly well, the Wacoms were heavy, big and clutzy. Good luck walking around with one, or drawing or working, or when you have to draw while standing or walking around.

And IIRC, you can only use a Wacom for drawing. You can use an iPad or Pro for entertainment, work, listen to music, watch TV and movies, read books, take and edit photos, etc. etc., etc. when you are not working or drawing for fun.

And there are a gazillion iOS apps that can also run on an iPad. A Wacom is just a Wacom.


What software are you using to edit?

My rarely used 11-inch M1 iPad Pro (2021) with 512 GB storage (!) is sounding ancient at this point.

I like the idea of the repositioning of the camera on the newer models though.

One thing I don’t like about my current iPad Pro on the rare occasions I use it is the slim smart portfolio keyboard case. Does the new Magic Keyboard work with the model I have?

I guess it would not make sense to do an upgrade at this point.

I’ve just received a marketing email from a local Oz store for pre-order. A 13" Pro, 512GB with cellular is an eye-watering $2899, keyboard is $579 and Pencil is $219.

I wasn’t going to buy one anyway but at that price you’d need to have a very solid reason for purchase. For considerably less money I could get a very competent M3, 14" MBP with way more storage.

Like @Simon, I think I’ll wait for an M4 MBP to replace my current M1 Max machine (although it’s so good I’m not sure there’d be a huge benefit).

My daughter is a graphical design student and has an iPad-Pro 12.9 and also inherited my MBP16 (one before the last intel model). She still prefers the iPad for content creation, even after she got a Wacom tablet for the mac. The wacom was pretty much a requirement from school and she grasped this tool quickly but still prefers the iPad.

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The iPad Pro M4 is a bit of a disappointment for me.
I was building hopes for a larger screen. The rumor mill mentioned 14".
Ended up with a brighter screen and a thinner (and lighter) iPad, but the screen is just a few pixels larger. Not much of a change except that… If I upgrade my 12.9 iPad Pro I now also need to replace about USD 500 worth of accessories (keyboard and pencil) - for a mere few pixels and nits.

However… the new 13" iPad Air is actually compatible with the iPad Pro 12.9 accessories. Couldn’t Apple make the M4 compatible with those accessories too? I guess they could if they wanted, but here’s an opportunity to extract more $$$ from us loyal consumers…


I use a plethora of apps actually, each one has its own thing it does well. Adobe Photoshop Express, Adobe Express, PhotoRoom (pretty amazing app actually), PhotoLeap, Pixelmator and its sister app Photomator, Picsart and Snapseed. There’s a bunch others too. All of them use the Apple Pencil. I also use FaceApp regularly and Analog Lab.

No, they only work with the new Pros and Airs. Existing Air 4 and 5, the new M2 Airs, and the older Pros have to continue using the older Magic Keyboard that remains on sale.

The same with the pencil: the new iPads won’t work with the existing pencil 2, and the old models that work with the pencil 2 won’t work with the new pencil pro. (I think the USB-C pencil works with both, though.)

So people who are upgrading will need to replace Magic Keyboards and magnetic pencils if they have them.

And, that our oldish (mine’s 2 years old) Apple Pencils won’t work with the new iPads.

I totally agree. I have been using Photoshop since version 1; but I could never do in Photoshop what I’m doing on my iPad Pro. The iPad’s touch interface is a true game changer. Wacom tablets used to give artists what might appear to be equivalent functionality, but they really didn’t. Drawing on a blank surface while you look at a computer screen is very different from drawing directly on an iPad.

There are also other kinds of professional work that benefit greatly from the iPad’s extreme portability. Doctors and nurses use them in hospitals. Project managers use them at construction sites. The list one could make is a long one.


I really wanted the iPad to help with my photography editing, but I have been disappointed, probably due to the lack of correct tools. Currently using the ON1 programs on my Mac, but their web services are very poorly implemented. I think the Adobe gets the online services the best, but I don’t want to buy into their ecosystem for my hobby.

I am getting the new iPad and would love to find out how people make the iPad work as a photo editor without having to make multiple copies and imports etc. Will start this as a new thread if it gets too involved. Will check out the list of apps mentioned above first. I am happy with the desktop ON1, just want something for my iPad

A correction to this post:

The new Magic Keyboard is compatible with only the new iPad Pros. The old Magic Keyboard is compatible with the new iPad Airs but not with the new iPad Pros.

The previous generation Pencil 2, which charges when magnetically connected to the side of the iPad, is not compatible with any of the new iPads. The new Pencil Pro, however, is compatible with both. This is due to a significant change in the charging mechanism, as the camera hardware now occupies the old, centered location. However, would the old pencil work if you moved it so that its charger connection lines up with the new location on the new iPad? Of course, it would now protrude from one end of the iPad.

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A very good point. An iPad can be held in one hand while you interact with the screen with the other hand. It’s really clumsy to do that with a laptop; you really need to have a relatively flat surface to set it on (or a place to sit so you can put it on your lap) to make effective use of it.

This is actually one area where I think Apple has definitely dropped the ball compared to the Windows world: a device that can serve as either a tablet or a laptop is potentially more versatile than either alone. With the increasing alignment between macOS and iOS/iPadOS, it would be quite feasible for Apple to make a MacBook with an iPad-like touchscreen that can run iPadOS apps. I don’t know how that might undercut sales of the other devices, though.

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