Apple has unveiled new versions of its iPad Pro and iMac desktop computer, the latest devices to be given the firm’s own-design computer chips which offer a performance boost.
The M1 chip, which was announced last year, will see Apple gradually introduce its own silicon to all its computers over the next few years, replacing Intel processors and greatly improving performance, the company claims.
The announcements were made during the firm’s latest virtual event, as the tech giant continues to hold remote showcases as part of its ongoing Covid-19 response.
The new iPad Pro, which will be available with either an 11-inch or 12.9-inch display, will see a 50% increase in performance with the new chip, Apple said.
The larger iPad Pro is to also feature a Liquid Retina XDR display, a version of Apple’s professional standard Pro Display XDR screen normally used by photography and videography professionals.
The 11-inch iPad Pro will start at £749, while the 12.9-inch Pro will begin at £999, with both tablets due to go on sale in the second half of May.
Meanwhile, the new iMac has a 24-inch, 4.5K resolution Retina Display as well as upgraded cameras, speakers and accessories, including a Touch ID fingerprint sensor being added to the wireless keyboard for the first time.
The popular range of desktop computers features seven bright colours for the first time.
The California company also announced its much-rumoured AirTag tracking devices, which can be attached to items such as keys and wallets so they can be tracked and found if lost, via Apple’s Find My app.
The firm’s flagship iPhone 12 received a minor refresh too, with a new purple finish announced.
Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at Uswitch.com, said the new iPad line-up looked impressive.
“The updated iPad Pro, which now includes the MacBook’s M1 chip, has enough firepower to rival high-end laptops,” he said.
“This makes it ideal for those who require more processing power for work or gaming – and the addition of 5G for users on the go.
“Its mini-LED display will impress movie buffs at home and those who rely on pin-sharp graphics in their working lives. This display comes at a cost, which explains why it is reserved only for the most premium model.”
However, not all industry experts were convinced by the new tablet.
Leo Gebbie, senior analyst at CCS Insights, said the new iPad Pro was a “tough sell”.
“Despite numerous updates, including the M1 chip, the previous generations of iPads are strong enough to make this an iterative update when compared to the new iMac,” he said.
The virtual event also featured confirmation of another new Apple subscription service, this time built into the firm’s Podcasts app – which has been redesigned.
Starting in May, podcast producers will be able to offer subscription options to users, including the ability to get additional content, early access to shows or listen without adverts for a fee.