The wait is almost over for the biggest tablet Apple has ever made: Pre-orders for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro go live sometime tonight.
We don’t expect iPhone-level day-one sales for the massive new hardware, but if you’ve been champing at the bit to pick up the new shiny thing, here’s how you can get it.
Exactly what time pre-orders will go live isn’t quite clear, and Apple hasn’t told us. Some sources suggest we can expect it at midnight PT (3 a.m. Eastern), which would be in line with iPhone launches. But the new Apple TV didn’t show up for order until around 6 a.m. Pacific. We recommend that if you really want to be first, you start checking the Apple site around midnight and then refresh your browser every hour like a crazy person until the Buy button appears.
Alternatively, you can check out the official Apple Store app which, like the website, uses the payment method associated with your Apple ID to streamline the buying process greatly. The app is a good option if a rush of traffic brings Apple’s online store to a crawl. Again, however, we aren’t sure how big that rush will be once orders open up.
The iPad Pro is Apple’s attempt to compete with high-end tablets like Microsoft’s Surface. The company is squarely targeting creative types with the Pro’s huge screen and accompanying Apple Pencil stylus, which detects both movement and pressure to produce a variety of effects like sketching, painting, and drafting.
The new hardware will come in the standard iPad colors — silver, gold, and space gray — and start at $799 for a 32GB Wi-Fi model. Two 128GB versions will also be available: a Wi-Fi-only one for $949 and a $1,079 beast that uses both Wi-Fi and cellular data. The Apple Pencil will add another $99 to your bag, and the Smart Keyboard that both covers and protects the hardware while effectively converting it into a laptop will run $169. So if you want the full functionality of the new gizmo, you’re going to have to spend between $1,067 and $1,347. Here’s hoping the device turns out cool enough to justify those expenses.
iPad Pro will initially be available in 40 countries: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Cayman Islands, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greenland, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Stats, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The company says that after online orders start tonight, the hardware will hit stores “later this week.”
So probably Friday, if you’re a betting person.