New iPad Pro says goodbye to bezels, hello to USB-C

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Apple's old 12.9-inch tablet next to the 2018 iPad Pro.
Apple's old 12.9-inch tablet next to the 2018 iPad Pro.
Photo: Apple

Apple just unveiled the biggest change to its iPad line since Steve Jobs showed off the first iOS tablet in 2010. The display bezels have been stripped away, essentially giving the iPad Pro an all-screen design.

Equally as important, this is the first iOS device ever with a USB-C port in place of the Lightning port. This will allow the iPad Pro to connect to external monitors and other hardware.

Touch ID is out, Face ID is in

Last year, Apple began phasing out the Home button with the iPhone X. No 2018 iPhone has one, and now it’s gone from the just-announced iPad Pro.

This design choice allowed Apple to remove the large bezel that used to sit below the tablet display, and the top bezel went at the same time. All that’s left are relatively thin strips on all sides of the screen that give users a place to hold the tablet.

The smaller design requires new accessories. A smaller Apple Smart Keyboard Folio, along with redesigned flip covers, have been promised.

Since Touch ID requires the Home button, these will be the first iPads with Face ID. Unlike the iPhone line, this can be used with the screen in either portrait or landscape mode.

These changes allowed Apple to tinker with the screen sizes. The 2018 iPad Pro still comes in a 12.9-inch version, but the old 10.5-inch one has been increased to 11 inches.

A USB-C port, hurrah!

Even if Apple hadn’t dramatically changed the overall design of the iPad with this model, it would be remembered as the first with a USB-C port rather than a Lightning connector.

At the announcement, Apple highlighted the ability to connect to external monitors and cameras. And now an iPad can even charge an iPhone.

What this means for the Lightning ports on future iPhone models is unknown, as nothing was said about that during today’s press event at The Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York.

On the inside of the 2018 iPad Pro

Whatever their display size, the new iOS tablets are built around an Apple A12X Bionic processor. That’s the chip that allows the latest iPhones to outperform all their Android rivals, and should make the iPad Pro comparable to the Microsoft Surface Pro 6.

Apple offers the new 2018 iPad Pros in 64GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB storage capacities. As with all computers, the amount of storage has a significant effect on the price. For the 11-inch iPad Pro, the four versions cost $799, $949, $1149 and $1549 respectively. The 12.9-inch one will sell for $999, $1149, $1349 and $1749. Opting for built-in 4G LTE adds $150 to any of these.

For the first time, an older model is staying around. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro from 2017 is still available starting at $649.

Apple’s new Smart Keyboard Folio designed specifically for the 11-inch iPad Pro is $179. The version for the 12.9-inch model is $199.

The improved Apple Pencil that Apple announced today sells for $129. The upgraded Apple Pencil fixes many of the limitations of the original.