iPad Pro packs super-fast Wi-Fi 6

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Wi-Fi 6 will help you binge more shows, faster.
Photo: Apple

The two new iPad Pros unveiled Wednesday are the first Apple tablets to support the super-fast Wi-Fi 6 standard.

Apple’s brilliant new iPad Pro ads don’t mention Wi-Fi 6 as one of the headline features, but it’s a huge upgrade in connectivity from the previous generation, offering faster speeds and longer range.

There are many reasons why you’ll be hearing about Wi-Fi 6 a lot more in the future.

Technical specs on Apple’s website revealed that both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros now come with the new Wi-Fi standard 802.11ax. That name isn’t very catchy so the WiFi Alliance changed it to Wi-Fi 6 for marketing purposes.

Until today, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro were the only Apple devices to support Wi-Fi 6. The new MacBook Air, also introduced Wednesday, didn’t get the new feature but it’s highly possible all future Apple products with Wi-Fi capability will have the new standard in their futures.

Why Wi-Fi 6 is a big deal

As previously mentioned, Wi-Fi 6 offers markedly faster speeds over Wi-Fi 5. Specifically, it’s theoretically possible to reach a top speed of 9.6 Gbps, compared to 3.5 Gbps on the older standard.

Speed gains aren’t the main advantage of Wi-Fi 6 though. Wi-Fi 6 was created mostly to address the growing need for routers to handle dozens of connected devices on a single network. It can also help improve battery life by reducing the length of time iPhones and iPads power their antennas.

There aren’t a lot of devices that support Wi-Fi 6 yet. Other than Apple’s devices, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy S20 and Dell new XPS 15 laptops are the only other major gadgets to pack the technology, but we expect a lot more companies to jump on board throughout 2020.

One of the only problems with Wi-Fi 6 is you need a Wi-Fi 6 router to take advantage of all the benefits. Netgear, Asus, D-Link have come out with a couple Wi-Fi 6 routers already. None of them are cheaper than $200 yet, so until they become more affordable it’ll be quite some time until we see Wi-Fi 6 really take off.