Apple’s New iPad Pro Adds LiDAR Scanner, Trackpad

By Christine Persaud

Apple’s new iPad Pro now comes with an A12Z Bionic chip, adds an ultra-wide camera, studio-quality mics, and a LiDAR scanner that delivers depth-sensing capabilities for pro workflows and pro photos and video apps.

The LiDAR Scanner, along with pro cameras, motion sensors, pro performance, pro audio, and the Liquid Retina display and powerful apps, makes the new iPad Pro an ideal device for augmented reality (AR). 

With iPadOS 13.4, Apple brings trackpad support to iPad, giving customers a new way to interact with their iPad. Rather than copying the experience from macOS, trackpad support has been completely reimagined for iPad. As you move your finger across the trackpad, the pointer transforms to highlight user interface elements. Multi-Touch gestures on the trackpad make it fast and easy to navigate the system as well.

The new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro has a floating design with smooth angle adjustment, a backlit keyboard and trackpad. The Magic Keyboard will be available for purchase in May.

The iPad’s battery lasts for up to 10 hours, and the gigabit-class LTE is 60% faster with support for more LTE bands. The edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display comes in 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes and features P3 wide colour support. ProMotion technology automatically adjusts the display refresh rate up to 120Hz for ultra-smooth scrolling and responsiveness; while True Tone, high brightness, and an anti-reflective coating deliver a favourable viewing experience.  

The Pro camera system on iPad Pro features a 12MP Wide camera for capturing photos and 4K video, and now includes a 10MP Ultra-Wide camera that zooms out two times to capture a much wider field of view. Adding a second camera doubles the photo and video possibilities, enabling different perspectives and multi-camera use.

Five studio-quality microphones help capture clean audio with quiet details, and delivers an immersive sound experience with four-speaker audio that automatically adjusts to any orientation, no matter how it is held. 

The LiDAR Scanner measures the distance to surrounding objects up to five metres away, works both indoors and outdoors, and operates at the photon level at nano-second speeds. New depth frameworks in iPadOS combine depth points measured by the LiDAR Scanner, data from both cameras and motion sensors, and is enhanced by computer vision algorithms on the A12Z Bionic for a more detailed understanding of a scene. 

Every existing ARKit app automatically gets instant AR placement, improved motion capture, and people occlusion. 

The LiDAR Scanner improves the Measure app, making it faster and easier to automatically calculate someone’s height, while helpful vertical and edge guides automatically appear to let users more quickly and accurately measure objects. The Measure app also now comes with Ruler View for more granular measurements and allows users to save a list of all measurements, complete with screenshots for future use.

Trackpad support offers a more natural typing experience and added precision for tasks including writing and selecting text, working with spreadsheets, and pro workflows. Designed specifically for the touch-first experience on iPad, the cursor appears as a circle that highlights user interface elements, text fields and apps on the Home screen and Dock, giving a clear indication of what users can click on. Fluid gestures on the trackpad make it easy to switch between apps, access the app switcher and activate the Dock, Control Center, and apps in Slide Over. 

Joining the second-generation Apple Pencil and an updated Smart Keyboard Folio is the new Magic Keyboard. Attaching magnetically to iPad Pro, the Magic Keyboard puts the Multi-Touch screen on display with its floating design, working equally well on a lap or on a desk. Unique cantilevered hinges allow smooth adjustments of the viewing angle up to 130 degrees. The portable and protective design of the Magic Keyboard delivers a full-size keyboard with backlit keys and a scissor mechanism that delivers 1mm travel, delivering the best typing experience ever on iPad. 

The Magic Keyboard features USB-C pass-through charging, keeping the USB-C port on iPad Pro free for accessories including external drives and displays. 

The new Apple iPad Pro is available to order online starting at $1,049 for the 11″ model, $1,249 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model, $1,299 for the 12.9″ Wi-Fi and $1,499 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model, in silver and space grey finished. Education pricing is also available. The second-gen Apple Pencil is $159, the Smart Keyboard Folio for $209-$249, and the Magic Keyboard for $369-$419. iPadOS 13.4 with trackpad support will be available on March 24 as a free software update. Apple Stores are currently closed temporarily in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.