It's been a rough few weeks for Apple, with the company shutting down most of its stores worldwide this week. This morning, however, Apple announced three new products. In addition to a brand new MacBook Air, which now includes what Apple calls its Magic Keyboard, the company unveiled a brand-new iPad Pro and a new Magic Keyboard cover.
While the MacBook Air is definitely a real improvement--and long overdue--it's the new iPad Pro that finally delivers on what many of us have been wanting for a few years. That said, it's missing one very important feature that's almost hard to believe we still haven't seen in the world's best tablet computer.
First, let's talk about the good--and there's plenty of good. The new iPad is faster than most PC laptops, according to Apple. It's probably also faster than several Apple laptops for that matter. I have a 2018 version (which I'm using to write this column) and for most of the work I do, it's as fast as my 2019 maxed-out 13-inch MacBook Pro, so I have no doubt that the newer version is fast.
Also, we finally get trackpad support. But not just any trackpad support. In fact, leave it to Apple to figure out how to optimize an external device like a mouse or trackpad for a touch-based device. The company even released a video with Craig Federighi walking through how unique it really is.
The new iPad also includes a three-camera array, though unlike the iPhone, the third camera here isn't a zoom, but instead its LiDAR, which measures distance, and allows for augmented reality capabilities. The new models also include what Apple describes as studio-quality mics.
Then there's the new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro, which includes actual physical keys (they're even backlit) and a trackpad. These are scissor-action keys, with 1 millimeter of travel, which is a huge improvement from the current Smart Folio Keyboard. It's the trackpad that most users are likely interested in, and while it's not the same as what you get on a MacBook Pro, it supports multitouch and gestures.
Of course, you don't even have to get a new iPad Pro to use the new keyboard, or any trackpad for that matter. That feature is coming in an iOS 13.4 update coming March 24. (Technically, it's already available as an accessibility feature in the current version, but this is far better.)
Then, there's what's missing. Well, one thing it's missing: 5G. While it's not a huge surprise that Apple didn't include it in the iPad Pro yet, it's still the final piece that would make this the perfect Apple device for almost everyone. Of course, it's far more likely that the iPhone 12, expected this fall, will get ultra-fast 5G wireless before the iPad.
But, hear me out: The iPad Pro is, for most people, the perfect computer. It's powerful, easy to use, and extremely portable. With the introduction of iPadOS last year, it also became functional for actually getting work done. Now, with trackpad support, that's even more the case.
And iPad Pro with all of those features, and 5G, would be pretty much the perfect work-from-anywhere device. With a device as powerful as this, you can finally ditch your laptop in favor of a portable device that allows you to work remotely without sacrificing capability at all.
Which, let's face it, would come in pretty handy right now.