Apple unveiled new iPads with smaller bezels around the screens, no home buttons, and a new connecting port on Tuesday at its press event in Brooklyn.
The new iPad Pro models comes with either 11 or 12.9 inch screens and a version of Apple’s latest A12X Bionic chip, related to the A12 Bionic chip in its new iPhone XS and XR. The new home-buttonless models had been widely rumored ahead of Apple’s event.
Without a home button and its built in finger print reader, users must login with Apple’s Face ID facial scanning technology. But unlike phones, the Face ID on the new iPads works with the device turned sideways or upside down. And instead of Apple’s proprietary lightning port, the new models have an industry-standard USB-C port. Maximum storage capacity was upped to 1 TB. And Apple removed the standard headphone jack, as it did with the iPhone several years ago.
The new 11-inch model starts at $799, up from $599 for the older version, and the larger model begins at $999. Apple will still sell the older model at the lower price of $649. They are available for pre-order immediately for delivery on November 7.
The updates come as Apple faces renewed completion in the tablet market. Microsoft (MSFT) updated its entire line of Surface devices just a few weeks ago. And Google (GOOGL) just introduced a similar tablet device running its simple Chrome operating system software but also capable of running Android apps.
Sales of the iPad have leveled off after several years of decline. Last quarter, Apple (AAPL) sold 11.55 million iPads, about the same number it sold in the same period of 2017.
But the numbers are still large. Apple sold more iPads in the last year than the entire notebook computer sales of any of the major PC manufacturers in the world, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted.