(Pocket-lint) - Although an iPad Air 3 was rumoured throughout the build up to Apple's 21 March unveiling, it turns out that although much of the speculation was correct in the features the new iPad would offer, the name wasn't.
Instead, Apple has simply called its new tablet iPad Pro. Yep, there is already an iPad Pro, but this one is smaller, with exactly the same screen 9.7-inch screen size as the iPad Air 2. And it is also continuing to call its larger, 12.9-inch tablet iPad Pro too. So to cut through the confusion, we've decided to present you with everything you need to know about the newer device.
That way you can get to grips with what it offers and, hopefully, we'll give you a good indication on which one you'd rather fancy.
New iPad Pro 9.7-inch release date
Apple announced the new, smaller iPad Pro at its 21 March event and it will be released at the end of the month. Third-party retailers and Apple itself will start to sell the new iPad Pro from 31 March 2016.
Pre-orders on Apple.com will start on 24 March, if you want to ensure you get one for launch day - although traditionally you'll need to be sharpish online on the day.
New iPad Pro 9.7-inch price
Prices for the new iPad Pro are dependent on which version you buy. It starts at £499 for the 32GB version with just Wi-Fi, which rises to £599 if you also want 4G functionality. The 128GB model will cost you £619 for Wi-Fi only, £719 for the cellular model.
For the first time, there is also a 256GB model too, which will cost £739 for the 256GB 9.7-inch iPad Pro, rising to £839 for the 4G version.
New iPad Pro 9.7-inch design
Outwardly, the new iPad Pro looks just like the iPad Air 2 or a mini version of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. It measures 240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm and weighs just 0.437kg.
The biggest aesthetic change though is that it now comes in a fourth colour to match other Apple products: rose gold.
That means you can buy it in silver, space grey, gold and rose gold, with all but the grey model having a white bezel. The space grey edition comes with a black bezel.
Like the iPhones, latest iPad mini, iPad Pro and iPad Air 2, the new iPad Pro has a Touch ID sensor for biometric, fingerprint security. It also has built-in stereo speakers and dual microphones. The cellular model has a Nano-SIM tray.
New iPad Pro 9.7-inch display
Previous rumours of a bump in screen resolution were incorrect as the 9.7-inch iPad Pro has the same Retina display as the iPad Air 2. That means it features a resolution of 2048 x 1536 (254ppi) and is LED backlit.
It differs slightly in that it is a "Wide Colour Display". That means it uses the same colour space as the digital camera industry. It has, says Apple, up to 25 per cent greater colour saturation than previous iPads.
The display also features a new technology Apple is calling "True Tone". This four-channel ambient light sensors to judge the type of lighting in any given situation and the iPad then adapts the colour tone of the screen to give the best, most accurate reading experience.
The display is also the least reflective in the company's history.
New iPad Pro 9.7-inch camera
As rumoured previously, Apple has really enhanced the camera on the latest iPad Pro over the ones featured on previous iPads.
It now has a 12-megapixel iSight camera on the rear - which is even better than the camera on the larger iPad Pro.
The new tablet also has a dramatically improved FaceTime HD camera on the front. It is now capable of taking selfies at 5-megapixels. That will also improve video calling significantly. True Tone Retina Flash, which uses the display as a massive flash unit, also gives much more even lighting when taking selfies in the dark.
The iPad Pro is also now capable of recording 4K video, 240fps slow motion clips and can take Live Photos, like the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. These are still photos that also move a little when tapped because the device captures a tiny amount of video while taking a snap.
New iPad Pro 9.7-inch hardware
Apple has adopted the same A9X processing chip it uses in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro for the 9.7-incher. That should prove to be considerably quicker than the A8X chip currently inside the iPad Air 2.
It runs on a 64-bit architecture and has an M9 co-processor.
The battery inside the new model is a 27.5 watt per hour rechargeable lithium-polymer cell. In real terms, Apple claims that it will last up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video or listening to music. That's fairly similar to the iPad Air 2 and previous iPads.
New iPad Pro 9.7-inch accessories
One of the biggest differences between this iPad and the previous iPad Air 2, and likely explains why Apple decided to continue with the iPad Pro moniker, is that it is compatible with similar accessories to the 12.9-inch version.
That includes the Apple Pencil, the company's stylus. It will also work with optional Smart Keyboards, with new sizes of the existing iPad Pro accessory to come at the same time as the tablet.
The Smart Keyboard provides a case, cover and full QWERTY keyset for working on the move.
New iPad Pro 9.7-inch software
When it first arrives, the iPad Pro 9.7-inch will likely run on iOS 9 but will immediately update, like all of Apple's current line-up, to iOS 9.3.
New iPad Pro 9.7-inch hot deals and where to get it
As the release date is not too far away, pre-orders will start for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro soon (on 24 March, as stated above). We can also, therefore, expect to hear from the networks and retailers who will be stocking it.
We'll add their details below as and when they are announced.
Naturally, Apple will stock its own tablet device online and in its many stores. You can find out more and pre-order one of the four different colours in three different storage options from Apple.com from 24 March, with shipping to start on 31 March.
UK network Vodafone has informed Pocket-lint that it will be stocking the new iPad Pro although further details are yet to be revealed.
EE will be stocking the 4G version of the iPad Pro and will be opening its pre-orders on 24 March, just like Apple. More details will be able to view on ee.co.uk.
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