Apple is now holding its spring event in California - where it just announced the "second member of the iPad Pro family".

Phil Schiller, the the senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, took the stage to unveil a follow-up to the monster iPad Pro announced last year. The new version is still a "pro" but considerably more portable; it's a 9.7-inch iPad Pro with a Retina display. It doesn't seem to have a name other than that, so get used to calling it the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

Schiller said it weighs less than 1 pound and is meant for the 200 million people out there already using smaller iPads as well as 600 million PC users stuck with computers now going on more than 5 years old. The new iPad will of course work with the over 1 million iPad apps in Apple's App Store, and it features many of the fancy technical specifications found in the bigger 12.9-inch iPad Pro - like those "Pro" display materials.

Both displays have all the same materials, which include oxide txt, a custom timing controller with a variable refresh rate, photo alignment technology, 40 per cent less reflection than iPad Air 2 (at 1.8 per cent), 25 per cent more brightness than iPad air 2, 50 nits of light (making it brightest tablet available, according to Apple), and 25 per cent greater colour saturation than iPad Air 2.

The new iPad Pro also works with Apple's Night Shift feature and has something unique called "True tone display', which basically measures color temperature of ambient light to adjust light for different environments. Apart from the display, the new iPad Pro features four speakers, helping it to achieve twice the volume output of the iPad Air 2, and it has the bigger iPad Pro's A9X.

That top-of-the-line chip touts over 3 billion transistors, 12 cores of graphics (more than what the Xbox 360 offers), and an integrated M9 coprocessor. As if that wasn't enough tech crammed into the tablet, Apple said it loaded the new iPad Pro with a 12-megapixel iSight rear-facing camera with Focus pixels, a True tone flash, and a new image processor. It can therefore take panoramas up to 63 megapixels and shoot 4K video.

You'll find a 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera on the front as well, and the whole display doubles as a Retina flash, according to Apple. Other stand-out feature of the new iPad Pro include support for always-on “Hey Siri” voice commands, iPad Pro accessories (like the smart keyboard and pencil), and even new accessories like a USB card reader and SD card reader.


The 9.7-inch iPad Pro also has Apple's new smart connector and will run iOS 9.3 out of the box. If you're interested in this device, you can get it four finishes (silver, gold, Space Grey, and for the first time - rose gold). Preorders start 24 March, and shipping begins 31 March.

As for pricing, Apple said the 9.7-inch iPad Pro costs $599 for the 32GB W-Fi version or $749 for the 128GB version. There's also a new 256GB Wi-Fi price point of $899. We'll update with UK pricing when that becomes available.

Stay tuned to Pocket-lint's Apple hub for more breaking news from the event, or tune into the live-stream here to watch the action unfold yourself.

READ: Apple iPad Pro 9.7 review: The tablet to beat all tablets