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Apple’s new iPad Pro boasts LiDAR Scanner, trackpad support in iPadOS

Apple has announced a new iPad Pro. Now with the A12Z Bionic chip, iPad Pro is faster and more powerful than most Windows PC laptops, according to Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

The new iPad Pro adds an Ultra Wide camera, studio-quality mics and a breakthrough LiDAR Scanner that delivers depth-sensing capabilities, opening up more pro workflows and supporting pro photo and video apps, he adds. The LiDAR Scanner, along with pro cameras, motion sensors, pro performance, pro audio, the stunning Liquid Retina display and powerful apps, extends the lead of iPad Pro as the world’s best device for augmented reality (AR), according to Schiler. The new iPad Pro is available to order starting today on

With iPadOS 13.4, Apple brings trackpad support to iPad, giving customers an all-new way to interact with their iPad. Rather than copying the experience from macOS, trackpad support has been completely reimagined for iPad. As users move their finger across the trackpad, the pointer transforms to highlight user interface elements. Multi-Touch gestures on the trackpad purportedly make it fast and easy to navigate the entire system without users ever lifting their hand, says Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.

Apple also introduced the new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro with a floating design with smooth angle adjustment, a backlit keyboard and trackpad. It will be available in May.

Built for the most demanding tasks, like editing 4K video or designing 3D models, iPad Pro gets another performance boost with the new A12Z Bionic chip. The eight-core GPU in the A12Z Bionic, along with an enhanced thermal architecture and tuned performance controllers, gives iPad Pro the highest performance ever in an iPad, says Federighi

Combined with the eight-core CPU and the Neural Engine, which enables next-generation apps, there’s no other chip that can offer the incredible performance found in the thin and light design of iPad Pro, he adds. With battery life lasting up to 10 hours, faster Wi-Fi connectivity and gigabit-class LTE that’s 60% faster  with support for more LTE bands than any other tablet, customers can stay productive and creative all day, Federighi says

The edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display is, of course, available in both 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes of the tablet and features P3 wide color support. ProMotion technology automatically adjusts the display refresh rate up to 120Hz for smooth scrolling and responsiveness.

The Pro camera system on iPad Pro features a 12MP Wide camera for capturing photos and 4K video. It 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.

The iPad Pro now features five studio-quality microphones for capturing audio and the quiet details, and delivers an immersive sound experience with four-speaker audio that automatically adjusts to any orientation, no matter how the tablet is held. The LiDAR Scanner enables capabilities never before possible on any mobile device, according to Federighi. It measures the distance to surrounding objects up to 5 meters 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. The tight integration of these elements enables a whole new class of AR experiences on iPad Pro, says Federighi

He adds that every existing ARKit app automatically gets instant AR placement, improved motion capture and people occlusion. Using the latest update to ARKit with a new Scene Geometry API [application programming interface], developers can harness the power of the new LiDAR Scanner to unleash scenarios never before possible, says Federighi.

The LiDAR Scanner improves the Measure app, making it faster and easier to automatically calculate someone’s height, while 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.

PadOS 13.4 brings trackpad support to iPad for the first time. 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. Gestures on the trackpad are designed to make it easy to switch between apps, access the app switcher and activate the Dock, Control Center and apps in Slide Over.

Trackpad support in iPadOS is designed to work with the apps customers use every day such as Safari, Photos, Mail, and more. Federighi says most third-party apps work with no change at all, and developers can go even further with new APIs that let them deliver unique experiences in their apps. 

Federighi adds that updates coming to Apple’s iWork suite of productivity apps — Pages, Numbers and Keynote — take full advantage of the trackpad and open up a new way to work with documents on iPad.

Attaching magnetically to iPad Pro, the upcoming Magic Keyboard has a floating design that’s meant to make it work equally well on a lap or on a desk. Cantilevered hinges allow 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.

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 click-anywhere trackpad on the Magic Keyboard complements the touch-first design of iPad for easy navigation and precise adjustments, adding even more versatility and productivity to the iPad Pro experience, says Federighi.

The new iPad Pro is available to order starting today on and in the Apple Store app in 30 countries and regions, including the U.S. It will be available in stores starting next week (assuming your local Apple retail store has reopened by then; outside of the Greater China area, all are currently closed to the coronavirus outbreak).

The new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be available in silver and space gray finishes. A starting configuration of 128GB offers pro customers more room for their apps and content, along with 256GB, 512GB and 1TB configurations.

The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799 (US) for the Wi-Fi model and US$949 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model, and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $999 for the Wi-Fi model and $1,149 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model from

Education pricing is available to current and newly accepted college students and their parents, as well as faculty, staff and homeschool teachers of all grade levels. The new 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $749 and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $899. The second-generation Apple Pencil is available for $119 and the new Smart Keyboard Folio for the new iPad Pro is available for $159 for the 11-inch iPad Pro and $179 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro for college students.

 The Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro will be available for college students at $279 for the 11-inch iPad Pro and $329 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. For more information visit

PadOS 13.4 with trackpad support will be available on March 24 as a free software update for all iPad Pro models, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, and iPad mini 4 and later. Trackpad support will be available on any iPad running iPadOS 13.4, and work with Apple’s Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2 and the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro. Third-party mice connected over Bluetooth or USB are also supported. 

The Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro will be available for purchase in May for $299 for the 11-inch iPad Pro and $349 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with layouts for over 30 languages, including simplified Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish. 

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.