Apple unveils a 9.7" iPad Pro with an improved display and a $599 start price

|About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)|By:, SA News Editor

The 9.7" iPad Pro (also rumored) weighs less than 1 pound. Its oxide TFT display is said to be 25% brighter and have 25% greater color saturation than an iPad Air 2's, and to have the lowest reflectivity of any tablet. Meanwhile, its "True Tone" display measures the color temperature of ambient light and adjusts the screen in response.

Like its 12.9" sibling, the 9.7" Pro sports Apple's (AAPL -0.4%) A9X CPU and M9 motion co-processor. Its 12-core GPU is declared to be more powerful than the Xbox 360's. Other specs include a 12MP rear camera, a 5MP front camera, four stereo speakers, and four metal finishes (inc. rose gold for the first time). 3D Touch apparently isn't supported.

The Apple Pencil stylus and Smart Keyboard accessory are supported; 3D Touch apparently isn't. Looking to make more inroads with professionals and creative pros, Apple has unveiled SD card reader and USB camera adapter accessories for the Pro.

As rumored, the 9.7" Pro starts at $599 (32GB Wi-Fi-only model). A 128GB model goes for $749, and a 256GB model will be available for $899. As with the iPhone SE, pre-orders start on March 24, and the device ships on March 31. The iPad Air 2's starting price has been cut by $100 to $399, and a 256GB ($1099) option has been added for the 12.9" Pro. The iPad Mini starts at $269, and the original iPad Air has been discontinued.

80% of active iOS devices run on iOS 9 (launched six months ago). 200M 9.7" iPads have been cumulatively sold, and over 1M iPad apps are now available in the App Store. SVP Phil Schiller states a majority of iPad Pro users have been Windows users. iOS 9.3 (supports a Night Shift feature that changes a devices color temperature based on time and location) is rolling out later today.

Live blogs: The Verge, Engadget. Apple event livestream (requires Safari or Microsoft Edge).

Earlier: Apple unveils 4" iPhone SE with $399 starting price, cuts Apple Watch's starting price to $299

Update: Apple has issued a press release for the 9.7" iPad Pro.

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