Apple debuts iPad 2021 with A13 processor

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Apple has upgraded its 10.2-inch iPad, with the A13 bionic processor, 12MP ultra-wide camera with Center Stage, and support for Apple Pencil.

This was announced during the company's much-anticipated press event earlier today, where it also revealed several iPhone 13 models, Apple Watch Series 7, and a new iPad mini.

“The new iPad is packed full of updates,” said Melody Kuna, senior manager, iPad product design at Apple. “Under the hood it is extremely powerful, with 20% performance in every aspect of the chip from the CPU and GPU, to the neural engine. It is leaps ahead of the competition; in fact, it is up to three times faster than the best-selling Chromebook and up to six times faster than the best-selling Android tablet.”

She said users will see more responsive performance for all the things they love to do on their iPads, from everyday uses such as messaging and browsing the Web, to playing immersive high-quality games.

“And as users explore more advanced apps like Adobe Fresco with its super-realistic watercolours, the A13 processor delivers the performance they need, and then some. The upgraded image signal processor means the rear camera captures great photos with improved autofocus in low light, and better selfies from the front camera as well.”

The front camera, which Kuna said is essential for things like remote learning and connecting with family, has been given an upgrade to a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera that produces a leap in image quality and enables a popular feature from iPad Pro, called Center Stage.

Melody Kuna, senior product manager, iPad Design.
Melody Kuna, senior product manager, iPad Design.

Center Stage employs machine-learning technology to pan and zoom in a camera's field of view to get the perfect shot during a video call. It can zoom in on a single subject, or zoom out to find everyone in the frame.

“This makes video calls more engaging, by automatically detecting people and dynamically adjusting the frame as they move around, or as more people join it. It works in landscape orientation and portrait, so users can enjoy centre stage in all the ways they use iPad, not only to centre stage work in FaceTime, it makes video calls more natural and other popular apps like Zoom, Bluejeans and WebEx,” she added.

Another feature coming to the new iPad is True Tone, which she said adjusts the display to the colour temperature of a room to provide a more comfortable viewing experience. “And by retaining the same popular design, this iPad supports an array of accessories, including the thin and light smart keyboard, as well as third-party keyboards like Logitech’s latest rugged combo with trackpad for schools.”

In addition, the new version supports the first generation Apple Pencil, which she says makes the experience of using Apple Pencil as easy and natural as pen and paper. “The new iPad will ship with iPad os 15, which is packed with great new features. For example, you can place widgets among your apps, making important information available with just a glance. New multi-tasking controls make it even easier to launch and use multiple apps, and Quick Note gives a fast and easy way to take notes anywhere.

Kuna said the iPad starts at $329, with twice the storage, starting at 64GB. “For schools, it's even more affordable at $299. It comes in grey and silver, and cellular models are available as well.”

Orders placed today will be available next week, she noted.

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