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Apple Unveils iPad Pro, Largest Tablet Ever

  • VOA News

Apple on Wednesday unveiled its largest-ever tablet computer, the iPad Pro, complete with a new "smart" keyboard and an Apple "Pencil" stylus device aimed at business customers.

Chief Executive Tim Cook showed off the new iPad at the company's San Francisco media event, saying it is "the biggest news in iPad since the iPad."

The new iPad Pro, available for purchase in November and priced starting at $799, boosts CPU performance faster than 80 percent of the portable PCs shipped in the last year, said Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller.

The company partnered with Cisco Systems and IBM to help power the iPad Pro, which he said has a 10-hour battery life and a 32.7 centimeter (12.9-inch) display - compared to 24.6 centimeters (9.7 inches) for the current full-size iPad.

While touch is still the primary method of input for the iPad, its screen was adapted for use with the new Apple "Pencil," a stylus tool with highly responsive sensors built into its tip.

Representatives of Apple's former rival, Microsoft, also took the stage to present the iPad Pro's productivity potential using Microsoft Office and other apps. A software update will enable iPads to run two apps side by side, something previously limited to Samsung and Windows tablets.

Other companies showed off using the iPad Pro and the Apple Watch for creativity tasks and health care - including an app for doctors to show patients what's happening with 3-D graphics.

Dr. Cameron Powell from AirStrip called the Apple Watch a "game-changer for health care." She demonstrated how real-time feeds of heart rates and other measurements can be transmitted from a pregnant mother - and her child - remotely to a doctor.

Cook also talked up the Apple Watch, saying customer satisfaction for the new product is 97 percent. He said a software update for the device - available as a free download starting next Wednesday - has enabled outside developers to write more sophisticated apps.

Apple is working with French luxury goods maker Hermes on a new watch collection, and Facebook Messenger as well as iTranslate are coming to the device, he said.

The company also unveiled the latest generation of iPhones, the 6S and 6S Plus, keeping the same overall dimensions of the last version, as well as a new, more powerful Apple TV.