Apple has unveiled some new products including an update to its entry-level MacBook Air laptop, and a new iPad Pro that comes equipped with a lidar scanner, which would bolster the popular tablet’s augmented reality capabilities.
The 3D depth-sensing lidar — which stands for Light Detection and Ranging — scanner uses pulsed laser light to measure relative distance ranges, and the one on the back of the new iPad Pro is able to measure the distance of objects up to five meters away.
Lidar sensors are becoming increasingly common in the self-driving car industry as they are used to help the vehicles ‘see’ and detect objects in the environment around them. Aside from the self-driving car industry, lidar tech is also used in some facial recognition systems, though it should be noted that there is no mention in the press release that announced the new Apple products of Face ID on the iPad Pro using the lidar scanner.
In terms of design, the new iPad follows the same design language as its predecessors following the redesign of the tablet line made in 2018, featuring slimmer bezels all around and the inclusion of Face ID facial recognition at the expense of the physical home button.
As far as specs go, the tablet features an A12Z Bionic processor that Apple claims is more powerful than most Windows PC laptops, and a new 10MP ultra-wide camera along with the standard 12 MP camera sensor as well.
Apple also released a new Magic Keyboard accessory along with the iPad Pro, featuring a traditional MacBook-style keyboard bringing track-pad functionality to the iPad for the first time, which will also be available for previous generation iPads that support iPadOS 13.4.
The Magic Keyboard has its own USB-C port and comes fitted with an adjustable hinge that supports the tablet at a variety of angles, essentially allowing it to be used as a laptop.
Finally, Apple also announced an update to the MacBook Air, which now comes equipped with the Magic Keyboard along with a specifications boost from the previous generation, including a new 10th gen Intel Core i7 quad-core processor and an increase to the storage amounts offered, starting at 256GB and going up to 2TB.
The new iPad Pros come in 11″ and 12.9″ variants and are available for order now, with shipments going out to customers starting later this month, on March 25, with MacBook Air shipments beginning a little later on April 6th.
Sources: The Guardian, TechCrunch