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Apple ‘Let Loose’ event announcements — new iPad Pro M4, iPad Air, Apple Pencil Pro and latest news

Meet the new iPads and accessories for 2024

iPad showing invite graphic for Apple's iPad 'Let Loose' event
(Image: © Tom's Guide/Shutterstock/Apple)

New iPads are coming, and that's a big deal because Apple hasn't launched any new tablets since 2022. 

And while the new iPad Pro 2024 and iPad Air 2024 aren't massively different from their predecessors, the Pro is launching with a new Apple M4 chip and some new accessories that could significantly users' day-to-day lives. 

That's because Apple is also launching a new Apple Pencil Pro ($129) with advanced features for creatives, as well as a new Magic Keyboard ($299/$329 for 11-inch/13-inch) that now offers a full row of function keys. Here's the Apple 'Let Loose' event as it happened along with the biggest announcements. 

Apple Event Announcements

iPad Air 2024: The new iPad Air comes in 11 inches and a new 13-inch size, and these tablets are powered by Apple's M2 chip, which offers up to 50% more speed than the M1.

iPad Pro 2024: The iPad Pro got the biggest overhaul with a new tandem OLED display that promises a big brightness boost, a much faster M4 chip and a redesigned Magic Keyboard with larger touchpad. Don't miss our iPad Pro 2024 hands-on review!

Apple Pencil Pro: Compatible with both the new iPad Air and iPad Pro 2024, the new Apple Pencil Pro supports squeeze gestures for brining up contextual menus and a new barrel roll feature. 

If you missed the live event, you can still read through our live blog below for a blow-by-blow breakdown of every major highlight. We'll also be following up with Apple and reporting on all the details not covered in today's livestream as we learn them, so stay tuned!

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iPad Pro 2022 on desk

(Image credit: Future)

The two iPads we’re expecting to see announced today are the latest incarnations of the iPad Pro and the iPad Air. There’s been little indication the remaining members of the iPad family: the iPad 10th gen and the iPad mini will receive any attention at today’s event. 

Alongside the two new tablet upgrades, it seems likely Apple will announce a new version of the Apple Pencil that could incorporate a “squeeze” function that lets you call up a contextual menu that allows users to perform certain actions, such as adding shapes, stickers and text to a canvas.

Finally, we’re a little fuzzy about whether or not we’ll hear about iPadOS 18. If the new iPad Pro comes with — as expected — an M4 chip that opens the door to a ton of computational possibilities, especially around AI. But with WWDC just a couple of months away, it remains to be seen whether Apple will reveal anything about the next version of its tablet-based operating system.

iPad Air 5

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Ok, ok, we know the prospect of an M4 chip inside the iPad is mouthwatering for anyone that wants a tablet that can go toe-to-toe with the best laptops for power. But that’s not the spec bump I’m most excited for. It’s been heavily tipped this year’s iPad Pro could be the first iPad to include an OLED screen. Y’know, the kind the iPhone’s had since the iPhone X all the way back in 2017.

A leak last month from display analyst Ross Young (who has a good track record with these things) suggested Apple will use the “best OLED tablet panels on the market”. He suggested the panel will be a power-efficient LTPO display capable of high refresh rates and resolution without drinking up battery power. In a note to investors, the analyst claimed Apple’s new screen will boast a "120Hz refresh, a tandem stack and glass thinning resulting in ultra-thin and light displays with high brightness, extended battery life and long lifetime.” Which sounds just dandy to me.

Most folks I know use their iPads for watching stuff (or occasionally doing picture and video editing) so a screen upgrade is likely to be the most welcome. An OLED display would be able to turn off every pixel as required during the best Netflix movies to give us perfect blacks and a viewing experience unrivalled by any other tablet. 

Apple Pencil USB-C

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

As well as the new iPad models, there’s been some suggestion Apple will upgrade the tablet’s key accessories. Namely, the Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard that, when paired with an iPad Air or Pro, offer something damn close to a full laptop replacement.

Recent leaks suggest the Apple Pencil 3 may even become an "Apple Pencil Pro" with several notable upgrades. Multiple rumors have suggested a “squeeze” ability that could improve the functionality, as well as the possible inclusion of haptic feedback. I’m not quite sure how that latter part will work, but given a stylus still can’t match the feel of writing on paper, it will be interesting to see if this takes a step closer to that goal.

A new Magic Keyboard would be an interesting proposition too. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the new model will make “the iPad Pro look even more like a laptop than the current setup.” In addition, the revamped ‘board will feature a “larger trackpad.” Finally, it’s a possibility the next Magic Keyboard could receive an aluminum finish that would give it a MacBook-esque appearance. Very cool indeed.

Apple CEO Tim Cook

(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

It’s worth us just recapping how to watch today’s Apple keynote, since the timings have changed a bit from previous events. For those on the west coast, that means setting the alarm clock for a little bit earlier than you’re used to.

Today’s event will kick off at 7am PT, 10am ET. Those watching in the U.K. can tune in after lunch at 3pm BST. Unfortunately, it’s not as convenient if you’re planning to watch from Australia. For the Apple fans down under, the event just tips into Wednesday morning — starting at 12am AEST.

As for how to watch the event, you can do so on YouTube directly, on the Apple website or on the Apple TV app on your phone. If you have an Apple TV device, perhaps the most diehard way to watch is on the big screen via the TV app. It will also be available to watch on Apple Vision Pro

ipad pro

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Let’s chart the history of the iPad for a bit of fun, shall we? As mentioned, last year was the first time Apple skipped out on a yearly iPad update. As you can see, that’s a first for the company.

Here’s the history of the iPad from the moment Apple co-founder Steve Jobs revealed the first model right up until today’s event.

2010: iPad (1st generation) revealed by Steve Jobs
2011: iPad 2
2012: iPad (3rd generation), iPad (4th generation) and the arrival of the first iPad mini
2013: iPad Air (1st generation) and the iPad mini 2
2014: iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3
2015: iPad mini 4 and the first generation of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro
2016: iPad Pro 9.7-inch
2017: iPad (5th generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation) and iPad Pro (10.5-inch)
2018: iPad (6th gen), iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation) and the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation)
2019: iPad (7th gen), iPad Air (3rd gen) and iPad mini (5th gen)
2020: iPad (8th gen), iPad Air (4th gen), iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd gen), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th gen)
2021: iPad (9th gen), iPad mini (6th gen), iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd gen), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th gen)
2022: iPad (10th gen), iPad Air (5th gen), iPad Pro 11-inch (4th gen), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (6th gen)
2023:
2024: iPad Air (6th gen) rumored, iPad Pro 11-inch (5th gen) rumored and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (7th gen) rumored 

iPad Pro 2022

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Hey, all. This is Dave Meikleham, UK Computing Editor here at Tom’s Guide. I'll be taking over Apple’s “Let Loose” live blogging duties for the next little while in the build-up to what could be the most significant tablet-centric event Apple has hosted in years. 

As the owner of the iPad Pro 2021 (12.9-inch) model, I can honestly say this is the most hyped I’ve ever been over an upcoming announcement from the crew at Cupertino. The reason for my slightly unhinged excitement? That’s because The Big A is on the cusp of announcing its first ever OLED iPad

While I think mini-LED represents a significant upgrade over LCD technology, all the dimming zones in the world can’t match “OLED quality” black levels. Don’t get me wrong, my aging tablet’s Liquid Retina Display is still terrific, yet I can spot its flaws when viewing content at night in a dark room. 

These issues aren’t exactly a game-breaker (even to my ultra obsessive eyes), but that doesn’t mean I can see them. The main issue regarding mini-LED and my current iPad Pro revolves around the “haloing” effect. In real-world speak, this is a slight screen defect where the brightest elements on a mini-LED screen show a somewhat harsh glow around them when you’re viewing, say, the best Disney Plus movies on either my version of Apple’s iconic tablet or the iPad Pro 2022 in a pitch-black room, as most iPad content comes with 16:9 horizontal borders.  

By contrast, OLED is a form of display tech that can turn off every on-screen pixel, leading to truly perfect black levels. As a side effect, that makes images look more vibrant and convincing in dark viewing conditions. 

All of the above probably sounds super geeky, but hey, I love light-emitting diodes, and the prospect of an OLED iPad Pro has me salivating.

Apple iPad Air (2022) sitting screenside down on table alongside Apple Watch.

(Image credit: Future)

While the much-rumored (and likely soon-to-be announced), iPad Pro 2024 models are likely to hog the limelight at “Let Loose”, fans of Apple tablets shouldn’t sleep on the expected iPad Air 2024

The most significant piece of speculation surrounding new models in Crew Cupertino’s super-slim iPad range? That would be talk of a revamped 12.9-inch model, which would become the largest Air in the company history — for context, the latest Apple iPad Air (2022) rocks a 10.9-inch display. 

As an iPad devotee who very much plays along with the “bigger is better” mantra, I’m pumped for a super-sized new Air. Although that said, I still probably won’t buy one as neither of the expected 10.9- or 12.9-inch iPad Air “Let Loose” models are likely to get the OLED screen treatment the tech industry expects to see from the latest iPad Pro 2024 editions. 

Tim Cook with iPhone in front of Apple logo

(Image credit: Apple)

Though it’s easy to assume Apple has all the money on Earth, the California-based company would likely bite your hand off from the sort of uptick in sales you’d expect new iPads to generate. 

After taking an unusual break from tablet production, the company is clearly ready to establish itself at the head of the table as the manufacturer of the best tablets money can buy. 

Apple hasn’t released a new iPad since 2022 — which feels like an Ice Age in the tech space — and it’s no surprise the firm’s revenue has been declining ever since. While current managing director Tim Cook is unlikely to be having overly sleepless nights considering the best MacBooks still sell well, CNBC’s reports of a concerning 17% decline in Apple earnings year over year don’t make for pretty reading. 

iPad 2022 showing Avatar: Way of Water.

(Image credit: Future)

Say you’re the owner of one of the best MacBook Pro models. You probably think you can skip today’s “Let Loose” event, right? Wrong. My computing colleague Tony Polanco has previously made a compelling case over why the iPad Pro 2024 could be a legitimate laptop replacement

I completely understand where he’s coming from, too. With the rumored addition of the M4 chip (that could change the game when it comes to performance and machine-learning tech in the tablet market), an OLED display and an updated Magic Keyboard, the new iPad Pro 2024 could not only tempt existing laptop users away from their portable PCs, it could make Apple fans pause on whether they need one of the M3-powered best MacBooks.  

Apple Magic Keyboard for 11-inch iPad Pro (2022) sitting on desk.

(Image credit: Future)

Real talk: I’ve bought way too many keyboards for my iPad 2021. What's the exact figure I'm talking about? Four over the course of three short years. That’s mainly because I’m a complete klutz cursed with butterfingers who continues to spill both hot and cold beverages over his tablet keyboard cases. 

While I’m excited for the prospect of an updated Magic Keyboard for a new iPad Pro, those things hurt your change purse seriously hard. The current 12.9-inch model retails for $349. 

Respected Apple insider Mark Gurman has previously hinted the latest Magic Keyboard will feature “a larger trackpad” and also sport “an aluminum finish”. Whatever upgrades Apple’s rumored new peripheral receives, there’s no way it won’t comfortably outdo the worst iPad keyboard case I briefly owned earlier this year. 

Tim Cook at Apple HQ

(Image credit: Apple)

We're live and Tim Cook is greeting us with the news that today is going to be all about iPad, and it's going to be a big day for Apple's tablets.

Apple exec

(Image credit: Apple)

First Cook gave us some quick updates on the Apple Vision Pro (long story short: Apple is proud of it and wants you to buy one), and now we're on to iPad news. Apple SVP John Ternus is here to talk to us about the new iPad Air...from what looks like a Bay Area BART train car?!

2024 iPad Air

(Image credit: Apple)

For the first time, we're getting two sizes of Air -- the standard size and a new larger 13-inch model.

New iPad Air

(Image credit: Apple)

The new iPad Air 2024 models will be powered by Apple's M2 chip, a meaningful upgrade over the aging M1 which drove the old models.

Photomator

(Image credit: Apple)

We're seeing promo videos of people using the new iPad Air tablets, some with an Apple Pencil or a Magic Keyboard, so it seems likely the new iPad Air models will support these peripherals.

New iPad Air Fact Sheet

(Image credit: Apple)

The new iPad Airs are available for pre-order today at a starting price of $599 or $799 for the larger 13-inch model, with units expected to start shipping next week.

Now Ternus has moved on to talking up the iPad Pro, which we're expecting to see updated with a new model today.

"Today we're not only going to push the limits of what you can do on iPad, we're going to crush them," says Ternus before a sizzle reel for what's presumably the new iPad Pro starts to play. Ooh, we're watching a room full of creative equipment get crushed by a descending ceiling....

New iPad Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

....to promote how the new iPad Pro smooshes a ton of creative tools into one device! That's fun. And here's Ternus back again to talk up the new iPad Pro, with a new design.

First, it comes in two sizes: 11-inch and 13-inch, a slight change from the old 11-inch and 12.9-inch breakdown. The new models are also thinner than the old iPad Pros or the iPod Nano, making the iPad Pro "the thinnest Apple product ever", according to Ternus.

iPad Pro brightness

(Image credit: Apple)

"A single OLED panel doesn't deliver enough brightness for the state-of-the-art XDR display," claims Ternus, so Apple built a second OLED display into the iPad Pro using "tandem OLED" technology in order to help the tablet achieve its advertised 1000 nits of full-screen brightness and 1600 nits of peak brightness when viewing HDR content.


"We're calling it Ultra Retina XDR", says Ternus, "and it's coming to both sizes of iPad Pro."

Ooh, Ternus says the company had to leap to the next generation of Apple silicon for this...are we about to meet the much-rumored M4 chip?

Apple M4 chip

(Image credit: Apple)

Yup, M4 chip confirmed coming in the 2024 iPad Pros!

M4 GPU

(Image credit: Apple)

The new M4 chip is an ugprade over the M3, and delivers up to 50% faster CPU speeds over the old M2 chip.

The new 10-core GPU is powerful and supports raytracing, so the 2024 iPad Pros will be the first iPad Pros to support raytracing in games. M4 can deliver the same performance as M2 for half the power, according to Apple, which shows you where Apple's priorities and benchmark are.

Apple M4 chip

(Image credit: Apple)

"We've been including a neural engine in our chips for years," says Apple's Tim Millet during this M4 hype sequence, cementing our predictions that 2024 is the year Apple tries to catch up to the AI laptop craze by talking up how Apple iPads and MacBooks have had NPUs (the defining feature of AI laptops) built in for years.

"The Neural Engine in M4 is more powerful than any neural processing unit in any AI PC today," claims Millet.

Apple M4 chip

(Image credit: Apple)

Pretty cool! With the big hardware reveals out of the way, Apple's quickly throwing to staffer Will Hui to talk up new updates coming to Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro. The most notable new addition? A new Final Cut Camera feature for iPads that lets you use them as live cameras during a video shoot.

Logic Pro 2 on iPad Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

And now we're getting a tour of some of the new features of the new Logic Pro 2, including some new options for generating session music, remixing tracks on the iPad Pro, and more.

Logic Pro 2

(Image credit: Apple)

Okay, time to hear about the cameras on the new iPad Pro 2024 models. Most notably, the front-facing camera has been relocated to the long side of the tablet, and that's partly to allow for a built-in magnetic charging edge for the Apple Pencil.

Magic Keyboard 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

Ooh, and Apple is also releasing a new Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro that comes in two colors and has, among other things, a built-in function row. Neat!

Apple Pencil Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

Ooh, and a new Apple Pencil Pro with a new sensor in the barrel to let you squeeze it and summon a palette of tools. There's also force feedback in the Pencil Pro to give you physical reassurances about what you're doing with it, and it also now supports Apple's "Find My" technology so you can track down a lost Pencil more easily.

Pencil Pro drawing on iPad Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

Now the CEO pf Procreate is on screen talking up how the new Apple Pencil Pro's squeeze features enable more in-depth creating and editing. We're watching demos of artists using the Pro's built-in controls to do things like change the size of a brush, rotate the brush by rotating the barrel of the pencil, and more. Pretty cool!

iPad Pro Pricing

(Image credit: Apple)

The new iPad Pros start at $999 for the smaller model and $1299, while the Magic Keyboards cost $299/$329  and the Apple Pencil Pro costs $129. All these products are available for pre-order today, with shipments expected to go out next week.

iPad Air 13-inch model in blue

(Image credit: Apple)

If you're looking to buy the new iPad Air and iPad Pro, we have quick guides on both tablets, including pricing and timing. Check out our where to buy the M2 iPad Air and where to buy the M4 iPad Pro if you want to get your hands on one of Apple's new tablets. 

The iPad Air 5 on the left and iPad Air 4 on the right

(Image credit: Apple/Tom's Guide)

On the fence about upgrading to the new iPad Air? We have a full iPad Air 2024 vs iPad Air 2022 comparison to break down all the biggest upgrades, including the new chip, tweaked design, accessories and pricing. The biggest difference is for sure the new 13-inch size option. 

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