Apple challenges Windows 10 hybrids with 12.9-inch iPad Pro

Then invites Microsoft on-stage to talk productivity on the iPad Pro in a blow to rival Google.

Apple is responding to Windows 10 with the launch of a larger iPad replete with a keyboard cover and stylus.

The screen of the iPad Pro spans 12.9-inches — similar in size to a 13-inch notebook. The screen is as wide as the iPad Air 2 is tall, which makes it possible to run a full sized application without compromise, and then have a secondary app run alongside it on the same screen.

Apple has taken lessons learned with its 5K iMac and used them for the display of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. It has a 2732x2048 resolution screen giving it a total count of 5.6 million pixels.

Bordering the screen in a first for Apple are four speakers, intended to improve game playing and movie watching.

Powering the slate is Apple’s third-generation A9X processor. The company claims it’s powerful enough to edit three streams of 4K footage in its iMovie application.

Accessory support is strong with the release of a keyboard-cover and a stylus. These accessories pitt the iPad Pro directly against Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, a 12-inch hybrid which can be bundled with a keyboard-cover and a stylus.

US pricing for the Apple iPad Pro
US pricing for the Apple iPad Pro

In a surprise twist, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, invited a Microsoft executive on stage to talk about the iPad Pro's productivity potential. The move proved opportune for Microsoft as it spruiked its Office suite of applications to an audience using its rival's hardware.

Apple claims the larger and more powerful tablet will still last longer than a full work day with up to ten hours of battery life.

Read more: Samsung takes a page from Apple's winning handbook with its Galaxy Tab S2

Additional features include an 8MP camera, dual-band Wi-Fi and support for LTE networks capable of 150Mbps.

Pricing for the iPad Pro starts at US$799 for the 32GB Wi-Fi only model and it will be released in the US in November. Australian pricing and availability has yet to be announced.

More to follow.

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