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Apple 'Let Loose' event recap: New iPad Air, iPad Pro, Magic Keyboard, Apple Pencil Pro and more

The latest on iPad Air, iPad Pro, Magic Keyboard, and Apple Pencil Pro from today's event!

Laptop Live coverage of Apple 'Let Loose' iPad event
(Image: © Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

Welcome to Laptop Mag and our live blog coverage of today's Apple 'Let Loose' event!

Today's event might be over, but we'll be reporting to you throughout the day with expanded coverage on everything we know so far about the new iPad Air, iPad Pro, Magic Keyboard, and Apple Pencil Pro.

So stick around, bookmark this page, and follow Laptop Mag on XFacebook, and Flipboard for everything Apple and iPad today!

Apple 'Let Loose' event: Follow-up coverage

Apple 'Let Loose' event: Everything announced

  • The new iPad Air features an M2 chipset for much improved performance and efficiency. The Air now includes a new model measuring 13-inches in size, and retains the 11-inch option of old.

    The iPad Air M2 will be available from May 15 starting at $599 for the 11-inch model and $799 for the 13-inch model. Check out where to pre-order the new iPad Air M2.
  • Available in 11-inch and 13-inch models with up to 2TB of storage and featuring the latest M4 chipset and a new OLED display, the iPad Pro is the most powerful of Apple's tablets to date.

    The iPad Pro M4 will be available from May 15 starting at $999 for the 11-inch model and $1,299 for the 13-inch model. Check out where to pre-order the new iPad Pro.
  • The Apple Pencil Pro was unveiled in full, touting a new gyroscope-powered Barrel Roll feature for refined precision and control over the Hover feature found in M2 iPad Pro models. A new Squeeze feature offers a short cut hot bar to access tools rapidly, and a haptic motor delivers accurate feedback to actions performed.

    The Apple Pencil Pro is available to pre-order now from the Apple homepage and will be available from May 15 for $129.
  • Apple's Magic Keyboard revamp was revealed, featuring an aluminum wrist rest, larger trackpad and a new function row for the back-lit keyboard giving quick access to screen dimming and media controls.

    The Apple Magic Keyboard is available to pre-order now from the Apple homepage and will be available from May 15 for $299 for the 11-inch model and $349 for the 13-inch model.

Welcome to Laptop Mag, and our live blog coverage of today's Apple 'Let Loose' event! We're just a few hours away from some major iPad reveals. We've already had some strong reports about what to expect when the tape rolls on today's event, so let's go over what we know so far while we wait for things to kick off!

Will Apple debut the M4 chip today?

Photo illustration of Apple M4 chip colorfully springing to life from the control board of a MacBook Pro

(Image credit: Future photo illustration)

It seems strange for Apple to debut its latest chip during an iPad-focused event, especially with the M3-touting 13-inch MacBook Air and 15-inch MacBook Air having just released earlier this year.

However, according to Bloomberg, the new iPad Pro models could skip the M3 chip entirely and go straight to Apple's next-gen M4 platform.

When will the M4 come to MacBook?

If today does mark the debut of the M4 chip, everyone will want to know when they can expect Apple's latest processor to feature in MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models. Well, lucky you, that's something we may already know.

Early reports suggest that the first MacBooks to feature the M4 chip will launch between October and November later this year. The first of Apple's laptops to feature this chipset is said to be the 14-inch MacBook Pro, which will launch alongside a 24-inch iMac also featuring the same M4 chip.

It's said that 16-inch MacBook Pro models will follow with M4 Pro and M4 Max configurations, with an M4/M4 Pro Mac mini in tow.

What else do we know about the M4 chip?

Each new generation of Apple's M-series chips brings sweeping improvements to performance and efficiency. But can we bank on the M4 chipset to do the same?

Much of what we know so far about the M4 is rumor and speculation. However, should these prove accurate, the M4 will be the first of Apple's chips to be developed using a 2-nanometer process.

This indicates the transistor density inside the chip, with the lower the number the better. Apple's current-gen M3 chip are based on a 3-nanometer process, meaning the leap to M4 could see considerable gains across the board for MacBooks — and the latest iPad Pro if word is to be believed.

M4 iPad Pro: Is it likely?

Speculation is all well and good, and often quite fun, but how likely are we to see an iPad Pro featuring an M4 chip be announced today?

That's a tough one! We'd typically expect Apple to debut its chips on MacBook first, giving them the best chance to shine when it comes to uncapped performance. However, this generation of iPad could be Apple's biggest push to date to present the iPad Pro as a viable laptop replacement.

That being said, it was only last month that we caught wind that the M4 chip was "nearing production," making its appearance in the iPad Pro seem unlikely — unless Apple plan to reveal its tablet today, but launch it later in the year to coincide with the M4 MacBook Pro.

What to expect from a new iPad Pro

iPad Pro 2024 mockup image

(Image credit: Future Photo Illustration)

If Apple's iPad Pro doesn't feature the M4 chip, there's still plenty to look forward to. The new iPad Pro should at the very least feature Apple's current-gen M3 chip, meaning there'll still be considerable upgrades to expect when it comes to overall performance and efficiency, resulting in a longer-lasting and more powerful tablet.

iPad Pro 2024: What's changing?

There's nothing wrong with the iPad Pro's current display, it's literally called liquid retina because it's so good it melts eyeballs. However, that doesn't mean we will say no to the rumored OLED panel heading our way with today's announcement.

A new OLED panel for the iPad Pro would mean better color accuracy and a more vibrant, crisper image. It also makes way for thinner display panels allowing for the potential of trimmer chassis, slimmer bezels, or more internal room to include improved layouts for thermal management or higher storage capacities.

Speaking of, today's iPad Pro announcement could see a configuration available with up to 2TB of storage. A whopping amount of space to make use of and another clear indication of Apple's intent to push the iPad Pro as a more worthy MacBook alternative.

What about the iPad Air 6?

While the iPad Pro has incredible potential, let's not forget about the prospect of a new iPad Air now featuring the mighty M2 chipset.

The sixth-generation iPad Air is expected to arrive in two sizes: the typical 10.9-inch model, and a new iPad Pro-like sizing of 12.9 inches. This expanded panel will be a treat for those envious of the Pro model's larger display, though unable to meet its premium pricing.

The M2 chip has been a solid performer for the iPad Pro previously, and we'd expect a similar level of performance to now feature for the iPad Air. This could also mean that Apple Pencil features like Hover make their way to the smaller tablet, too!

This round of iPad refreshes could do wonders for both Air and Pro lines, but could make choosing between them slightly more interesting.

The real magic is the accessories we'll gain along the way

Apple Magic Keyboard review

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

One of the major things preventing many iPad users from adopting it as a laptop replacement is its primarily touch interface. Even though the iPad has the Magic Keyboard to fall back on, and the option to use wireless keyboards over Bluetooth, there's been a decided lack of a laptop-like feel to things.

However, that could be set to change with Apple's new Magic Keyboard revamp.

The new Magic Keyboard, or potentially the Magic Keyboard Pro, hopes to breathe new life into the iPad as a laptop debate by bringing with it a deck more closely aligned to the MacBook experience. 

This new deck features a much larger trackpad and a more sturdy and durable aluminum design that will go above and beyond to address the complaints of the current Magic Keyboard's flimsier offerings.

Pencil us in

Apple Pencil (USB-C)

(Image credit: Apple)

If you'd have told me that I'd be getting excited about a pencil in 2024, I'd have assumed you'd just broken free from your straight jacket and were part way through making a dash to cross state lines.

However, surprisingly enough, the new Apple Pencil, or the Apple Pencil Pro as it might be called, is shaping up to be quite the accessory.

Apple are going all-in on touch controls this generation it seems, with the iPhone 16 rumored to feature capacitive buttons and the new Apple Pencil Pro set to feature a number of touch-sensitive inputs to streamline the writing and art experience.

The Apple Pencil Pro: What's new?

You'd think it would be quite hard to innovate on the concept of a "pencil" but here we are. The new Apple Pencil Pro as it's being dubbed online is set to include a host of improvements that could dramatically improve its usability and functionality.

While much of what we know is once again rumor, I feel confident in my ability to predict that Apple's stylus will retain much of the same overall design as all pencils have since the mid-1500s. That aside, things are reportedly changing in some very noticeable ways.

Apple's stylus is rumored to feature interchangeable magnetic nibs that can be hot-swapped to suit various tasks. for example, a harder tip for note taking and writing, and a softer tip for digital art project.

Apple Pencil Pro: It's all about the touch

The biggest change heading to the Apple Pencil will potentially come in the form of new gesture-based touch controls.

A recent report indicated that the Apple Pencil Pro would feature a "squeeze" input that could detect compressive force as a user input.

Digging into things a little further, we uncovered some long filed Apple patents for the Apple Pencil that showcased a similar feature alongside several other touch-based methods that could also make it to the revised stylus.

Apple patents showing new Apple Pencil input features

(Image credit: Apple)

These gestures include brushing your index finger along the top of the pencil to potentially interact with sliders like brush sizes, opacity settings, etc.

Also there's the returning tap and double tap options that could be used to switch tools or interact with elements while using Hover.

Squeeze your problems away

Apple homepage that teases new Apple Pencil on May 6, 2024.

(Image credit: Apple)

One proposed feature of the new "squeeze" gesture could be to enable the eraser, letting you quickly remove any unwanted aspects of your notes or drawings.

Of course, it's also entirely possible that any of these new inputs can be fully customized like the iPhone 15's action button, giving users total control over how their Apple Pencil functions across various apps.

Apple "Let Loose" iPad event: It's almost showtime

Laptop Live coverage of Apple 'Let Loose' iPad event

(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

We're now less than 20 minutes away from today's showcase kicking off, you can either stick with us for ongoing coverage throughout the event or make sure to give our guide on how to watch the Apple "Let Loose" iPad event and catch the reveals as they happen.

Apple Let Loose Alternative Logos

(Image credit: Apple)

The showcase begins!

"This is the biggest day for iPad since it's introduction"

Tim Cook is hinting at big things for today's announcements during his recap.

Apple iPad screenshot

(Image credit: Apple)

Tim Cook hails the iPad as a great tool for productivity and gaming.

"It's this incredible versatility that defines iPad"

Apple iPad Air M2 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

iPad Air is up first, with Apple keen to showcase the portability and performance of its tablet.

The iPad Air will be available in two models, the regular 11-inch, and a new 13-inch model, offering 30% more space than the regular model.

Both models feature the M2 chipset, offering three times the performance.

Apple iPad Air M2 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

The iPad Air for 2024 is looking to be a great improvement, with a solid performance boost from the power of the M2 chip.

Apple iPad Pro 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

Our first look at Apple's new iPad Pro showcases an impressively thin redesign.

"We're not only going to push the limits of what you can do on iPad, we're going to crush them" - John Ternus, Senior VP Hardware Engineering

Ultra Retina HDR promises the best visuals on an iPad yet with 1K to 1.6K of peak brightness through its tandem OLED process. Coated by nano-texture glass to reduce glare by scattering ambient light.

Apple M4 Chip

(Image credit: Apple)

It's confirmed, the new iPad Pro will feature Apple's M4 chipset!

Apple claim that the M4 offers four times the performance of the M2 chip at half the power.

Apple M4 spec sheet

(Image credit: Apple)

"The neural engine makes M4 an outrageously powerful chip for AI." - Tim Millet, VP Platform Architecture. Apple claim it can isolate a moving subject from its background in 4K video with ease. Impressive!

Apple iPad Pro 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple are pushing the iPad as a profession and creative tool hard in this presentation, showcasing Final Cut Pro's capabilities on the M4 chip while also subtly pointing out the iPad Pro's Thunderbolt port!

Logic Pro on iPad Pro M4

(Image credit: Apple)

Logic Pro 2 on iPad Pro M4 is showcased, further stressing the device's capabilities and powerful performance.

Screenshots from Apple "Let Loose" event May 7 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

The iPad Pro's Adaptive True Tone flash, LiDAR scanner, and 12MP camera with Five-element lens, Smart HDR 4 and 4K ProRes video is a treat! It even allows for document scanning in low-lighting conditions. A game changer for those converting to the paperless age.

Screenshots from Apple "Let Loose" event May 7 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

It's onto accessories now as we're introduced to the new Magic Keyboard and the Apple Pencil Pro.

"The incredible new Magic Keyboard makes the new iPad Pro more portable and convenient than ever." The deck is bigger, very reminiscent of the MacBook and with a sizable trackpad. 

Screenshots from Apple "Let Loose" event May 7 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

Barrel Roll is a new Apple Pencil Pro feature made possible by an internal gyroscope to detect rotation and tilt. Allowing users to adjust the tilt and angle of brush strokes with ease. 

Apple iPad Pro M4 Specs

(Image credit: Apple)

What a trio of hardware and accessories! The iPad Pro M4 will be available from next week starting from $999 for the 11-inch model, and from $1,299 for the 13-inch model.

Apple Magic Keyboard price

(Image credit: Apple)

The new Magic Keyboard will be available in 11-inch and 13-inch models for $299 and $349 respectively!

Apple Pencil Pro price

(Image credit: Apple)

And the new Apple Pencil Pro will be available for $129! Not a bad price considering the wealth of new features heading to Apple's stylus.

Screenshots from Apple "Let Loose" May 7 2024 event

(Image credit: Apple)

The iPad Air will be available from next week starting at $599 for the 11-inch model and from $799 for the new 13-inch model.

To cap things off, the iPad 10th gen will now see a healthy price cut to just $349!

Tim Cook at Apple Park

(Image credit: Apple)

With Tim Cook's sign-off out of the way, he points us in the direction of this year's WWDC event for more news about the software changes heading to the new iPad Air and iPad Pro with iPadOS 18.

You can learn more about iPadOS 18 and everything we expect at WWDC 24 so far at our dedicated rumor hubs! Favorite these pages and check back with us for up to the date information as we get it!

Screenshots from Apple "Let Loose" event May 7 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

It was a whirlwind experience, and I've no doubt missed a host of details in the mad dash to share what we've seen today. Thankfully we'll be offering follow-up coverage throughout the day to flesh out more of what to expect from Apple's latest iPads and accessories.

Be sure to follow Laptop Mag on XFacebook, and Flipboard to catch these articles as they arrive!

For now, let's recap on what we've seen...

Apple iPad Air (6th Gen)

(Image credit: Apple)

The sixth-generation Apple iPad Air offers the power of the M2 chip for three times the performance of previous A12 Bionic iPad Airs. This mighty processor is also 50% faster than the M1 iPad air that came before it, and offers incredible performance across gaming and apps.

This new processor helps power the Liquid Retina display which now comes in both 11-inch and 13-inch formats for the first time. This expanded screen size is great for deeper immersion in movies and games, and also top-notch for productivity, allowing you to fit more vital information on the screen at once.

Apple iPad Air M2 pricing

(Image credit: Apple)

The iPad Air also features a shifted 12MP front camera, now located on the landscape edge of the device for better FaceTime calls or selfies while holding the device horizontally and with a lone rear 12MP camera for regular photos.

The iPad Air M2 also offers up to 1TB of storage (with 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB configurations also available), an impressive trove of space to make use of for all your apps, photos, and files!

The iPad Air M2 is available for pre-order now from the Apple homepage and will be available from May 15 from $599 for the 11-inch model and $799 for the 13-inch model.

Apple iPad Pro M4

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple came out swinging when it came to its new iPad Pro. We were expecting something big from the way Apple spoke, but I'm still in shock that the M4 rumors turned out to be true!

This makes the iPad Pro of 2024 the most powerful tablet on the market, offering 4x faster pro rendering performance than the M2-equipped iPad Pro of old, and 1.5x the CPU performance to boot.

While some had concerns about the M3 not being enough of a generational increase in performance, the leap from M2 to M4 should not disappoint. The iPad Pro M4 bundles both a powerful NPU for advanced AI capabilities and an impressive GPU with hardware-accelerated ray tracing.

Senior VP of Hardware Engineering, John Ternus was not kidding when he said "We're not only going to push the limits of what you can do on iPad, we're going to crush them!"

Screenshots from Apple "Let Loose" event May 7 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

This would almost be enough of a refresh for most, but Apple didn't stop there. Not only is the iPad Pro being powered by Apple's latest and greatest chipset, it's also touting an OLED display for the first time. Tandem OLED, in fact.

Two OLED panels combine to offer up to 1600 nits of peak brightness, while retaining all the vivid color and excellent saturation we've come to enjoy about Apple's Liquid Retina screens. This is Apple's Ultra Retina XDR display, with a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio with True Tone and ProMotion for an adaptive 10-120Hz ultra-smooth refresh rate.

The iPad Pro M4 is available for pre-order now from the Apple homepage and will be available from May 15 from $999 for the 11-inch model and $1,299 for the 13-inch model.

Apple Magic Keyboard

Screenshots from Apple "Let Loose" event May 7 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

On to something I was most looking forward to, and possibly most let down by. It's still a considerable upgrade over the current Magic Keyboard, but I was potentially hoping for a little bit more from Apple here.

The all-new Magic Keyboard is thinner and lighter than before, retaining the floating cantilever hinge of the original, and available in white or black. For the first time, the Magic Keyboard includes a function row with easy access to shortcuts for screen brightness and media controls.

Screenshots from Apple "Let Loose" event May 7 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

It also now features an aluminum palm rest, not quite the entire aluminum MacBook deck emulation I was hoping for, but the new, larger trackpad is a welcome addition.

That's pretty much all Apple had to say on this accessory, and I was certainly hoping for more from it. Aesthetically, I can't complain. The all-new Magic Keyboard does look pretty great, it just doesn't seem quite as all-new as claimed to be.

I was hoping for something that would eventually measure up to Apple's ambitious pricing for the Magic Keyboard, but I'm not entirely sold on this being it.

Screenshots from Apple "Let Loose" event May 7 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple Magic Keyboard is available to pre-order now from the Apple homepage and will be available from May 15 for $299 for the 11-inch model and $349 for the 13-inch model.

Apple Magic Pencil Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

While the Magic Keyboard didn't impress me all that much, I can't say the same for the new Apple Pencil Pro, an accessory seemingly designed to give Apple the license to print money at will.

It feels like only hours ago when I was telling you all how difficult it must be to innovate on the pencil (it was only hours ago, after all), and yet somehow Apple has made it look easy with the Pencil Pro.

Apple Pencil Pro price

(Image credit: Apple)

The staples are all here, a return of Apple Pencil Hover, tilt sensitivity, pressure sensitivity, pixel-perfect precision, and low latency responsiveness. However, the Pencil's newest features steal the show with the Squeeze detection offering a hot bar of sorts for rapid tool selection and haptic feedback giving subtle vibrations to indicate on-device snaps or selections.

Most impressive of all is Barrel roll, a gyroscope-enabled feature that accurately detects rotations for precise control over shaped brushes. This is an excellent feature when paired with Hover and promises to make the new Apple Pencil Pro the premiere stylus of choice for digital artists.

The Apple Pencil Pro is available to pre-order now from the Apple homepage and will be available from May 15 for $129 with free personalization.

Apple 'Let Loose' iPad event: What did we get wrong?

We had a lot of predictions going into this event, and it's easy to spot where you got things right. But where did our predictions go wrong, and are they something we can look forward to in the future?

Apple iPad Air (M2)

Apple iPad Air M2 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

When it comes to the iPad Air, we didn't have many expectations. This was more of a simple refresh, and pretty much directly in line with our assumptions. We also caught wind of the 13-inch model early on, which was proven right today. What we didn't see coming was the height of its improved storage options, now offering up to 1TB of storage.

This is something we're more than happy to welcome to the iPad Air line, as there's never any harm to giving users more space to make use of. We'd expect the 2TB option to remain with the Pro line for now, but we'd love to see the iPad Air eventually adopt the new Ultra Retina XDR display. However, given the chance, we'd be more than happy for Apple to dive right in with its Micro-LED panels.

Apple iPad Pro (M4)

Apple iPad Pro 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

While we had heard the rumor that the iPad Pro would receive the M4 chip, I can't tell you that we were 100% convinced, regardless of how trusted the source of that information is.

However, while it seemed like an outside possibility, it remained a possibility, and it's one that's come to fruition. We also expected the iPad Pro to feature an OLED panel for the first time, and that has also been proven true. The same goes for the 2TB storage option and the switch to 11-inch and 13-inch models.

What can we hope for more of in the future? A continued push to keep the iPad Pro at a parallel with MacBook and retain its access to top of the line Apple silicon chips. That would be most welcomed.

Apple Magic Keyboard

Screenshots from Apple "Let Loose" event May 7 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

The Magic Keyboard is maybe the single disappointment from today's show. While everything Apple had to show lines up with our information, I was personally hoping for a little more.

From early reports, I was hoping for something that was a little bit closer to a modular component for the iPad Pro that resulted in a much more familiar MacBook experience.

It's something I'd love to see from Apple eventually. A full emulation of the MacBook deck for iPad, speakers included. Maybe then I could justify the Magic Keyboard's mighty price tag. That would be the Magic Keyboard Pro I'd want to see anyway.

Apple Pencil Pro

Screenshots from Apple "Let Loose" event May 7 2024

(Image credit: Apple)

While we went digging through Apple patents to try to get the jump on the Apple Pencil Pro, we weren't successful in predicting the Barrel Roll feature or support for Find My, which promises to ensure you never lose your iPad peripheral again.

Squeeze was a feature we saw coming, but we weren't entirely sure how it would be used. This pop-up menu control seems impressively intuitive and should make digital artists incredibly happy by noticeably speeding up workflows.

Could we see some of our predicted Pencil Pro features like swiping gestures come to future models? Potentially! Apple have the technology to put it into action, and with tap and double tap controls already in place, and a wider push towards capacitive controls, it's not out of the question.

Our coverage continues!

Apple's "Let Loose" event has drawn to a close, but our coverage continues! Check out the following Laptop Mag articles to dive further into today's announcements: