Opinion: Apple's latest iPad update means even fewer reasons to buy a laptop

In the wake of falling iPad sales, Apple is now updating its range of tablets, and the upgraded iPad Pro in particular can more than keep up with notebooks. — Photo: Christoph Dernbach/dpa

SAN JOSE: Apple has unveiled a new range of iPads including a more powerful – and more expensive – Pro series that appears to be setting the increasingly feature-rich tablets up to rival Apple's own Mac computers.

The next iPad Pro is the first Apple device with the M4 chip, which is more focused on apps using AI. The new models also come with an OLED screens for inkier blacks, and the version with a 13-inch display is the thinnest Apple device to date with a thickness of 5.1 millimetres, the company said at the unveiling on Tuesday.

Apple used to describe the iPad as its vision for the future of the personal computer. However, in recent years, Mac computers have witnessed a surge in popularity following the switch from Intel chips to Apple's in-house processors.

And yet Apple's potent new iPad Pro could see these tablets once again competing with the Mac as a universal computer.

With a new, more robust keyboard dock, the iPads also look more like a laptop than ever before. What's more, they can also be used as a tablet with a touchscreen, a flexibility that Macs do not have.

At the same time, the iPad operating system still gives users less freedom than macOS.

Apple also announced an improved stylus for the iPads, a tool that is often used by professionals in creative contexts.

Tuesday's (May 7) unveiling also saw Apple updating the more affordable iPad Air series, which now also has a larger version with a 13-inch display. On all new devices, the camera has been moved to the long side next to the display - which means it is now less likely to be accidentally covered by a finger.

According to industry analysts, Apple still clearly holds the top spot in the tablet business with a market share of well over 30%. However, iPad sales have fallen recently, partly because Apple took its time updating its models. – dpa

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