Apple's Let Loose event: New iPads to boost company's dwindling tablet division

Cupertino-based company also announces latest M4 chip to boost AI capabilities

Apple introduced a new iPad line-up that comes with enhanced AI capabilities and sleek display. EPA
Powered by automated translation

Apple launched a new artificial intelligence-driven iPad Pro and a bigger iPad Air on Tuesday, as the company aims to bolster its struggling tablet division and wrestles with rivals such Samsung and OnePlus to boost its global tablet market share.

The Cupertino-based company also launched its in-house M4 chips to add to its AI and machine-learning capabilities. The new products were launched at an online event called Let Loose on Tuesday.

The latest iPads Pro is the first redesigned version of the Pro series since 2018.

Comparatively thinner and lighter, it comes in two different sizes – 13-inch and 11-inch displays. Apple said it has added one of the most advanced displays – ultra retina XDR display – in iPad Pro, powered with the latest M4 chip.

M4 chips enable the introduction of a new display engine to allow better precision, colour quality and brightness of the screen.

The 13-inch iPad Pro is 5.1mm thin, which the company claimed makes it its leanest Apple product ever.

This is the “biggest update ever” to iPad Pro, said John Ternus, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering.

“With the breakthrough ultra retina XDR display, the next-level performance of M4, incredible AI capabilities and support for the all-new Apple Pencil Pro and magic keyboard, there is no device like the new iPad Pro,” he added.

Apple also announced the redesigned 11-inch and all-new 13-inch iPad Air with M2 chip.

Ending the longest drought

Apple's latest launch marks the conclusion of its lengthiest hiatus in launching new iPads since the device was initially introduced by co-founder Steve Jobs in 2010.

The last update was in October 2022, with Apple introducing a faster chip to the iPad Pro and releasing a redesigned low-end model.

"Historically, the iPad has been a testing ground for Apple products, a less scrutinised line that allows the company to experiment without the risks associated with doing the same with the iPhone or the Mac,” Thomas Monteiro, senior analyst at, told The National.

"Apple can do two things with the iPad launch, which may be just as important as direct sales right now … test the functionality of the new M4 chips at a less risky part of the operation and create tremendous expectations for future iPhone and Mac products.”

Share price goes up

Following the new products announcement, Apple’s stock jumped 0.3 per cent to trade at $181.76 a share, giving the company a market value of $2.79 trillion at 8.15pm UAE time (12.15pm New York time).

Share price has dropped more than 2 per cent since the start of the year.

Analysts said the new launches could very well drive investor sentiment back into the stock, supporting the company at a “rather volatile moment in its recent history”.

“If [chief executive] Tim Cook manages to show that the new chip line is finally the ground-breaking innovation for Apple products we have been waiting on for years, this could mark the start of Apple's new growth cycle,” said Mr Monterio.

“However, real-world testing will be required and that's what the iPads are mainly here for."

Where iPads stand in revenue

Sales in the last quarter dropped nearly 16.6 per cent annually to $5.6 billion as the company experienced a dwindling interest in its tablets.

However, industry experts do not expect the new iPad line-up to add significantly to the company’s revenue. In fact, they consider it as “groundwork needed for better, more innovative products in the months ahead”, Mr Monterio said.

M4 chip: all set to harness AI to the fullest

The new iPad Pro with M4 chip is capable of 38 trillion operations per second, 60 times faster than Apple’s first neural engine in the A11 bionic chip.

With the new iPad Pro, users can perform AI-enabled tasks “even faster”, Apple said.

The latest operating system will let developers to tap into the neural engine to deliver “phenomenal AI features”, including running powerful diffusion and generative AI models.

The M4 chip will also allow iPad Pro to support cloud-based solutions, enabling users to run productivity and creative apps that tap into the power of AI, such as Copilot for Microsoft 365 and Adobe Firefly.

Prices and availability

Customers can order the new iPad Pro and iPad Air online from today, with availability in stores beginning on May 15.

The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at Dh4,199 ($1,143) for the Wi-Fi model, and Dh4,999 for the Wi-Fi plus cellular model. While the 13-inch iPad Pro starts at Dh5,499 for the Wi-Fi model, and Dh6,299 for the Wi-Fi and cellular model.

The new 11-inch iPad Air will start at Dh2,499 and the 13-inch iPad Air will start at Dh3,299.

Updated: May 07, 2024, 5:36 PM