Today at its "Hey Siri" special event, Apple announced two brand new accessories for the newly-announced iPad Pro. The Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil both allow iPad Pro users to have more tactile experiences for heavy-duty work that a touch-screen alone can't sustain, increasing productivity.
The Smart Keyboard comes built into a Smart Cover and uses the Smart Dome Switch from the MacBook, which means that the keys click down evenly from wherever you hit them. According to Apple, the keys offer the "accuracy, stability, and satisfying key feel of standard keyboards." The keys are covered by a soft, custom woven fabric and the entire keyboard itself is "easily foldable and can transform into a Smart Cover."
The Keyboard connects to the iPad Pro via a new magnetic port called the Smart Connector, which can transmit both data and power at the same time. Because it connects directly to the iPad Pro, the Smart Keyboard does not require a separate battery, on/off switch, or Bluetooth pairing -- snap it on and it works automatically. The Smart Keyboard works with the QuickType features in iOS 9, for quick access to word predictions and autocorrect.
The Apple Pencil is a stylus that's been designed from the ground up to work with the iPad Pro. The touch system of the iPad Pro was designed with the Apple Pencil in mind, for a dramatically reduced latency and impressive accuracy when used for activities like fine art illustration and detailed 3D design.
Sensors inside the Apple Pencil allow it to detect its position on the iPad Pro's screen, tilt, and force, enabling pressure sensitivity. It also calculates both angle and orientation to produce both broad or shaded strokes, and it's precise enough that artists can touch a single pixel on the screen.
The Apple Pencil works with popular iOS apps like Mail, Notes, Procreate, Adobe Photoshop, and Office 365. The battery lasts for several hours and it's able to be recharged via the iPad Pro through a built-in Lightning connector.
Both the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard are sold separately from the iPad Pro. The Apple Pencil will retail for $99, while the Smart Keyboard will retail for $169. Both accessories will be available for purchase in November alongside the iPad Pro.