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Apple iPad Event 2018: Attack of the Dongles

Today's iPad and Mac event included a new Mac Book Air, a new Mac Mini, and the long awaited "X" iPad.

iPad Pro X

While not officially dubbed with an X, the new models of iPad Pro are definitely the iPad Pro X. Available in 11" and 12.9", both models sport a beefed up A12X processor. The A12, which appears in this year's iPhone models, has 6 CPU cores and 4 GPU cores. The A12X brings those totals up to 8 CPUs and 7 GPUs, to accommodate the larger screen. The new iPads also include FaceID, without the iPhone screen notch, so they've dropped the home button.

Moist Dongles

All in all this is an excellent looking iPad, but for musicians there are two big annoyances.

The new design removes the 3.5mm headphone jack. The excuse for doing so on the phones was to make them waterproof, because apparently a lot of people have been dropping their phones in the toilet. Apple did not indicate whether or not the new iPad Pros are also toilet safe. Either way, you'll need a dongle just to plug in your headphones now.

All of your Lightning peripherals will also need a dongle, because Apple have changed specs again. The new iPad Pros come with USB-C connectors. While this will be super annoying for some peripherals that were designed with the Lightning port in mind, it is something we should have all seen coming eventually after they dropped 30-pin. Switching from their proprietary Lightning connector to USB-C will probably be a good thing in the long-run, at least until Apple changes again.

You can order one of these new devices today, shipping on the 7th, but you better be prepared to spend over $1,000. The 11" model starts at $800 for just 64GB of storage, so realistically you'll need to go one more SKU up to 265GB. The price then jumps up to $950! If you want to top out at the maximum 1TB you'll need to pay a comical $1,550. Plus tax. Remember to add at least $100-200 to all of these prices for sales tax.

God help you if you want the 12.9" model, which starts at $1,000 for the paltry 64GB model. $1,150 gets you into the 256GB, while the illusory 1TB iPad will run you $1,750. If you think the new Apple Pencil is worth grabbing that'll be an extra $130, and the Keyboard Folio is priced between $180-$200. A grand total of $2,080 buys you the biggest iPad with all of the accessories... plus tax, which takes it to $2,206.81.

Here is the full iPad portion of today's event, as posted by Digital Trends.

Reader Comments 26

GOOD! I have absolutely NO desire to upgrade my iPad Pro that I brought last November. No headphone jack, no home button, no lighting connection, are they f'ing stupid? I can't believe this!
October 30, 2018  | person pineal wave
And while the soc provides insane performance, ram is still just 4gb. Only if you buy the 1tb pro will it have 6gb of ram. wtf is with that?
October 30, 2018  | favorite_border Erik
"Moist Dongles" - lol!
On October 30, 2018 - @Erik said:
And while the soc provides insane performance, ram is still just 4gb. Only if you buy the 1tb pro will it have 6gb of ram. wtf is with that?

Why would they quietly add more RAM with the larger storage version?
October 30, 2018  | person dysamoria
I’ll be holding on to my current 1st generation iPad Pro 12.9”. I’m too poor to participate in Apple’s constant obsoleting of products.

I really find the elimination of the headphone/line out socket to be bizarre. What are they expecting people to do? The dongle for headphones doesn’t let you power the device, nor do USB-C headphones for all I know. At this point, the iPad needs a dock if you’re going to use it with other devices.
October 30, 2018  | person dysamoria
No headphone jack... not happy.
October 30, 2018  | person_outline Simon
On October 30, 2018 - @pantsofdeath said:
"Moist Dongles" - lol!
Yeah... there's a weird story behind that. Many years ago I heard a woman say that she was offended by the word, "moist." No specific context was necessary, she just didn't like the word. That's when I stopped giving a fuck about offending anyone. You can't possibly go on not offending people when some of those people are going to decide to be offended over such trivial nonsense.

This is apparently a common phenomenon though. Lots of people are offended by that word. I recently read something on Reddit that claimed some small but significant percentage of people thought it was offensive. We'll have to assume that all of those people are American, because I can't imagine an Australian being offended by anything so silly.

I think dongle is a pretty silly word too, so I was pleased to find a relevant way of combining them!
At those prices I could buy a MacBook Pro, and start using all my non iOS apps, that have been gathering dust. So Apple are pushing evolution backwards in my case! My 12.9” does everything I need, apart from the so so graphics. What’s the highest frame rate of the new iPads I wonder...? -)
October 31, 2018  | person Sarmad
nothing worse than dangling dongles
October 31, 2018  | person_outline jc
Ridiculous. I recently upgraded my iPad from an Air 2 to a refurbished "2017" for $300-ish. That seemed fair to continue enjoying *most* of my favorite music apps on the latest iOS (minus all the 32-bit ones of course - but I kept the Air 2). At $650-1000 and up, screw that and the trillion dollar horse it rode in on. I'd be looking at 2-in-1 PCs that could run the full version of Reason.
October 31, 2018  | person jimhanks
Within a matter of time there will be 3rd party USB C dongles and docs. Everybody calm down, it ALWAYS works this way. Belkin, or someone like them will have a little “tray” with USB-C for all our MIDI hook ups, powering needs, and headphone out. There probably ALREADY IS something On the market, or in the making. People don’t realize that this new Bionic chip is a mutherfucker for power. Cook wasn’t exaggerating about it beating the snot out of most desktops, it is absolutely true. Imagine what you will be able to do in Auria, Cubase, BM3, AUM. Your plug in and synth count is going to be fucking insane.
October 31, 2018  | person burnalot
On October 31, 2018 - @burnalot said:
Within a matter of time there will be 3rd party USB C dongles and docs. Everybody calm down, it ALWAYS works this way. Belkin, or someone like them will have a little “tray” with USB-C for all our MIDI hook ups, powering needs, and headphone out. There probably ALREADY IS something On the market, or in the making. People don’t realize that this new Bionic chip is a mutherfucker for power. Cook wasn’t exaggerating about it beating the snot out of most desktops, it is absolutely true. Imagine what you will be able to do in Auria, Cubase, BM3, AUM. Your plug in and synth count is going to be fucking insane.
I know, the A12X is a screamer as SJ would say, but paired with how much ram? Ram is the bottleneck when running multiple instances of AU’s right?
October 31, 2018  | favorite_border Erik
No one seems to care about ram in the new iPad Pro
October 31, 2018  | person_outline perry pelican
Ram is not necessary since the IPad is optimized, but I am really sorry to see the Headphone jack go. But on the whole the thing is stellar. But I dont know if I wil buy it. I have the 2017 IPad and am going to wait on this.
October 31, 2018  | person_outline Metalizer
Apple do it again. a triumph of design over substance. On the new iPad Pros, if there is no Home button how the hell do you take a screen grab? Also, the fact that they will not allow the use of USB drives to take stuff on and off the iPad is a big turn off. Not as big as the price, though, which is diabolical.

What I would really have liked to see, and considered paying out for, was a variant of the new MacBook Air that ran IOS. Effectively, IOS as a laptop including USB C inputs that were not intentionally crippled.
October 31, 2018  | person Zen
On October 31, 2018 - @burnalot said: Imagine what you will be able to do in Auria, Cubase, BM3, AUM.

It would almost be worth it, if Auria Pro stopped falling over and corrupting projects, if the plug-ins lists was alphabetical, if the ongoing bollocks about who is reposnsible for Fab Filters not retaining their display settings was fixed, etc, etc, etc.
October 31, 2018  | person Zen
On October 31, 2018 - @perry pelican said:
No one seems to care about ram in the new iPad Pro

Wow that is condescending. Also bullshit. I care. And more people should if this post is correct: https://www.macrumors.com/2018/10/30/ipad-pro-1tb-has-6gb-ram/
Apple has never said anything about the amount of ram inside the iPad, that does not mean it is not important or that the amount has never changed. Check the specsheet at the bottom https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPad_Pro

On October 31, 2018 - @Metalizer said:
Ram is not necessary since the IPad is optimized, but I am really sorry to see the Headphone jack go. But on the whole the thing is stellar. But I dont know if I wil buy it. I have the 2017 IPad and am going to wait on this.

Of course any computer device needs some ram, and more is better even if the iPad is optimized. 4gb could be enough, but was already in the first gen pro 12.9 inch. The amount should grow in tandem with the power of the cpu and the amount of storage, otherwise there will be a bottleneck for sure.
October 31, 2018  | favorite_border Erik
On October 31, 2018 - @Sarmad said:
At those prices I could buy a MacBook Pro, and start using all my non iOS apps, that have been gathering dust. So Apple are pushing evolution backwards in my case! My 12.9” does everything I need, apart from the so so graphics. What’s the highest frame rate of the new iPads I wonder...? -)
120 hz which is smooth as butter
October 31, 2018  | favorite_border Erik
On October 31, 2018 - @Tim Webb said:
Yeah... there's a weird story behind that. [...] dongle is a pretty silly word too, so I was pleased to find a relevant way of combining them!

I hope this website will always please you as much as it does the rest of us. and May all your dongles be moist, this Happy Halloween. XD
October 31, 2018  | person_outline Hx
On October 31, 2018 - @Hx said:

I hope this website will always please you as much as it does the rest of us. and May all your dongles be moist, this Happy Halloween. XD

Thanks, Hx! Happy Halloween! I'm so excited for tonight!
This'll reveal what an old timer I am. The term "dongle" used to refer to an object that would need to be attached to a port on the computer simply to authorize a program. It did nothing but hang there-- hence "dongle". A do-nothing object robbing you of a port.

Later, I started to hear every manner of adapter referred to as a "dongle" which bugged me, because what was special about the word was that it referred to something doing nothing, and robbing you of a port, not simply using the port with an adapter. But that's how language goes. You can control it, with all of its moist implications.
October 31, 2018  | favorite_border stub
@stub: I remember those! My friends in 3D animation needed them for 3DSmax, or maybe it was Lightwave.

I think it caught on for other uses because we have all these dongles dangling.
Blahhhhhh and there was no new GarageBand to show this off?
I’m not buying this glorified turd
October 31, 2018  | person_outline Tik777
Yeah ok I'm done. I have both 1st and 2nd gen Pro's, iPad 2, 3, 4, and original air, and even though I have all the typical good synth, sequencer, and FX apps, my next tablet will be a Windows tablet so I can run Reaper or Cubase, Kontakt, Omnisphere, etc. Not digging the super thin bezel on this new one, no home button, no 3.5mm headphone jack .. done done done. The iPads have been a conveinence thing for me, they are no longer convienant in this new format .. for me, I'm sure others will dig it, but I'm DONE.
November 01, 2018  | person Rick Emerson
On October 31, 2018 - @Tim Webb said:
Yeah... there's a weird story behind that. Many years ago I heard a woman say that she was offended by the word, "moist." No specific context was necessary, she just didn't like the word. That's when I stopped giving a fuck about offending anyone. You can't possibly go on not offending people when some of those people are going to decide to be offended over such trivial nonsense.

This is apparently a common phenomenon though. Lots of people are offended by that word. I recently read something on Reddit that claimed some small but significant percentage of people thought it was offensive. We'll have to assume that all of those people are American, because I can't imagine an Australian being offended by anything so silly.

I think dongle is a pretty silly word too, so I was pleased to find a relevant way of combining them!


Well some people LOVE to be offended - there was that woman who got a couple of blokes fired because she was offended by a dongle joke... https://techcrunch.com/2013/03/21/a-dongle-joke-that-spiraled-way-out-of-control/

I am starting to think offending people is the civic duty of all right thinking folk. Seems Apple are on the same page as they are looking to offend everyone with their war on connectors!
'course my big fear now is that App Developers will start making apps that require 4G of RAM to run and my trusty old(ish) iPad will fall behind the curve... mind you, I have the same worry every year when the new Pads come out...
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