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Apple unveils refreshed iPad Pro, Air lineup amid sales slump

Apple unveiled a more powerful — and more expensive — iPad on Tuesday as the tech giant looks to reverse a lengthy sales slump for the gadgets.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm debuted new versions of its flagship iPad Pro and its more affordable iPad Air at an online event that Apple CEO Tim Cook referred to as the biggest day for iPad since its introduction.

The updated iPad Pro utilizes Apples more powerful M4 chip, which is set to power the companys push to integrate artificial intelligence features within the devices.

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The new version is also said to be lighter and thinner than past models while utilizing the worlds most advanced display.

Elsewhere, a redesigned version of the iPad Air features a larger display than past models and comes equipped with the less-advanced M2 chip.

Investors had a muted response to the iPad event.

Apple shares closed up 0.4% at $182.40.

The new iPad Pros 11-inch version starts at $999, while the larger 13-inch version starts at $1,299.

Both were about $200 more expensive compared to the previous model.

The 11-inch version of the iPad Air costs $599 and the 13-inch version costs $799.

Apple also debuted new iPad-linked accessories, including a so-called Magic Keyboard that starts at $249.

All of the new products go on sale May 15.

The tech giant is aiming to rebound from a tough start to the year.

Shares have dipped nearly 2% since January as Apple weathers a host of challenges, including weak demand for its iPhones and a major antitrust lawsuit filed by the Justice Department.

The iPad segment was a weak point in Apples second-quarter earnings results last Tuesday.

Revenue fell 17% to $5.6 billion for the quarter, which missed analysts estimate of $5.91 billion.

Apple sold 9.9 million iPads during the first quarter, according to data compiled by IDC. That figure marked an 8.5% decline compared to the same quarter one year ago, when Apple sold 10.8 million units.

Despite the downward trend, Apple still holds a commanding lead over the tablet market since the iPad’s debut in 2010.

Its market share was 32% during the first quarter, while its nearest competitor, Samsung, held a 21.7% share.

Apple is expected to provide a major update about its AI plans at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

We believe the AI strategy at Apple will consist of an AI App Store that will be the foundational starting point for developers and AI apps over the coming years, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said in a note to investors.

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