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Tablets

Apple's new 10.5-inch iPad Pro may be the Goldilocks of tablets

The tech giant already offers tablets at 12.9 inches, 9.7 inches and 7.9 inches, so why do yet another size? Because this one might be just right.

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Some people say the large iPads are too big, others say the smaller ones are too tiny. Can there be one that's just right?

That's what Apple's hoping people will say about its latest iPad, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, an newly sized tablet designed as an in-between of its hulking 12.9-inch iPad Pro (first released in 2015; starting at $799), its 9.7-inch iPad Pro (released in 2016; starting at $599) and its even smaller 7.9-inch iPad Mini (updated last year; starting at $399).

The new iPad has a better-quality display and fits a full-size keyboard while still weighing about 1 pound and counting a 10-hour running time.

It's also powered by a faster chip, called the A10 X. Apple said its performance is 30 percent faster than previous iPads, and visuals perform 40 percent better than in the past.

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Apple's newest tablet was announced at the company's WWDC developer conference.

James Martin/CNET

Apple also created a new technology for the iPad's displays called ProMotion, which the company said will offer smoother animations. 

"The difference is dramatic," said Greg "Joz" Joswiak, Apple's marketing guru for mobile devices. "When you scroll, it's buttery smooth."

The new iPad will cost $649 for a version with 64GB of storage. Apple's also offering updates to its larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro as well, starting at $799 for 64GB of storage.

So far, Apple's growing portfolio of iPad sizes hasn't done much to spark overall tablet sales. The company in May said it sold 8.9 million iPads in its fiscal second quarter, down from 10.3 million a year earlier. The quarter marked the 13th straight decline in Apple's tablet unit sales. That's tough news considering the iPad lineup was once the company's hottest product line. 

Analysts generally agree that the reason for struggling iPad sales has been that consumers are holding on to their tablets for longer than expected. Others are even opting to purchase bigger-screen iPhones or Mac computers instead. To help counteract the drop, Apple in late 2015 introduced its iPad Pro devices that work with specialized keyboards and stylus pencils.

Update, June 5, 12:55 p.m.: Clarifying speed bump in iPad's chips.

This is a developing story. Follow our WWDC live blog for real-time coverage.

WWDC 2017: All the news so far