Technology

iPad Pro 10.5″ vs. iPad Pro 9.7″ vs. iPad Pro 12.9″: Which One To Buy?

Apple somewhat surprised observers of is Worldwide Developers Conference by announcing not one but two new iPad units at its annual event. The iPad Pro range will benefit from new iPad Pro 10.5-inch and iPad Pro 12.9-inch models. But how do they compare to one another, and for that matter to the existing iPad Pro 9.7″?

iPad Pro 10.5" vs. iPad Pro 9.7" vs. iPad Pro 12.9"
Image: Apple

iPad Pro 10.5″ vs. iPad Pro 9.7″ vs. iPad Pro 12.9″

Price

Firstly, the new units will naturally be somewhat more expensive than the previously released iPad Pro 9.7″. Apple has announced that the 10.5-inch model will start at $649 for the version featuring 64GB of memory, with a $779 price tag for the 64GB cellular version.

The larger new iPad Pro is naturally more expensive, with the base model of the 12.9-inch version more expensive than the smaller cellular model. Consumers will need to shell out $799 to purchase the basic 64GB version of the iPad Pro 12.9″, with $929 being charged for the base model featuring cellular connectivity. But there are more expensive versions of both tablets, with Apple offering 512GB of storage as a standard maximum.

By comparison, the 128GB version of the iPad Pro 9.7″ currently retails at around $650 on Amazon.com, while refurbished 32GB version can even be purchased for under $425. Obviously this means that the smaller tablet is the most affordable buy, but Apple has crammed improved specifications into the new iPad Pro models in order to attract consumers.

Performance

This begins with the processor and chipset included in the next-generation iPad Pro. Both of the new iPads are powered by the new A10X six-core CPU and include a 12-core GPU. These are extremely powerful machines that will certainly improve the the performance of the Apple tablet range.

There is no doubt that the new iPad Pro range will outperform the old 9.7-inch model. This was driven by a dual-core 2.16 GHz unit, which is simply dwarfed in performance terms by the new systems. Apple will likely push this as a major purchasing motivation for the new iPad Pro range, possibly even promoting the tablets as serious productivity devices.

Apple Pencil and HDR video

Apple particularly emphasized the fact that both of the new iPad Pro devices support HDR video with a 120hz refresh rate. This technology is becoming increasingly popular and important in the consumer electronics marketplace, with video games consoles having begun to incorporate HDR functionality.

While the HDR compatibility will deliver several features for the next generation iPad Pro tablets, the manufacturer claims that this will have particular benefits for the Apple Pencil stylus. In particular, HDR is more responsive than other screen technologies, and diminishes the latency rate of the new iPad Pro devices to a mere 20ms.

This means that the new iPad Pro display can dynamically adjust depending on whatever is being viewed, enabling smarter power conservation to be delivered. This latter feature will be particularly welcome, as Apple devices are often criticized for having sub-power battery lifecycles.

While the previous iPad releases featured an Apple Pencil system, the above is all new functionality that is not present within the existing iPad Pro 9.7″.

Display

The two new iPad Pro devices feature differing resolutions, but it is notable that the two tablets have exactly the same pixel density of 264ppi. The resolution for the iPad Pro 10.5″ is 2,224 x 1668, while the larger tablet is capable of displaying 2,732 x 2,048 pixels.

While both of the new iPad Pro devices have superior screen resolutions to the last generation iPad Pro 9.7″, this can be considered slightly misleading. The 9.7-inch tablet can display 1,536 x 2,048 pixels, but this still provides a pixel density of precisely 264ppi.

Nonetheless, the fact that the two new tablets have larger screens than their predecessor suggests that they do deliver a slightly better visual experience. Additionally, the True Tone display is 50 per cent brighter than earlier models of the Apple tablet range.

Size

Despite the fact that both of the new tablets are naturally larger than the 9.7-inch offering, Apple has slimmed down the bezels in these computers to ensure that they remain compact. The consumer electronics giant has reduced the bordering around the screen by 40 per cent, while also keeping the weight of the systems under 1lb.

The smaller of the new iPad Pro models measures 250.6 x 174.1 x 6.1mm, which compares rather well with the 240 x 169.5 x 6.1 mm of the 9.7-inch version. Considering that the screen is 10 per cent larger, there is minimal difference between the tablets in terms of sizing, with the thickness of the devices identical.

Meanwhile, the larger iPad Pro comes in at 305.7 x 220.6 x 6.9mm. This is exactly the same size as its 12.9-inch predecessor, but Apple has ensured that it is 36g lighter. The iPad Pro 10.5″ also impresses in this department, weighing only 469g. This is still more than the iPad Pro 9.7″, which weighed in at 437g, but is not a bad result considering the larger size of the system.

Camera

Apple has included the same camera setup in the next generation iPad Pro tablets as can be found in the iPhone 7. This means that although the specifications are rather similar to the last generation iPad Pro range, there should be some photographic improvements delivered by the 12-megapixel dual-lens snapper. Optical Image Stabilization, a TrueTone flash, f/1.8 aperture and 4K video capture are all included.

Meanwhile, Apple has also improved the front-facing FaceTime HD camera to 7-megapixels from the 5-megapixels of the previous generation.

Battery life

Both of the new iPad Pro units should last for 10 hours on a single charge. This is identical to the last generation of the tablet.

Conclusion

The next generation iPad Pro tablets can be considered incremental updates to the already successful computing system rather than massive upgrades. While there are spec improvements included in both the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch models, the fact remains that the last generation of the iPad Pro matches these units in many departments.

And considering the considerably more affordable price tag for a refurbished model of the iPad Pro 9.7″, this would make the predecessor of these new devices an excellent purchase. Apple completists will want the next-generation machines, but there isn’t really a compelling reason to purchase one at present. Unless, of course, you don’t possess a tablet and simply want the latest machine, or are particularly bothered about the improved processor.