Following the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR launch, Apple gave a major refresh to its iPad Pro and Mac devices earlier this week. The iPad Pro 2018 comes in 11-inch and 12.9-inch screen sizes. They are faster, slimmer, and more powerful than their predecessors. If you own last year’s iPad Pro or an older model, you might be wondering whether the new ones are worth upgrading. Our iPad Pro 2018 vs iPad Pro 2017 comparison looks into everything that Apple has changed this year. Let’s dive right in.
iPad Pro 2018 vs iPad Pro 2017: Design
The new iPads have received a big design overhaul. They come in 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes, but their dimensions are smaller than last year’s models. Apple claims the latest iPad Pros have 25% less volume, thanks to slimmer bezels all around. Apple has also made them only 5.9mm thick, down from 6.1mm for the 2017 iPad Pros.
The rounded metallic back of last year’s models has been replaced with the squared, flat-sided metal design that reminds you of the iPhone 4. Apple has removed the Lightning port in favor of a USB-C port. It may disappoint people who have spent money on Lightning dongles. But now you can connect the new iPad Pro to your iPhone to charge the latter off the iPad’s battery. Also, USB-C allows you to connect to other devices such as a DSLR camera.
The 2018 iPad Pro has ditched the headphone jack. The home button has also disappeared, meaning you have to rely entirely on gestures for navigation. The Touch ID fingerprint sensor has been replaced by the Face ID technology borrowed from the flagship iPhones.
iPad Pro 2018 vs iPad Pro 2017: Display
Last year’s iPad Pros came with 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch screens. The latest 11-inch iPad Pro has a resolution of 2388 x 1668, giving it a pixel density of 264ppi. The 12.9-inch model has a 2732 x 2048 resolution and the same 264ppi pixel density. Last year’s models also had 264ppi pixel density.
Apple hasn’t switched to OLED screens yet. The new iPad Pro models come with what Apple calls a ‘Liquid Retina display,’ which is an improved LCD screen. It’s not as crisp and vibrant as OLED panels, but it’s great. You’ll be using the screen a lot because iOS doesn’t support trackpad. You will have to rely on touch and gestures for nearly everything.
iPad Pro 2018 vs iPad Pro 2017: Internal specs
Apple likes to brag about the processing power of its devices but never talks about RAM. The 2018 iPad Pros come with a new octa-core A12X processor, which is a beefed-up version of the 7nm chip found inside the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. It has four performance cores and four efficiency cores coupled with an improved Neural Engine. The 2017 iPad Pros were running the A10X chipset.
Apple claims the new iPads offer 2x faster graphics performance than their predecessors, thanks to the 7-core GPU that can handle 5 trillion operations per second. The new models offer up to 10 hours of battery life, roughly the same as last year’s iPads. Just like their predecessors, the new models will be available in WiFi and WiFi+Cellular variants.
The 2018 iPad Pros come in 64GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB of internal storage options. There is no microSD card slot. Apple didn’t mention the RAM on the new iPads, but developer Steve Troughton-Smith spotted that they have the same 4GB RAM as last year’s models. Only the 1TB storage variant ships with 6GB RAM, but that version is going to cost you $1,899 without the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio.
Multiple people are telling me that only the 1TB iPad Pros get 6GB RAM. … So that’s a thing.
— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) October 30, 2018
iPad Pro 2018 vs iPad Pro 2017: Camera
Placed at the top of the new iPads’ display is the 7MP FaceTime camera, which is the same as the front camera on last year’s models. But the 2018 iPad Pros now feature the TrueDepth camera sensors for Face ID technology. They also enable Portrait Mode, Animoji, and Memoji features. All that’s cool. But the truth is that almost no one takes selfies with their giant iPads.
The main camera is also the same as 2017 iPad Pros. It’s 12MP lens with an f/1.8 aperture, capable of shooting 4K videos at 60fps and slow-motion videos in 720p at 240fps. According to Ravi Chowdhury, the rear camera on the new iPads has a 5-element lens compared to the 6-element lens on last year’s 10.5-inch iPad Pro. The new iPads also lack the optical image stabilization.
— Rav (@techixir) October 30, 2018
iPad Pro 2018 vs iPad Pro 2017: Accessories
Last year’s Apple Pencil was great, but its charging method wasn’t. And the Smart Keyboard? It wasn’t smart at all. It didn’t even protect the back of the tablet. With 2018 iPad Pros, Apple has launched a new Apple Pencil 2 that attaches magnetically to the tablet and charges up automatically when attached. It has also introduced a new Smart Keyboard Folio that protects both the front and back of the tablet. Sadly, Apple has bumped up the prices of both the new Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard Folio.
iPad Pro 2018 vs iPad Pro 2017: Price
The new iPads are far more expensive than their predecessors. The 11-inch model starts at $799 for the 64GB version and goes all the way up to $1,699 for the 1TB storage variant with LTE connectivity. If you want to buy the 12.9-inch version, you’ll have to shell out $999 for the base model. The highest storage 12.9-inch 2018 iPad Pro with LTE costs $1,899, making it more expensive than most laptops. If you want the Apple Pencil 2, that’s going to add $130 to the total cost. The Smart Keyboard Folio will add another $200.
The tablets are up for pre-order, and will start shipping on Nov.7th. Last year’s 10.5-inch iPad Pro remains available at $649.
This iPad Pro 2018 vs iPad Pro 2017 comparison shows that Apple has dramatically improved the new iPads compared to their predecessors. And the 2018 iPads are closer to being a laptop replacement than ever before. But the price bump could prevent a lot of people from buying the new iPad Pros.