Note: A full version of this article first appeared on iDownloadBlog.com.
On Tuesday, Apple introduced the all-new 11-inch iPad Pro alongside the third-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. At the same time, the company kept on the market the 2017 10.5-inch iPad Pro for presumably another year. Yes, the newer of the two smaller devices is undoubtedly “better” than the previous one. However, for many users, the older version might be good enough regardless.
The 11-inch model features an edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display that’s similar to the one found on the iPhone XR. However, beyond this, the displays aren’t all that different. As you can see above, although the screen resolution is larger on the newer model (but the PPI is the same), everything else remains the same, at least on paper.
One of the key differences between both models is the chipset that’s used. Where the older model offers an A10X Fusion chip, the newer model includes an A12X Bionic chip with Neural Engine.
Apple says the newer chip delivers two times faster graphics, which makes it ideally suited for augmented reality and immersive gaming. The difference should also be noticeable on upcoming apps such as Photoshop for iPad.
As Apple’s demo of NBA 2K19 being played on the new iPad Pro showed, Apple’s going to push the performance upgrade significantly in the coming months in the hopes of making the iPad Pro not just the choice for professionals, but also for gamers. Whether this succeeds isn’t yet known.
Interestingly, Apple didn’t show much love for photographers with the new iPad Pro. In fact, as 9to5Mac was the first to point out, in at least one respect, the new tablet was a step back.
Public Health professional Ravi Chowdhury noted that rear camera in the latest models have a 5-element lens in place of the 6-element one on the 10.5-inch iPad, and also lack the optical image stabilization (OIS) of the older model.
Less space on the thinner 11-inch model is the likely reason for the change.
The front-facing camera on the newer device provides a significant change, however. Thanks to its new TrueDepth camera, the 11-inch model offers Face ID for authentication, plus Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting, and Animoji/Memoji.
You’ll have to decide whether the following changes on the newest device are significant or not:
The 2018 iPad Pros are the only ones that support the Apple Pencil 2. The new input device, priced at $129, attaches magnetically to the newer iPads. When it does, it charges automatically. Apple Pencil 2 also includes new tap gestures. The 10.5-inch iPad isn’t compatible with the newer Apple Pencil.
The newest iPad Pros are also the first Apple mobile devices to support USB-C. With added accessories, this means you can charge other devices with your new tablet on the fly such as phones and cameras.
Finally, there’s the issue of the missing headphone jack. Like with the iPhone lineup in recent years, you’ll need to purchase a dongle to continue to use your 3.5mm wired headphones with the new iPad Pro or switch to wireless.
All the changes between the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and 11-inch iPad Pro come at a price.
The 2018 model starts at $799 for the 64GB Wi-Fi model, compared to $649 for the entry-level 64GB 10.5-inch iPad Pro. The most expensive 11-inch iPad Pro is $1,699 for the 1TB Wi-Fi + Cellular model, compared to $1,129 for the maxed out 512GB 10.5-inch iPad Pro. (There’s no 1TB version of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.)
No doubt, the 2018 iPad Pro lineup shows us where Apple’s tablet lineup is headed in the coming years. The future calls for no more Home buttons, Face ID, smaller bezels, a missing headphone jack, and blazing fast internals. Expect many of the features to arrive on the next budget iPad, which could be announced next spring.
If you want the latest and greatest, by all means, go buy an 11-inch iPad Pro. It looks like a fantastic device and the one I’ll probably buy in the coming weeks. If you don’t expect to use your new iPad Pro for gaming and aren’t impressed with Face ID (those folks are out there), you might want to consider sticking with the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. Right now, this version is already cheaper than the newer model. In the coming weeks (hello, holidays), don’t be surprised if there are further discounts on the 2017 model.
Are you planning on buying a new iPad Pro? If so, why? Let us know below.
You can order the 2018 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro through the Apple website. Both tablets arrive in stores next week.