iPad vs iPad Pro: Latest Model Compared
The first iPad was introduced by Apple in 2010. There have been many iterations of that original device, but today there are two distinct paths for consumers; a low cost iPad and a premium iPad. Each have their pros and cons, but the battle between iPad vs iPad Pro is just beginning, and there is a lot to consider if you are still making up your mind. Here's what you need to know.
The Latest iPad Models
One of the reasons why people find it hard to choose the best iPad, is because of the number of iPads that are currently on sale. Apple has four models to choose from, and they span a variety of needs. So, here are all the current iPad models in Apple's lineup. They are listed in order from the least expensive to the most expensive and prices are in US Dollars.
- iPad 9.7" (6th generation) - Apple unveiled this iPad in March of 2018 at an education focused event, however, it is available to anyone and can be bought with 32GB or 128GB. Pricing starts at $329.
- iPad Mini (4th generation) - It was originally launched in September 2015, but it has yet to receive any updates. It is only available as a 128GB model and it retails for $399.
- iPad Pro 10.5-inch - This 2017 model is the second generation of the iPad Pro line and it remains on sale today. It can be configured in with 64GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage, and it starts at $649.
- iPad Pro (2018) - Apple's top of the line iPads are best that money can buy. They are available with an 11-inch or 12.9-inch screen and they come with up to 1TB of storage. The entry-level 11-inch iPad starts at $799 while the larger model starts at $999. They were released in November 2018.
The New iPad Pro (2018)
iPad Performance Compared
The iPad Mini 4 is the weakest of the bunch. The A8 chip was first used in the iPhone 6 in 2014 and, as such, it is considerably less powerful than the processors in the more recent iPads. That being said, if you only use your iPad to check email, browse the web and stream videos, then this iPad is still capable of serving those needs. It is slower than the newer iPads, but thanks to Apple's control over both the hardware and the software, the iPad Mini 4 is still a decent tablet.
Despite being less expensive, the 9.7-inch iPad is a step-up in performance from smaller iPad Mini. It has the 2016 A10 Fusion chip from the iPhone 7, which is appreciably faster than the A8. For most people, this is more than adequate for the typical tasks that consumer tablets were designed for.
The 10.5-inch iPad Pro has a modified version of the A10 chip called the A10X Fusion chip. It was created specifically for the iPad Pro and was designed to meet a wider set of performance needs than previous Apple chips. It remains a well-regarded mobile chipset.
The A12X in the latest iPad Pro models is the fastest chip that has ever been put in an iPad. In fact, Apple claim that it is faster than 92% of laptops that were sold at the time of its release. Tests have proven that claim to be accurate. As a result, the 2018 iPad Pros are extremely quick.
iPad Screens Compared
The iPad Mini 4 has the smallest of the iPad screens at 7.9-inches. It has a resolution of 2,048-by-1,536 and a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. It has a fully laminated screen, meaning there is no gap between the glass on top and the screen underneath. It comes with an anti-reflective coating that is designed to make the iPad Mini 4 easier to read in all lighting conditions.
The 9.7-inch iPad was built to meet a price point, and to do that, some compromises were made. The screen on this device also has a resolution of 2,048-by-1,536 but it has a lower pixel density of 264 pixels per inch. It lacks both the laminated display and the anti-reflective coating found on the iPad Mini 4. You may be able to see the difference if you put both devices side by side, but in practice, most won't notice a difference and this is still a really good screen for everyday use.
The 10.5-inch iPad Pro has a larger resolution of 2,224-by-1,668 and a Retina pixel density of 264 pixels per inch. It has a fully laminated screen and an anti-reflective coating. It includes Apple's Pro-Motion, which makes scrolling buttery smooth and reduces the latency when drawing on the screen. The screen on the 10.5 iPad Pro is capable of showing a much greater palette of colors compared to previous iPads because of the P3 wide color gamut, and it also includes True Tone technology to automatically adjust the temperature of your screen to match your environment.
The latest iPad Pro models come in two sizes. The 11-inch screen has a resolution of 2,388‑by‑1,668 with 264 pixels per inch. The 12.9-inch model has a resolution of 2732‑by‑2048 with 264 pixels per inch. Both models retain the same screen technologies found in the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, but they are also Liquid Retina screens. This allows Apple to narrow the bezels on all sides of the device and curve the corners. This makes the 2018 iPad Pro more compact and gives them a striking appearance that mimics the latest iPhones.
iPad Cameras Compared
Most people use their phones to capture photos and video while on the go, but the iPad cameras have seen consistent improvements to the extent that they are a very viable mobile photography device for many people.
The iPad Mini and the 9.7-inch iPad have very similar camera capabilities. The both have 8MP sensors for the rear camera and are capable of shooting high definition video in 1080p. The 9.7-inch iPad also supports Apple's Live Photos feature and can use its screen as a Retina Flash to add more light to your iPad selfies.
The 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the newer 2018 iPad Pros both sport 12MP sensors that can shoot 4K video. They also have a Quad LED True Tone flash on the rear of the device. Both also have 7MP front-facing cameras, but the newer iPads boast a True Depth sensor that can be used for Portrait Mode, Portrait Lighting, Animoji and Memoji. The newer iPad Pros can also shoot Smart HDR photos thanks to the new A12X processor.
iPad Cameras in Action!
iPad Accessories Compared
Like all iPads, the iPad Mini 4 is compatible with Bluetooth keyboards. However, the iPad Mini 4 doesn't support the original Apple Pencil. If you want that functionality, you need to look at the 9.7-inch iPad or the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
Apple's Smart Keyboard is also available for the 10.5-inch iPad pro. This full-size keyboard doesn't need charging or pairing because it connects to the Smart Connector on the side of the device. It folds up to create a cover on one side.
The 2018 iPad Pros get a new Smart Keyboard Folio. It is also a full-size keyboard that connects to the iPad's Smart Connector, but the Folio covers the front and back of the iPad when not in use. It has two viewing angles to choose from. New iPad Pros can also take advantage of the second generation Apple Pencil. It attaches magnetically to the side of the iPad for charging and pairing.
More iPad Features
- Battery Life: Apple have consistently kept the iPad battery life at around 10 hours of on-screen time, and this applies to all the current iPads in the line-up. This means you will easily get a day's worth of use from any of these devices.
- Security: The iPad Mini 4, the 9.7-inch iPad and the 10.5-inch iPad Pro all use the Touch ID fingerprint sensor to unlock your tablet and authenticate purchases. The 2018 iPad Pros use Face ID to unlock your device.
- Ports: The iPad Mini 4, the 9.7-inch iPad and the 10.5-inch iPad Pro all use Apple's Lightning connector to charge the device. The 2018 iPad Pros use a USB-C connector to charge the iPad, but it can also be used to charge other devices like an iPhone by plugging it into your iPad.
- Audio: The iPad Mini 4 and the 9.7-inch iPad have two speakers each as well as a headphone jack. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro has 4 speakers. The 2018 iPad Pros gain an improved 4 speaker setup but it sacrifices the headphone jack.
- Weight: The iPad Mini 4 weighs in at just 0.65lbs. The 9.7-inch iPad tips the scales at 1.03lbs which, coincidentally, is the same weight as both the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the 11-inch iPad Pro. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is 1.39lbs.
iPad vs iPad Pro: Which Should You Buy?
For me, the only real reason to buy the iPad Mini 4 is portability. If you have to have the smallest iPad, then this is the one to get. It has a nicer screen than the 9.7-inch iPad and it comes with 128GB of storage. However, it has not been updated since 2014 so the $399 price tag is hard to justify.
The 9.7-inch iPad is a great device for most people. It is priced right, has enough performance for games, email and social media, and it supports the Apple Pencil. There are some compromises, but no other tablet comes close to giving you this much for $329.
The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is in an interesting place right now. It is an extremely good iPad. The screen is large enough to do real work on, and the Smart Keyboard adds laptop-like functionality when you need it. It will edit video like a champ, run complex AR apps, and complete your online tasks without breaking a sweat. It has an amazing display, all-day battery life, and weighs the same as the smaller 9.7-inch iPad. At $649, it's not for everyone, but if the new iPad Pros are out of your price range, then this is a great alternative.
Speaking of which, the latest iPad Pros from Apple are truly at the summit of iPad desirability in terms of design and functionality. They are amazing devices that have more horsepower than most of Apple's laptop lineup. If anything, they are a little held back by the software, but iOS 13 may change all that to ensure that the latest iPad Pro is a viable alternative to your laptop. In short, if the price doesn't put you off, these are the iPads you want.
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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Is there a size difference between the 2016 and 2018 iPad?
The 2016 model was the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
However, in 2018 Apple released three iPads, each with a different screen size. The 6th generation iPad has a 9.7-inch screen. The 2018 iPad Pros offer a choice of 11-inch or 12.9-inch screens, so larger screen options are available if you buy a newer iPad.