9.7-inch iPad Pro review: Smaller on the outside!

9.7-inch iPad Pro
(Image: © Rene Ritchie / iMore)

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro concentrates almost everything that's great about the 12.9-inch version into a device as easy to carry around as the iPad Air 2. That includes not only the ludicrously powerful A9X processor but the Smart Connector-enabled Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil, which for my money remains the best digital writing and drawing implement on the market. Oh, and it's got an even better camera than its bigger sibling.

But can you really take the size out of the Pro and keep it "pro"? Let's take a look!

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9.7-inch video review

Give us just over five minutes and we'll give you the 9.7-inch iPad Pro!

Going Pro

After a decade of lackluster tablet PCs, the original iPad was a revelation. Apple followed it with lighter, more powerful, higher-density models, and with smaller, even more portable minis. Over time, iPads became useful enough that most people didn't feel a pressing need to upgrade. iPhones also got bigger and more productive, and laptops, including Apple's own MacBook, got lighter and more portable.

All of that put the squeeze on iPad. Like a McLaren suddenly caught in rush-hour traffic, massive initial acceleration didn't matter any more. So, late last year, Apple introduced iPad Pro. Tim Cook called it, "the clearest expression of our vision of the future of personal computing". With a 12.9-inch display and a starting price of $799, though, that future wasn't yet mainstream.

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro, starting at $599, just might be.

About those 9.7-inches…

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a resolution of 2732 x 2048 pixels. The 9.7-inch version, on the other hand, sticks to the same 2048 x 1536 pixels as the iPads Air. Both Pro displays are 264 pixels per inch (ppi), so they're still equally sharp. The new 9.7-inch version, though, packs a few all-new surprises.

The first is a DCI-P3 color space, the same as digital theater projectors and the late 2015 iMac with Retina 5K display. According to Apple, it allows for 25% greater saturation, is 25% brighter, and has a new, custom anti-glare coating that makes it 40% less reflective than the already impressive iPad Air 2.

Beyond the numbers, colors do look slightly better and more vibrant to my eyes, especially reds and magentas. We're still limited by bits-per-channel, memory bandwidth, and source material, but I love that we're moving towards deep, high-dynamic color on displays.

What's especially clever, though, is the new True Tone system. It uses two ambient light sensors to detect the color temperature of the environment around you, and then adjusts the iPad Pro's display to match that temperature, making whites look really, naturally, white.

If you've ever seen pictures of a screen that looked too blue or too yellow, then this fixes that. It makes a screen look more like paper, and it makes my inner artist deliriously happy. I hope this goes everywhere. Hell, I hope it can sync to my TV one day...

Pro performance

I've been using a 12.9-inch iPad Pro as my primary travel computer for several months now and, while there are a few things I still feel much more comfortable and efficient doing on the Mac, there are many I prefer doing now on iPad. With many tasks, including editing up to three streams of 4K video, it just flies. So too the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

Both iPads Pro have the same third-generation 64-bit A9X system-on-a-chip, combining a custom dual-core processor with a monstrous 12-core graphics processor to very really redefine what it means to be "mobile" silicon. They're also both paired with an integrated M9 coprocessor which handles the motion sensors.

The major difference here is that, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has whopping-for-Apple 4 GB of memory, the 9.7-inch version has only the same 2 GB as the previous generation Air. For a variety of reasons, iOS is nowhere nearly as memory dependent as some other platforms. The A9X also has far fewer pixels to push around on the 2048 x 1536 display than it does on the 2732 x 2048 version — 5.601,280 vs. 3,145,728. I've yet to see any hint of slow down, excessive tab reloading, or aggressive app jettisoning.

But less is less, and it makes the future-proofer in me sad.

On the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, like the iPhones 6s and SE, the M9 also allows for "Hey Siri!" unplugged — that's full, hands–free, voice control. While it may seem like more of an iPhone feature, being able to use it with an iPad in the kitchen, for example, is aces. I wish the 12.9-inch Pro allowed for it as well.

Touch ID is first generation, like every device save the iPhones 6s. I do like the faster fingerprint identity sensor, so hopefully that goes wide at some point. For unlock, authorization, and in-app Apple Pay, though, it works well enough, but again, better would be better.

Storage starts at 32 GB, like the bigger Pro, with 128 GB for those who want to step up. If you'd rather leap up, though, there's now a 256 GB option for both versions. That way you can really take everything with you on the go.

Curiously, Apple doesn't seem to have given the 9.7-inch iPad Pro the same USB 3.0 speeds as the 12.9-inch. I seldom connect over a cable any more, but if you do, and you want the speed, it's something you'll need to consider when and if choosing between the two sizes.

With either size Pro you can use Apple's updated adapters — available separately — to transfer photos from your camera or SD card. The USB to Ethernet adapter also works, so you can go wired if you really want or need to. The Lightning to USB adapter can provide power now as well, which opens it up to even more accessories — including podcasting mics!

Now if only iOS could handle two streams of mic audio so one app could conference you in and another record at the same time...

Smaller but just as smart

Before this week, the smallest Apple keyboard I'd ever used was the 11-inch MacBook Air. Or 12-inch New MacBook. Or maybe Smart Keyboard on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. I'm not fussy about keyboards, so they've all been great for me. It takes about 5 minutes for me to acclimatize and then I'm flying.

I've used plenty of third-party iPad Air and even iPad mini keyboards over the years, some less than stellar, but others surprisingly good.

That's how I'd classify Apple's Smart Keyboard for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. The laser ablated fabric Apple uses, which along with MacBook-style domes forms the structure of the keys, holds up really well, even at the smaller scale. I've been typing on it for a few days now and while I feel like I make a few more errors than I otherwise would, autocorrect fixes most of those without me having to slow down — or be slowed down.

For those who dislike the Smart Keyboard regardless of size, there's the exact same Smart Connector as the bigger Pro, which means third-party keyboards will be available as well.

Notebook vs. sketchbook

As someone who used Wacom tablets for graphic design for decades, and stylus pens on iPhone and iPad for almost that long, the Apple Pencil remains best in class. It simply over performs in every category. It's available on a 9.7-inch iPad now as well. And I love it.

Sure, the canvas isn't as big — but that's the point. In my real-world art kit, I have both very large sketchbooks and much smaller, more portable notebooks. The large sketchbooks are great for working on the drafting table, but the notebooks are the ones I take out and about with me. That's the same feeling I get with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

It does take some getting used to, but only if you're used to the 12.9-inch version. If not, I suspect you'll simply start writing and drawing without a first thought, much less a second.

Responsiveness and palm-rejection remain excellent — as good to my eyes and hands at on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and the apps all work just as well.

The best camera

Back in early 2014, when I first wrote about my iPad Pro hopes and dreams, alongside keyboard covers, wide color gamut, and pressure sensitivity, I asked for 4K video. At the time, I'd just finished hosting CES Live, and we'd used an iPad as the close-up video cam. The large viewfinder and connectivity made it good for the job. 4K video would have made it terrific.

So, having a 12-megapixel iSight camera in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro that shoots 4K video? — terrific.

Sure, some might still make fun of the very idea of iPad photography, but for others the best camera they have with them will be the one on their iPad, and now Apple is making sure "the best" is also the best.

And for professionals, many of whom love shooting with iPhones but do want bigger viewfinders for certain projects, Apple's making sure the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is delivering exactly that as well.

It does come with a price, though — an iPhone 6-style bump around the lens. Blame physics. Cameras want depth, and customers need lightness, which causes thinness. I haven't had any problems with it, though, even when resting it flat and drawing with the pencil. The other corners keep everything solidly in place.

There's even a 5-megapixel FaceTime camera replete with Retina Flash, so you can take your iPad selfie game to the next level as well.

And yes, you can do iPhone 6s-style Live Photos as well, so your every moment can animate at a touch-and-hold.

Bring the noise

The 12.9 inch iPad Pro has four big, booming speakers. I'll be honest — I wasn't expecting Apple to be able to fit the same class of audio into the 9.7-inch version, but they did.

No matter which way you hold or turn it, iPad Pro delivers deep bass to all four speakers and mids and highs to the top two speakers. With iOS 9.3, there's even support for Dolby Digital Plus audio streams and multi-channel output with the Lightning Digital AV adapter.

Together with the display, it makes for a superlative entertainment experience even when you don't want or have to use earphones.

The only downside is having to choose between watching Daredevil season 2 and getting your writing done…

Radio stars

Both Wi-Fi and cellular networking are first-class on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Wi-Fi is 802.11ac with multiple-in, multiple-out (MIMO) that supports up to 866 Mbps.

Cellular is even more exciting, though. Unlike the bigger iPad Pro, LTE is an option on every 9.7-inch iPad Pro storage tier. So, you no longer have to go big or go without.

And if you do go with LTE, you get ultra-fast 300 megabit-per-second (Mbps) LTE Advanced with support for up to 23 bands, meaning you can connect at higher speeds in more places than ever before.

You also get an embedded "Apple SIM". That way you can use your local carrier SIM if you're on an existing plan, but when you travel you can choose from a variety of plans in over 90 regions.

Dual SIM slots isn't a new idea, but a manual SIM slot and a built-in, flexible SIM certainly is a novel one.

iOS 9.3

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro comes with iOS 9.3 installed. The latest point update to Apple's mobile operating system, it includes the usual bug fixes and performance improvements, but also more than the usual share of new features.

There's Night Shift, which can ease you into the evening by slowly changing the color temperature of the display from cold (blue) to warm (yellow). That helps preserve dopamine and prevent histamine build-up, ensuring your evening screen-time doesn't adversely affect your sleep time.

Secure notes let you set a password to protect any financial, health, or personal information you choose to store in the built-in Notes app — though only the built-in Notes app for now. News has improved recommendations and curations as well.

The big news for iPad, though, is in education.

Other companies have been doing a great job at providing cheap or free, tools for kids in schools. They typically do it, however, by ingesting large amounts of data into their cloud. Even if we can trust them completely with the privacy and security of our children's' data, some people simply won't want to. And it's precisely there that Apple can offer an invaluable alternative.

From an easy, integrated login and unlock for the very young, to multi-user accounts with ubiquitous iCloud storage, to easy administration and interaction for schools and teachers, to Apple's strong stand on Privacy, it looks like the beginnings of an exceptional system.

The proof, however, will have to come with the deployments. (And, hopefully, with similar features for home and businesses in the future…)

Bottom line

After kicking off the modern tablet revolution, showing the world technology alone was not enough, and then becoming light as Air, the 9.7-inch iPad is once again being reinvented — this time by going Pro.

9.7-inch iPad Pro review: Smaller on the outside!

When the 12.9-inch model felt like it was filling a really important niche and growing Apple's addressable market, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro feels like it's bringing everything great about that device — the power, the connectability, the Pencil, the speakers and, most importantly, the attitude.

This can still be your everyday iPad, and better so than ever, but it can also be your ultra-mobile productivity machine, with little in the way of compromises. Sure, you lose some display and keyboard real estate, but you gain portability and an excellent camera system.

For people who've had a 9.7-inch iPad for a while but haven't seen a need to upgrade, and for those with aging Windows system looking for a modern alternative, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be compelling.

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro is available for order starting March 24 and ships starting March 31. You can get it in silver, space gray, gold, and rose gold, with 32, 128, or 256 GB of storage, and optional LTE cellular networking. Prices start at $599.

If you need OS X, you'll still need a Mac. If you want the bigger screen, the 12.9-inch iPad remains for you. If you want all the power of a Pro in the original, super-portable format, though, get the new 9.7-inch.

I'll be getting a 128 GB rose gold with LTE, and I think I'll be drawing and traveling with it for a long while to come.

See at Apple (opens in new tab)

iPad buyers guide

If you're looking to get a new iPhone but you're not sure which one, here's everything you need to know!

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • I was almost sold until I noted it only had 2GB of RAM plus the 1st gen fingerprint sensor. No thanks. I'll probably just wait for iPad Pro 2.
  • So.... Smaller on the inside too. Sent from the iMore App
  • Who cares really? My iPad Air 2 does fine w/2gb memory. This obsession with memory so moronic IMO.
  • When using intensive drawing and painting apps the more ram the better. Sent from the iMore App
  • The iPad Air 2 also came out a year and a half ago, so by the time both devices start showing some lag and memory issues, the iPad Air 2 will be much older than the iPad Pro.
  • Then why'd they put 4gb in the bigger pro? It should've been fine with 2.
  • It is not moronic - with Apple creating this "Pro" class iPad series, developers will stretch the capabilities to the 4gb limit of the 12.9" device. That will leave the 2gb device a second class citizen. Even without that, Safari has a bad habit of kicking "excess" tabs to the curb causing reload delays - 4gb alleviates that problem. You can only lean on the "more efficient iOS" crutch for so long...
  • Agreed. I was between the 12.9" and this new little Pro 9.7". Seeing the RAM difference makes my decision much easier. I'll be going with the big boy! I don't need the camera (I never use the camera on my iPad Air 2) I have the best camera already with my iPhone 6S Plus. Also, the 12.9" Pro has a higher screen resolution, and just the size of it.. I'm going large!
  • This. I went with the bigger model. With iPhoto Cloud Sharing any pictures I take on my iPhone show up on my iPad. So the camera thing doesn't matter. My phone will ALWAYS be with me. My iPad Pro wont. Go big or go home.
  • I've wanted the original iPad Pro for myself for awhile now. This review of the smaller 9.7 makes me want to get this one for my hubby. *sigh* thanks guys. Lol.
  • Go for it, then you can say to him "Mine's bigger than yours". LOL
  • Is it me or does this review not talk about battery at all?
  • Battery life on any device depends more on how you use that device than on the
    specs of the battery or any power saving modes of that device. Play an intensive
    game for 20 minutes and all devices will lose a ton of battery time. Use it normally
    meaning light surfing and email and the device will last a full day. This is all battery
    powered devices, not just Apple's.
  • We'll be doing comprehensive battery tests next week, but so far nothing to suggest Apple's 10 hour estimation has changed.
  • What was the iPad Air 2 estimation in comparison? How is that left out of a review?
  • Apple's iPad battery life estimation has remained unchanged at 10 hours since the first iPad came out in 2010. As I said, we'll be doing more comprehensive tests next week to confirm, but there's no current indication that this iPad is any different in battery performance than the previous six iPads that have come before it.
  • Serenity, which IPad Pro 9.7 version you getting?
  • I'm getting the base model in rose gold, as I'm probably sticking with my 12.9-inch model for most work.
  • Serenity, is the 12.9" going to be available in Rose Gold? If so, sign me up!!!
  • Hi, just traded in a 2010 HP laptop my mother used at Best Buy for a $75 gc and $50 qpon towards a MS SP4. We looked at various computers and my question for you is do you think the iPad Pro 9.7 can adequately replace her laptop?
  • It really depends on how she used the laptop. There's a lot of stuff you can't do on any mobile device, except certain windows ones, that you can do on a laptop. Have you considered a chromebook? Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • And to answer your question, it depends. If you've used an iPad from basically any point in time, or any recent iphone, then you know what you're most likely getting. It's an apple product, so you know what you're most likely getting into buying it. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • If all she does is read emails and do some web browsing you'll be fine. I think most people would do just fine with a tablet over a PC. There are certain considerations to be made, such as you're locked into Apple's Eco system which can cost more than other platforms or a normal PC. For example, movies cost more to rent. With a PC you have a lot of choices. But if not of that's a concern and you don't need a CD drive and she's not using the PC for real work I'm sure she'll be happy with the iPad.
  • I too came here looking for battery life information. I really hope the other response to this is a joke because it was terrible
  • I'd say Apple has always been forthcoming and accurate, if anything understating, battery life on all their products.
  • I've never owned an iPad but this one (rose gold to match my iPhone 6s) looks promising. The size is great for my taste to. Should I go for this one? Sent from the iMore App
  • If you've got money in the bank and want to try the iPad, go for it! Always a 14-day return policy, if nothing else.
  • Do you think they are going to get rid of the air line and just have the pro line for their iPads now? Sent from the iMore App
  • TBD, but it's looking that way.
  • Easy was for them to bump the price up $100. Call it pro even though it would have been iterative from Air 2, BAM $100!
  • This is in fact, an iterative from the Air 2. I have this feeling though that someone at Apple came up with the idea that if they were to call it Pro, they can gain an extra $100 in profits. This is why I hope this device won't sell well. They pulled this stunt with the iPad Mini 3, and I figured they would learn their lesson then.
  • Not to mention the hundreds in accessories required to use the "pro" features.
  • Yes, simply adding Touch ID (mini 3) is the same as adding a vastly better CPU, better GPU, Pencil support, better screen, better camera, keyboard interface. If you don't like it don't buy it, but the comparison you're making is laughable. For that matter the 12" pro is also just an "iteration" of the Air 2 other than being larger.
  • "For that matter the 12" pro is also just an "iteration" of the Air 2 other than being larger." My comparison may be laughable, yours is outright ******* hilarious!!! Yes, I'm sorry to burst your bubble but as of right now, IN MY OPINION, the iPad Pro is an overblown iPad Air 2, at least as of right now. Now, maybe perhaps not in hardware, but the OS is to blame here. Tell me what the F can the iPad Pro do that the iPad Air 2 cannot other than draw with a $100 pencil and the option to use a $170 keyboard. Oh look, I can play games and watch better quality movies on a 12.9 inch screen!! Take a good look around, many people feel the same way as well. And I'm not even trying to bash on the iPad Pro because I can truly see its potential in the long term, but as of right now because of iOS, there is not much of a reason for the majority of people to jump on it. "Vastly better CPU, GPU, Pencil Support, better screen, better camera, keyboard interface." Really?! This is where you become hilarious. Better screen?? It's the exact same resolution!!! ****, because the iPad Mini is smaller with the same resolution I think it's safe to say the iPad Mini screen is a bit better than the 9.7 inch iPad. Pencil Support and Keyboard interface: This justifies a $100 increase along with 6-month old specs?? The A8X chip on the iPad Air 2 was better than the A7 on the iPad Air, please explain to me why now that A9X is obviously better how it still justifies a $100 price increase (that's actually a serious question BTW). Also, it has less RAM and an underclocked A9X that of the 12.9 inch iPad Pro. Those 2 alone is what is starting to make others believe this MAY just be an iteration of the iPad Air 2. But hey don't take my word for it, like I said, take a look around. Lastly, just I because I don't like it and don't plan on buying it doesn't mean I can't talk about it. Welcome to the Internet, where a-holes like are pretty much allowed to say what they want, unfortunately even if it's right or wrong.
  • What is the point in calling it Pro, though, if it ends up being the only line (besides Mini)? Posted from my Nexus 6P
  • Its the same with the "Air," it's just a name. Eventually the features trickle down to the mini, then they rename the whole line again. It's because Apple no longer has the resources or the engineering talent to upgrade the whole line year by year, so they upgrade one as an enticement, then once the whole line is done they think up a new marketing plan and a new name for the next one. That way it takes two years instead of one for all the iPads to be updated to the new model and they only have to think up new stuff every two years instead of every year.
  • Rene, Are you keeping both iPad Pros? What would be the justification of both? One for travel & the other for home?
  • edited.... I'm a big dummie
  • I've been using an iPad Air 2 for about 6 months. My primary use is taking notes using a jot pro. Would the 9.7 iPad Pro be a worthwhile upgrade to get better palm rejection and note taking abilities.
  • If you buy a Pencil, 10000x yes. I love Adonit's stylus line, but the Pencil blows every iPad pen I've ever used out of the water.
  • Between this review of it being "smaller on the outside" and the iPhone SE review of it being "bigger on the inside" I think you're watching way too much Doctor Who.
  • Where can I get the Thumbs up emoji t-shirt?
  • Apple's corporate store!
  • Im coming from an iPad 2. This one looks future proof but Im not a power user so Im also considering the Air 2 or Mini 4, both of which have 2gb of ram. Which of those two would be the most future proof? We use it for reading, web browsing, iMovie for light editing after taking videos. Moderate usage at most. The Mini 4 is only $299 at Bestbuy so its compelling, but not if it'll only last for another year. Thoughts?
  • The Air 2 is more future proof if choosing between the 2. The mini 4 has an A8 processor while the Air 2 has A8X and faster than the mini 4.
  • It's a joke they increased the price by $100. I'll stick with my current iPad because of that. Memory is getting stupid cheap, yet they only increase to 32gb and increase the price by $100?!? Ridiculous
  • The Smart Connector, Pencil support, and speaker system is the reason for the price bump, not the memory.
  • Is the $100 increase justifiable? Seems to me that the additions are no more substantial than when the iPad went to Retina, etc... but the starting price remained the same. I have no self control so I'll be buying one anyway but I'm slightly bothered about the price jump as I don't think the additions justify it. I have a feeling almost all of that additional $100 is going to Apple's margin which was already extremely high to begin with.
  • Omg! You cracked Apple's secret!!!
  • Let me get this straight, you mean to tell me that the reason why the iPad Air 3 got a name change and $100 increase is because of the privilege of using overpriced accessories that I may not even need or can compromise with cheaper accessories??? Sorry, but I expect a premium increase if it packs a punch in the inside, not for expensive accessories I don't need. I'm still calling it as I see it, an iPad Air 3 with 6 month old specs (Don't care how powerful it actually is, the specs are already close to a mid-way cycle), with a $100 premium.
  • Those are not justifiable for that kind of price increase. Just like another poster said, no price hike for Retina display or fingerprint scanner etc. No reason for a new $100 tag
  • The Smart Connector is probably smart, but so far the keyboard accessory is only available in US English, so nothing the rest of the world can enjoy, yet. Any idea of when Apple will make it available for other languages or layouts? The $100 extra seems unjustified to me.
  • Excellent review. I was worried about the camera bump when drawing on a flat surface and I was wondering how the speakers compared to the speakers on the 12.9" Pro. I had also assumed they would be worse. Thanks for addressing the small details. I'm also glad to see a review from someone that draws since it gives a better perspective on the true drawing experience.
  • Rene, Is the anti-glare noticeable between the 12.9 and 9.7 pro? Don
  • Oops...
  • I have a Verizon iPad 3. I periodically activate the cellular connection on a monthly basis. My wife and I have iPhone 6 and 6+ on USCellular. Does anyone know if the iPad Pro 9.7 will allow the same month by month activation on either USCellular or Verizon?
  • Yup! See our guide for more details: http://www.imore.com/which-ipad-pro-carrier-and-plan-should-you-get
  • I've been waiting... For everything the big pro is, just in the 9.7 size. And this isn't it. I am REALLY disappointed it doesn't have the 4gb of ram the big Pro does. And having 2gb of ram is a deal breaker. I don't consider it a "pro" device in its current configuration. My iPad 4 and the mini 2 are still running great, current on OS and every app installs and runs great. Which is the exact problem Apple has- why compel me to upgrade? And they haven't done that yet. If I consider either of these devices it will be the big pro.
  • Great review! One question, Rene. Were you able to try using an iPad Air 2 Smart Cover on the new iPad Pro 9.7. I realize Apple doesn't recommend it, but I'm wondering if it's still at all usable. Thanks!
  • I would also really appreciate an answer to this question. Everywhere I seem to look for an answer focuses on the smart covers).
    I realize that the iPad Air2 smart case will nullify many of the iPad Pro's new features (top speakers covered, bottom speakers moved more laterally, and flash & smart connector obstruction), but would still be interested if it fits And is reasonably usable.
    I'm not someone who uses a case very often but when I do I really enjoy the leather smart case. Plus, I really dislike the way silicon attracts filth/dirt/dust. Plus, if I could save by not buying a back case and Smart Cover ($120 vs. $80) and use my current smart case when needed, I might be inclined to move up to the 256GB option.
  • Found this on an Ars Technica review: "Let’s begin with the Smart Cover. iPad Air and Air 2 Smart Covers won’t work with the iPad Pro, not because they won’t physically fit but because Apple has changed the layout of the magnets that make the Smart Cover stick. Old Smart Covers will stick on the side of the tablet, but they won’t stick to the front or put the tablet to sleep automatically. The new Smart Covers are pretty much the same as the old ones, but when you’re just using the cover by itself it hangs over the edge of the tablet just a little when closed in a way that looks and feels a little awkward when you’re handling it"
  • I need more coffee!
  • Thanks for the extremely helpful comment....
  • Don't mention it! (I had to edit my original comment as I replied to the wrong person by mistake...) Seriously though, you have a good question. I'm sure the Air 2 accessories will "fit", but obviously they'd block or even hinder some features of the newer Pro model. Probably be better off just waiting for the new accessories for the new model. That way you'll be sure to have 100% compatibility.
  • I have the iPad Air 2 both in cellular and wifi versions. I was hoping battery life would go up in threshold to like 12 hours. Nonetheless I will be getting a rose gold 128GB IPad Pro.
  • I just ordered a 128gb 9.7 iPad Pro. I'm a student, would the pencil be good for taking notes? Sent from the iMore App
  • Definitely, I have the larger iPad and love it .Goodnotes is the app to get ...trust me .
    Goodnotes, Pages , Numbers , Google Docs ,iFlashdrive HD and the USB flash drive .
    I use this for REAL WORK !I had the iPad air2 .The 9.7 is more portable and easy to use one handed .The 12.9 is better at multitasking, which I use more often .I would actually recommend the larger 12.9 as you can do research on the net while taking notes in another app .The Goodnotes app feels more roomy on the larger screen .PDF's are actually size etc .
    128Gb 3G is a must , nothing less !
    The perfect iPad and it's smaller version has finally arrived.
  • Great! I am really excited, I can't wait until next week when it gets delivered. I was a die hard Android and PC user, but after getting an iphone and macbook I fell in love with everything Apple. They never disappoint with their products, I love Apple!
  • I got the big bro pro, pencil and smart keyboard. I use onenote for, well, notes and mark them all up afterwards with the pencil. At least in that sense, it works just fine.
  • I like the review and the improvements.
  • So you also lose 2 gb of RAM and considerable battery size right? Glad I went with the real iPad Pro.
  • Good review. Acclimatize .... Acclimate.
  • I'm wondering if Rene had to drink a cold coffee. :)
  • It happens! lol
  • If I'm a light user upgrading from an iPad 2 would the iPad Air 2 for $399 or the mini 4 for $299 be a better choice? Sent from the iMore App
  • I would go with the iPad Air 2 because the Mini 4 is actually the same price at $399.
  • I'd like to hear a side by side audio comparison between the 12.9" and this 9.7" pro. Sure, the technology is probably the same on both, but the size of the actual speaker enclosure HAS to make a difference... Doesn't it? I've been wanting that 12.9" Pro for the big screen, the pen(cil), the 4GB of RAM, and the audio/speaker system. Notice how I didn't mention anything about a camera? I already have that 12MP camera in my iPhone 6S Plus. Right now, on my iPad Air 2, I do a lot of audio stuff, Garage Band, iOS Synthesizers, etc. I use iKmultimedia's iRig HD for guitar and also their iRig Keys Pro MIDI controller keyboard for the Synth/piano stuff. The larger 12.9" size would definitely help in this area... As well as the speaker system. (I'm trying to talk myself into getting the 12.9" Pro here!) So.. It looks like the 12.9" is the choice for me... Now, can I get it in Rose Gold? :D
  • The 12.9 iPad has a nine chip in it very fast I could not play poker on the 7 inch all the 9 inch folding me knocking me out of the game it was going to slow it is not going to slow anymore those other iPads have a seven or an eight chip in them in the nine chip as much it also has the 128 GB which makes it much better have a good day for expensive though try but $950
  • Since tablets can't actually produce stereo sound and no tablet is ever going to have sound that even comes close to the most basic, cheap bluetooth speaker setup you're wasting your time comparing sound on the two devices. You should pick the iPad size based on use factors and just know that it has the best sound it possibly could have for whatever size it is that you picked. Everything else to do with sound on a tablet is a waste of time even thinking about.
  • Rene, your "writing voice" sounds a lot like Serenity's. Without looking, I was almost convinced she had written this review! lol Anyway, great write up just the same!
  • Is iMore paid, or otherwise sponsored, by Apple for articles? A disclaimer would be nice.
  • Nice review as always. Best features and more. First class!
  • The best selling tablet, due to Microsoft. Sent from the iMore App
  • Apple this is stupid. Sent from the iMore App
  • Rene why is it that iPads have such poor resolution when mirrored to apple TV? I don't mean movies or games but spreadsheets/documents/emails etc. - there must be enough computing power in them no? Thank you.
  • I would've sacrificed the upgrade to the camera in exchange for the 4gb of RAM and second generation fingerprint ID. Needless to say I'll still be buying the 9.7" Pro when it's released next Thursday.
  • What I truly would like to know is what makes either the 12.9 or 9.7 a Pro? And truthfully how could these crippled cell phone OS tablets ever replace a real laptop or desktop computer with either a Windows or OSX full OS? I can only call them the iPad Un-Pro's! They can only run iOS mobile apps like the iPhones! Apple is really stretching it! So very Apple-like!
  • Love it the pro 9.7. Can't live without it. You have to get the right accessories to make it a powerhouse. I highly recommend the Apple Keyboard, and the compact, bright, affordable Lumiy Lightline LED desk lamp. Now you have a full office in tiny bag =)
  • Very interested in the 9.7, price being one major point. But the size is what I like. Bigger is nice, but have a recent MBP retina. I also think if I go larger, I'd be less inclined to bring it with me as often as I would a larger tablet. While an Air2 would be nice, its also an older product that as of late isn't being refreshed. At present I have a Galaxy Tab s.2 8.4 inch. The slightly larger size would be nice. I do prefer ipads to Android tablets, and do like an LTE version. Got the S Tablet at a good price when I bought my daughters ip6 well over a year ago. Its OK, just not many if any tablet optimized apps. I don't get into phone os arguments, and like both Android and iOS. I do use a Nexus 6p, and later this year, probably will get the new ip7.. My feeling is that I would be far more apt carrying a near 10 inch tablet around, over a larger sized one. Just don't need it, nor would the ram issue make much of difference to me, not using it for drawing on photo editing. Nor plan on using the camera much if at all. If Apple refreshed their iPad air2, might even have opted for it.
    As far as cases/keyboard or pen, I want to see and feel the former before purchasing as well as want to see third party version's of them on Amazon (ors similar retailer) before getting one. Yes it is expensive, but will pay it off over a year or less.
    I do plan on getting the 128gb version with LTE support. I do use a tablet often, when i take my wife to see her doctors and treatments at Upenn which is a near all day ordeal, as I bring my tablet to the cigar lounge. It will be out this week, and do plan on checking out in person at an Apple Store prior to purchase.
    One question of which I think the answer is vague.. Do AT&T's policy, I don't plan on using the Apple sim, and just want to make sure I can use the nano sim thats in my Galaxy Tab. Pretty sure it can be dine.
  • Serenity, two quick questions. I read there were were some issues with the Logitech Create keyboard; leaving marks on the screen. Do You use the Logitech? Apple vs Logitech?? In the keynote the lightening dongle for flash cards was highlighted. Is the new one any different than the one for iPad Air?? Thanks, and great summary and review. Sent from the iMore App
  • Gonna give the iPad 3 to the granddaughter, the iPad Air 2 to my 90-year-old mom, and I'm getting this! Just as soon as escrow closes and I have all that tax-free money! Better to invest most of it and sublimate my "need" for a Porsche 911. :)
  • Im getting one, but I really bummed they didn't put at least 3 gb of ram and a 2nd gen finger print sensor in this. I feel like if they had done that this would be the perfect tablet.
  • If you take pictures with an iPad, you are an *****!!!!!
  • Right because it has a better lens than most point and shoot's (or other phoes), and that giant viewfinder. So of course using this fabulous camera makes someone stupid because "old people say so."
  • IPad pro 264ppi? Is that a joke? When I want to work on a picture I'll zoom and zoom and more zoom ....... Why it needs to be more expensive than an iPad air 2? Why it still runs iPhone OS? Why it only has 2 GB RAM? Not sure but another iPad I won't buy. Think the market comes slow to an end. I was so excited and than I saw the price and screen.... Now we need a mini with forced touch
  • I was waiting for smaller iPad Pro so badly, but there are few deal breakers. $599 for 32 GB is ridiculous; and even I buy it, it is still not sufficient for my use. I need at least 64 GB. I have to pay $150 more for 128 GB which is too much for me. Come on folks let's be honest here, 2GB of RAM is not enough anymore. I use my iPad Air 2 for editing photos, watching videos, playing games, writing documents and do a lot of multitasking. In my experience 2GB is hardly enough, and its absolutely not future-proof. Sorry but not sorry Apple. I am not upgrading this year. I hope they are more generous to put more storage and memory which is too cheap these days and listen to their customers, otherwise it is gonna be my last iPad. Sent from the iMore App
  • @ Rene or Ren: does the existing Smart Cover for the Air 2 fit perfectly on the new 9.7" Pro? Or does the Smart Connector necessitate getting the newly released Smart Cover or Case? Am also wondering if Apple changed the magnet layout on the Pro, which might cause the older Smart Cover to not properly align.
  • When I hear "hey siri" always listen... Still can't do anything because the phone is locked. When I do "ok Google " I can do anything because it recognize my voice.
  • How does the Baby Pro handle split screen? Is there enough room realistically?
    I am upgrading from an iPad 3 and I am hoping to go with the Baby Pro since I already have a 15" MacBook Pro.
  • Coffee is a bit less red this time (except in the photo of the photo)
  • In 1977 I got my first job in what is now called an IT company called Burroughs. It was a very large EDP company then. Now I am 65 years old. I have all the equipment that Apple currently has for sale and I am expecting my iPad 9.7" pro en a few days. It will replace my iPad Air because I want to draw on electronic paper. Since I know something about computers and have all the products that Apple has invented, I can easily follow and agree/disagree with a lot of reviews and the readers comments. - But there seems to be something you all are missing. All across the Earth there are billions of people who have never worked in an office. And millions of people who work in companies with production and storage people you will find that almost all those employees do not like computers even though they are forced to use them as part of their work. Because of my age and status as retired from active jobs I meet a lot of people who are scared of "computers". Either because they newer have had one or because they actually have had one! - But quite often they can grasp the iPad and the wonderful IOS system. With IOS they can connect to authorities, their bank and they can figure out how to send a mail. Since many are older people they also are very happy when they suddenly can figure out how to by groceries and have them delivered to their home. When all of you young, wise readers some day start having trouble walkning and running like you do now, you will know what we older people experience. My point here is this: Why do you all want to make the iPad look and work like "a computer"? There are lots and lots of different computers and several operating systems you can choose. - But all the IT-ignorant people and those who are scared of an actual "computer" can figure out how to use the iPad with IOS. They cannot "do something wrong" that destroys everything. And they definitely do not want the iPad to morph into another "computer" they have to be scared of. So please let all us older people and non-computer minded people keep our beloved iPad. Do not try to turn it into something else. - Please remember that most of the people on the earth are not office employees or smart young people who easily can figure everything out.
  • I still can't figure out why the left the camera sticking out on the back when the tablet is supposed to be able to be lain on a table and drawn on. That's just stupid, especially given the ridicule people who take pictures with the iPad have to suffer in the first place. I know this review (as do all reviews of the device) says that it "doesn't rock" because of it, but this is clearly not true. Physics are physics. If it has a lump in one corner, then it rocks. Period.
  • Kokomo l Sent from the iMore App
  • The iCushion is the most comfy way to use your iPad. Go and check it out. http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00B1UDO2O?tag=hawk-future-ca-20&ascsubtag=UUimU...
  • Awesome iPad... :D
  • I just got a new one and I love using it for everything
  • im a apple head i also have the iPad pro 9.7 and all the bells and whistles. while i do use it for a noble pc. it will never truly replace my MacBook air due to not having a true mac os . iOS 10 is good but its limited. but otherwise the 9.7 pro is a good basic computer.
  • Apple: I'm looking for the following combo:
    1. iPad Pro Mini, 64gb, true tone color display, anti-glare, 4-speaker, like the 9.7 Pro.
    2. Black colored Pencil. Less slippery. No larger than a fountain pen, so i can carry it with other writing instruments in a pen case I already have, and which has an inbuilt micro charging-adapter so I won't lose it.
    3. Black leather one-piece smart case and cover (no keyboard cover needed - I'm not replacing my laptop) like you used to make for the iPad mini 2 two years ago. Please, NO charcoal grey colored anything. Charcoal grey has the personality of a dead fish.
    4. Earphones. Yes, I still want them as part of the deal. And no, I don't want them wireless ones for a ton of money.
    5. Some real trade-in dollars for my current combo of iPad mini 2 wifi + cellular, plus charger, earphones and leather smart case - give me $200.
    6. Call me when it's ready. Six months? OK.