Apple just launched the 10.5-inch iPad Pro alongside an updated 12.9-inch model. I've always been a proponent of the smaller-is-better campaign, but this time I'm trading up. Why am I switching to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro? It's all about productivity.
Because the 'Biggie Pro' now has all the same stuff as the 'Baby Pro,' but it's bigger!
When the 9.7-inch iPad Pro launch about a year ago, it had a couple of sweet features that weren't available on the 12.9-inch model, namely the True Tone display and front and back-facing cameras.
True Tone, which is the internal system that naturally adjusts the screen to the light around you, making everything look more like soft paper instead of a harsh, electronic screen, is now available on both models of iPad Pro. We no longer have to choose between a smaller screen with True Tone or a larger screen without.
The iSight cameras are both now 12 megapixels with a 1.8 aperture f-stop with five times digital zoom. They are both capable of 4K video recording at 30 fps and both have a 7-megapixel front-facing camera that supports 1080p HD video recording.
Almost everything about the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro tablets are exactly the same, the only real difference being their physical sizes. You can't even say that about the iPhone lineup.
So, when it comes to choosing an iPad Pro, size becomes the only deciding factor.
Because productivity hits maximum overdrive with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro
Thanks to its size, the 12.9-inch iPad pro is capable of running full apps side-by-side in Split View mode instead of running an iPhone UI the way the 10.5-inch model does. Full apps means more productivity.
The screen runs natively at 2732 x 2048, which also runs video smooth as butter thanks to ProMotion technology and HDR support. We're talking about a pretty robust bit of technology that is the same screen size as the smaller MacBook Pro, but about one-third the thickness because all the guts and goodies are packed tightly behind the screen. Plus, it's got a touch screen.
The new iPad Pro line is now capable of up to 120 Hz refresh rate, which is also smart-adjustable down to as low as 24 Hz for those apps that don't need as much computing power. This means more power when needed without using up a lot of battery.
This amazing new display technology also lowers the Apple Pencil's latency to about 20 milliseconds, which is going to come in really handy when handwriting notes in the Notes app.
Basically, the advancements in technology now found in the iPad Pro devices make them a replacement for a laptop on paper (I've yet to test this in practice). So, why not get a screen that's the actual size of a laptop and get to work?
Because, why not?
I've always had an iPad with a 9.7-inch screen. I never even went in for the iPad mini. I've always thought the size was the perfect fit. It's portable, yet big enough to work on, less expensive, but not quite an entry-level device, and was Apple's initial screen size when the iPad first launched seven years ago.
So, this time around, it's time for a change. I'm ready to give a different iPad screen size a chance. I'd like to know what it's like to work in Pages, or actually manage the iMore site (Trello, Slack, and all of our back-end website tools) on it with nearly the same level of ease as working on my 13-inch MacBook Pro.
To be honest, the real reason I'm going with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is that I already have a 9.7-inch model. Sure, I could trade it in for a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, but the physical screen real-estate increase is only about an inch and the speedy upgrade to the guts won't make it seem like enough of a change. If I'm going to get another iPad Pro only a year after my last one, I might as well make it completely different.
That's not to say the 'Baby Pro' isn't still my fav...
Some of the things I said about the 9.7-inch iPad Pro a year ago still hold true today for the 10.5-inch model. It is better as far as portability is concerned and it costs about $150 less than it's larger sibling.
I'm always going to love the "Baby Pro" form factor. Its size is just right, it is spec-for-spec nearly identical to the 12.9-inch model, and it costs less. What's not to love?
After thinking it over
I'll be picking up my 12.9-inch iPad Pro from my local Apple store on launch day. Though I won't be able to get one in Rose Gold to match my 9.7-inch iPad Pro and iPhone SE, I'll be getting it in Space Gray to match my MacBook Pro.
What about you? Are you thinking about getting the 12.9-inch or 10.5-inch iPad Pro? Do you have the previous model of either? Tell me why you're buying (or not buying) a new iPad Pro in the comments.
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Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books. If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).