Apple’s newest iPad Pros might be the most powerful tablets yet, loaded with new features and the new A12X Bionic processor to drive it all. They’re also pretty pricey at $799 for the 11-inch version and $999 for the 12.9-inch version.
If you want a tablet to use at home but not one to rely on for important work, the non-professional Apple iPad is much more affordable at $329. Here are the key differences between the standard and Pro lines.
Apple is all about Retina, and for tablets that means 264 pixels per inch whether you pay $329 or $999. In terms of sheer numbers, the new iPad Pros simply have larger screens with higher resolutions that keep that 264ppi intact. The big differences are in what those pixels can do. Apple claims the new iPad Pro screens are True Tone displays that can reach the full P3 color space, and are fully laminated with antireflective coatings. Wider and more accurate colors are important for professional artists, but less so for casual users.
Face ID and the Disappearing Home Button
The new iPad screens represent a major design change more than a display change. They almost completely cover the tablets, framed only by thin black borders. The home button is now completely gone, replaced by swiping up on the screen. It’s a striking design change that lets the 11-inch iPad Pro feature a slightly larger screen while keeping the same size as the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and makes the 12.9-inch iPad Pro a solid 25 percent smaller by volume than the previous 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The standard iPad has a 9.5-inch screen with a pretty chunky, home button-equipped bezel.
|Name||Apple iPad (2018)||Apple iPad Pro (11-inch)||Apple iPad Pro (12.9-Inch, 2018)|
| || || |
|Lowest Price|| |
|Editors’ Rating|| |
|Dimensions||9.4 by 6.6 by 0.29 inches||9.74 by 7.02 by 0.23 inches||11.04 by 8.46 by 0.23 inches|
|Weight||1.03 lb||1.03 lb||1.39 lb|
|CPU||Apple A10||Apple A12X Bionic||Apple A12X Bionic|
|Screen Size||9.7 inches||11 inches||12.9 inches|
|Screen Resolution||2,048 by 1,536 pixels||2,388 by 1,688 pixels||2,732 by 2,048 pixels|
|Screen Type||Retina||Liquid Retina||Liquid Retina|
|Screen Pixels Per Inch||264 ppi||264 ppi||264 ppi|
|Ports||Apple Lightning||USB Type-C||USB Type-C|
|Read the Review||Read the Review||Read the Review|
Without a home button, the new iPads have no place for a fingerprint sensor. That’s why they rely on Face ID rather than Touch ID for fast unlocking. Whether it’s as secure as Apple claims remains to be seen, but like all measures of convenience, there’s always the risk that making it easier for you to get into your device will make it easier for others to get into your device. If you’re concerned, disable either ID system and use a passcode.
A10 vs. A12X Bionic
The A10 chip was introduced by Apple two years ago, and it’s still fairly brisk, but the A12X Bionic has the potential to be much, much faster. According to Apple, the A12X Bionic enables the new iPad Pros to be 35 percent faster in single-core processing and 90 percent faster in multi-core processing than previous iPad Pros, with graphics processing that’s twice as fast. Those iPad Pros used Apple’s A10X chip, which itself is an upgraded version of the A10 chip in the iPad. We were impressed by the A12 Bionic chip used in Apple’s latest iPhones, and if the A12X Bionic chip is even faster than that, the boost between the new iPad Pros and the standard iPad will probably be very noticeable.
The standard iPad can have between 32GB and 128GB of flash storage. The new iPad Pros start at 64GB, but can go all the way up to a whopping 1TB of storage thanks to a new storage controller. That’s massive for a tablet, and a solid eight times more space than the top-of-the-line regular iPad. It might not make a bit difference if you just want a day-to-day tablet for consuming media, but if you want to use your tablet to create media, that extra room is vital.
USB-C vs. Lightning
The new iPad Pros ditch the Lightning connector of the iPad for the faster and more versatile USB-C connector. There is a much wider range of USB-C devices than Lightning devices, from cameras to storage to up to 5K displays. The USB-C connection can also charge those devices from the iPad Pro’s battery, which is a new trick the standard iPad didn’t learn.
The current iPad can use an Apple Pencil stylus just like the new iPad Pros. However, the Apple Pencil that works with the iPad is the first-generation version, while the Apple Pencil that works with the new iPad Pros is the equally new second-generation version. They’re both extremely sensitive, accurate stylii, but the new Apple Pencil is much more convenient.
While the first Apple Pencil had to be plugged into a Lightning port to charge, the new Apple Pencil charges wirelessly by attaching magnetically to the side of the iPad Pro. It also adds a few new shortcuts, like tapping to wake up the iPad Pro and double-tapping to switch tools. The two Apple Pencil versions aren’t cross-compatible with each other; the first-generation one won’t work with the new iPad Pros and the second-generation version won’t work with the regular iPad.