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The New iPad Pro: What’s New?

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Apple has a pair of new iPad Pros launching on Nov. 7, and they’re radical redesigns from the previous versions. They’re still big slates with panes of glass on them, but everything from ports to screen configurations have been rethought. They’re also faster, of course, and—as professional-oriented devices—cost two to three times as much as the standard Apple iPad.

But if you already own a previous-gen iPad Pro, should you upgrade to the newest version? Here’s a rundown of what Apple has changed in the new iPad Pros.

Liquid Retina Display

The most notable design change on the new iPad Pro is the screen. The 11- and 12.9-inch Liquid Retina displays now run nearly edge-to-edge, framed only by thin black borders with rounded corners to match the corners of the tablets themselves. If you’ve used any other iPad, you’ll immediately notice the difference this makes when you try to turn it on: There’s no home button on either one.

Name Apple iPad Pro (10.5 inch) Apple iPad Pro (12.9 inch, 2017) Apple iPad Pro (11-inch) Apple iPad Pro (12.9-Inch, 2018)
 



Lowest Price

$649.00
MSRP

$799.00
MSRP

$799.00
MSRP

$999.00
MSRP

Editors’ Rating    
Dimensions 9.8 by 6.8 by 0.24 inches 12.0 by 8.68 by 0.27 inches 9.74 by 7.02 by 0.23 inches 11.04 by 8.46 by 0.23 inches
Weight 1.03 lb 1.49 lb 1.03 lb 1.39 lb
CPU Apple A10X Apple A10X Apple A12X Bionic Apple A12X Bionic
Screen Size 10.5 inches 12.9 inches 11 inches 12.9 inches
Screen Resolution 2,224 by 1,668 pixels 2,732 by 2,048 pixels 2,388 by 1,688 pixels 2,732 by 2,048 pixels
Screen Type Retina Retina Liquid Retina Liquid Retina
Screen Pixels Per Inch 264 ppi 264 ppi 264 ppi 264 ppi
Ports Apple Lightning Apple Lightning USB Type-C USB Type-C
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For the 11-inch iPad Pro, this means you get a slightly larger and higher-resolution screen in the same tablet size (11 inches and 2,388 by 1,668, up from 10.5 inches and 2,224 by 1,668). For the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the screen stays the same but the tablet itself shrinks significantly, with 25 percent less total volume and a profile of just 5.9 millimeters.

And if you miss the home button, the same gesture activation on the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are on the new iPad Pros. Instead of touching the home button, you swipe on the screen itself.

Face ID (No Touch ID)

Without a home button with a fingerprint sensor, the new iPad Pros swap Touch ID for Face ID. According to Apple, the Face ID system is extremely secure, and the company is putting its money where its mouth is. We were skeptical last year when Apple first introduced it on the iPhone X, but maybe it’s made some major strides since then.

USB-C

The iPad Pro has ditched the Lightning connector and moved to the even more universal USB-C. This means a faster connection and support for a wider variety of devices, including up to 5K-resolution displays. The tablet now supports charging out with its battery as well, so you can keep your other devices topped up over USB-C. And the USB-C connector is a bit more sturdy and less prone to bending than the Lightning connector. It’s a good upgrade all-around, even if you might find less use for the Lightning cables you already have.

A12X Bionic Processor

A new year and a new generation of iOS device means a new generation of processors, and the iPad Pro is no exception. The new tablets use Apple’s A12X Bionic processor, the more powerful X-version of the A12 Bionic chip used in the most recent batch of iPhones.

According to Apple, the A12X Bionic has 35 percent faster single-core and 90 percent faster multi-core CPU processing than the previous iPad Pro, with twice as fast graphical performance. Apple also says the iPad Pros are now comparable with the Xbox One S in graphics power, which is a pretty remarkable claim considering the much smaller size of the tablets. Though, to be fair, Apple didn’t say it’s similar to the Xbox One X and its 4K-capable game-crunching.

We’ll have hard numbers on the new iPad Pros’ performance when we test them, but considering the A12-equipped iPhone XS stands as the fastest handheld device we’ve seen yet, it’s safe to say the A12X will offer some impressive performance.

Storage

Both iPad Pros start at 64GB of flash storage, like the previous models. The upper end of storage, however, has exploded past previous limits. Thanks to a new storage controller, the 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Pros are available in up to 1TB versions. That’s a full terabyte of flash storage on a tablet. It’ll cost you, though; while the 64GB iPad Pros start at $799 and $999, respectively, the 1TB versions approximately double the starting prices to $1,549 and $1,749.

New Apple Pencil

Apple also revealed a new Apple Pencil to work with the new iPad Pros. That’s pretty important, since the previous Apple Pencil charged through Lightning and the new tablets don’t have Lightning ports. You don’t have to plug the new Apple Pencil in with USB-C, though. Instead, the new stylus attaches magnetically to the side of the tablet and charges wirelessly. It’s a much more convenient design that keeps all of the pressure sensitivity and accuracy of the first version.

The new Apple Pencil adds a few new tricks as well, like tapping to wake up the iPad Pro and double-tapping to switch tools. These features add up to a bit of a price bump, though; the second-generation Apple Pencil has a $129 price tag to the first one’s $99.

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