Apple began taking orders on Thursday for the new, smaller iPad Pro, the latest addition to the company’s tablet lineup that is supposed to appeal to people looking to upgrade from older iPads, or perhaps outdated PC.
The smaller iPad Pro packs healthy performance into a small body, making it easier to lug around without forfeiting overall performance. On top of adding power to a portable size, Apple has finally provided older iPad owners with a legitimate reason to ditch an older tablet.
In addition to having a smaller screen, the new iPad Pro’s price tag is also smaller. Starting at $599 for 32 gigabytes of storage, the new iPad Pro is $200 cheaper than its bigger sibling.
Additionally, Apple’s $149 Smart Keyboard for the smaller iPad Pro is priced $20 less than the bigger equivalent. The same $99 Apple Pencil will work on both devices.
Pricing aside, there are some differences to consider when deciding between the two devices. Although those differences are subtle, they could make for a significant factors depending whether you are a casual user or one who uses resource intensive apps.
The smaller iPad Pro is, of course, easier to cart around than its larger cousin. That tablet is similar in size to a 13-inch laptop, meaning you can’t throw it into a smaller duffel bag or purse and tote it around.
Putting both iPad Pro models next to one another, the size difference between the two is clear. The bigger iPad Pro has a 12.9-inch display, is 8.68-inches wide, 12 inches long, and 6.9mm thick. Meanwhile, the smaller iPad Pro has a 9.7-inch display, is 6.6-inches wide, 9.4-inches long, and 6.1mm thick.
In terms of weight, the 9.7-inch Pro weighs just under one pound while the 12.9-inch model weighs just over a pound and a half.
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put a 12-megapixel rear camera on the smaller iPad Pro along with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. The bigger iPad Pro features an 8 MP camera on the back, with a 1.2 MP camera on the front.
Simply put: If you’re fond of shooting photos or recording videos with your iPad, the smaller Pro is the one you want. Not only does it offer a better camera for still photos, it’s capable of capturing 4K video (while the 12.9-inch Pro is left behind capturing 1080p).
Additionally, holding a nearly 13-inch tablet to take photos at a concert or family gathering isn’t exactly convenient. It’s far easier to use a tablet that is about two-thirds the size.
Apple, irritatingly, never reveals the amount of memory its mobile devices use until the devices are publicly available. But that detail about the new iPad has already leaked out. Mathew Panzarino, editor-in-chief of tech news site TechCrunch, posted a picture on Twitter that revealed the 9.7-inch iPad Pro has 2-gigabytes of memory, or RAM. In comparison, the larger iPad Pro has 4-gigabytes.
The difference between the two models is something to keep in mind depending on what you plan to use the iPad Pro for. The smaller tablet’s overall performance will likely be fine, with the most noticeable difference being when relaunching recently used apps.
Currently, when you exit an app on your iOS device, the operating system stores the app’s current status in its memory. The more memory a device has, the less it must make room for other tasks. For example, you may have noticed when launching an app that it goes directly to where you left off. Other times, it may go directly to the app’s main screen. Memory is the key factor in determining what happens.
It could be an issue for users who plan to do a lot of video and photo editing, processes that use a lot of resources. The larger iPad will handle the job a bit more quickly than the smaller version because of the need to occasionally reload apps.
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As with all iOS devices, the iPad Pro line features devices with a single port for charging the iPad, transferring photos, and connecting accessories such as microphones using an adapter. But not all ports are created equal on the iPad Pro line.
The larger iPad Pro features USB 3.0 speeds, a relatively new spec that offers faster transfer and charging speeds than the older USB 2.0 protocol. The smaller iPad Pro is equipped with USB 2.0.
The difference in transfer speeds will be most noticeable to those who spend a lot of time moving photos and videos from a camera or memory card to the iPad. Apple also quietly released a new USB-C to Lighting charging cable on Monday that can more rapidly charging the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The smaller iPad Pro doesn’t have such an option.
For more about Apple’s new iPad Pro, watch:
For the most part, the two iPad Pros offer the same display quality with the same 264 pixels per inch. However, the 9.7-inch Pro has a couple of new features that its bigger brother missed out on when it debuted in the fall.
One new feature Apple calls True Tone display will change the screen’s color to adapt to its surroundings. For example, if you’re in a bright white environment, the display’s light will take on a white hue. If you’re in a room with more yellow lighting, the smaller Pro’s display will take on a yellow tint.
The end result is a display that’s easier to look at and less jarring on the eyes. Sensors do the job, but they can be disabled at any time through the device’s settings.
Another benefit the 9.7-inch iPad Pro’s screen is wide color display. In short, the colors displayed on the screen of the smaller Pro will be more accurate.
Regardless of which iPad Pro you end up buying, both devices are more than capable of replacing a desktop computer for most users. Both devices provide what amounts to be the same core experience, thanks to both devices running iOS with access the wealth of suitable apps in the App Store. Ultimately, the decision may come down to portability and overall screen size.