Yesterday I purchased the new 10.5" iPad Pro (256GB, cellular) from Apple. Previously, I had a couple different iterations, initially the 12.9", then the 9.7" version. I found that I used the iPad in my hands much more than I realized and the larger iPad Pro was just too big to handle like this. The 9.7" still felt slightly cramped but the trade offs were worth it.
With the release of the 10.5" you get virtually the same form factor as the 9.7" with a 20% larger screen. On paper, the dimensions may seem minuscule but in actual use the larger screen is a welcome and noticeable addition. In split screen mode I find the larger screen more helpful. While the larger iPad Pro can fit two full side-by-side apps together, the smaller one still has an iPhone layout with much more real estate. I find myself having more room when reading a PDF and taking notes on the other side, which is one of my primary uses for split screen.
Apple also updated the refresh rate of the screen to 120hz . Apple is calling this and other software integrations ProMotion. I'm not going to get into the science of it but lets just say that scrolling, switching between apps, and any other movement on the iPad is buttery smooth. The switch to retina screens several years ago was a vast improvement. ProMotion may not be as big as an improvement but it will completely change the way we view our devices.
In order to see the improvement see this video in a tweet by Matt Gemmell.
The Apple Pencil software also received some updates. With the first generation iPad Pro I really couldn't tell a difference between writing on paper and writing on the iPad. Now, there is no question, this is the best stylus out there. Absolutely no lag time when writing with the pencil.
- The camera is now the same camera in the iPhone 7. I don't take many pictures on the iPad because I don't want to look silly but for scanning documents this is a helpful upgrade.
- They also upgraded the fingerprint sensor to the lightning fast iPhone 7 sensor. It is a vastly noticeable improvement.
- After having an iPad with True Tone its really hard not having a device without it. The screen looks more natural (not in a computer generated color switching way like night shift). Additionally, the screen is even brighter for use outside
- If you hold your iPad with any frequency the 10.5" is the way to go. The 12.9" version is more of a desktop iPad and not as suitable for mobile use.
This iPad was really made for iOS 11. The hardware inside the iPad is more than I'll ever need but as Apple keeps improving iOS with more multitasking and other productivity features it will continually need more power and speed for users. I can't wait till the public beta is released as I will be testing it out at that point.
Should You Buy One?
If you don't have an iPad Pro yet and are interested in purchasing one I have absolutely no reservations in recommending this version of the iPad. The integration with the Apple Pencil is going to keep getting better, especially with the release of iOS 11. The iPad Pro has transformed the way I get work done. It's primarily become my main device that I use. Whether it is reading articles on the web, marking up PDFs for research, taking notes in meetings, browsing photos, watching St. Louis Cardinals games, and more it has become my go to device.
If you already have the previous iPad Pro the question becomes a little trickier. If you have the smaller iPad Pro and wanting some more screen real estate I think the upgrade is worth it. I found the 9.7" to be slightly cramped when running two apps side-by-side. Additionally, the keyboard also felt slightly cramped. The larger screen allows for a full on-screen keyboard and a larger keyboard for the Apple Smart Keyboard, which I am currently using. The typing on the keyboard alone feels much more comfortable. So, if you have the means, I think it is a welcome upgrade. If you are trying to save some money both the original 9.7" and 12.9" are still worth checking out, if not for the Apple Pencil alone.
Overall, the new iPad Pros are beasts of a device. There is really no comparison in the market for these tablets. If you want the best you can't go wrong.
More In-Depth Reviews
Here are some of my favorite reviews that have been released so far: