iPad Pro, iPad and mini 4: What are the differences?
Trying to decide on which iPad to buy? Roman Loyola looks at the major specifications of each model
When Apple released its new iPad, the company also simplified the iPad line-up: instead of four models, there are now three. This makes it easier to decide which one to buy, though there are still a lot of factors to consider. We take a look at the major features you should think about when picking an iPad.
If you want to carry your iPad around, size is an important consideration. Overleaf is a breakdown of each iPad.
Just looking at the iPads, it’s difficult to discern any difference in the screens besides their sizes. All of the iPads
use LED-backlit displays with Multi-Touch support and fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating. But there are a few features that are found in some models and not in others that may not be obvious.
If colour accuracy and detail is vital to your work, then you want the 9.7in iPad Pro with its P3 wide colour and True Tone. If you really want the bigger screen of the 12.9in iPad Pro, you won’t get the P3 support, but there is a way to use iOS’s Night Shift
to act like True Tone. The iPad lacks the laminated display and anti-reflective coating found in the other iPads, so you might have issues with glare. You might consider an iPad mini 4 instead, especially if you plan to be outdoors a lot, or if you are going to use the device where lighting is influential in the environment, like a photo studio.
The iPad Pro is the only iPad outfitted with a Smart Connector, which is used to connect devices like keyboards.
Apple’s Smart Keyboard (pictured) uses the Smart Connector to connect to the iPad Pro. The Smart Keyboard for 12.9in iPad Pro is £169, and the Smart Keyboard for 9.7in iPad Pro is £149. Third parties like Logitech also make keyboards that use the Smart Connector.
You can still use a keyboard with the iPad and iPad mini 4, but since these iPads don’t have a Smart Connector, Bluetooth is used to connect to a keyboard. So, you can use any Bluetooth keyboard, but you may want to get a keyboard case that’s designed specifically for the iPad or iPad mini 4 for extra comfort.
In case you’re not that familiar with Apple’s iPad models, the iPad Pro is the only device that can be used with the Apple Pencil (£99), a pen-like input device. You can still use your fingers to interact with the iPad Pro, but the Pencil provides the precision needed for creative work, or for people who want to write using an instrument.
You can find a third-party stylus that can be used with the iPad and iPad mini 4, though they may not function like the Apple Pencil. Some styluses are made for specifically for writing, while others are for sketching.
If still photos are a priority for you, then you probably want the 9.7in iPad Pro. It has a few major features (noted below) that the other iPads don’t have.
The 9.7in iPad Pro is also the more capable video camera. In fact, its specs outpace the other iPads by a wide margin. Major differences noted in the table overleaf.
Since iPads are used more and more for videoconferencing, the FaceTime camera is an important consideration. As with photos and video, the 9.7in iPad Pro has the best specs.
The 9.7in iPad Pro has a 5Mp FaceTime camera, while the other three iPads are a 1.2Mp. It also comes equipped with a Retina Flash to make sure you are properly illuminated. There is no flash in the other iPads.
The iPad Pro is the top performer with an A9X chip. The chip in the 9.7in version is slightly slower than the one in the 12.9in model, so it doesn’t overheat in the smaller form factor. The iPad has a A9 processor, which is same model number as the processor in the iPhone 6s. Though it’s not as fast as the A9X, it’s a boost over the A8X chip that was in the iPad Air 2. The iPad mini 4 comes with the slowest processor of the lineup, an A8. It’s the compromise you make to get the smaller form factor and a reasonable price.
And finally, after considering everything listed above, there’s the one thing that could change or confirm your decision: the Rose Gold factor. The 9.7in iPad Pro is the only iPad available in Rose Gold. All iPads are available in Gold, Silver and Space Grey.