5 rea­sons to buy Ap­ple’s new 9.7inch ipad

Pen­cil sup­port puts it over the top.

Macworld (USA) - - Contents - By Michael Si­mon IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY SHAW NIELSEN

When Ap­ple launched its $329 9.7-inch ipad ( go. mac­world.com/17ip) last year, it was a play for peo­ple who wanted to play with their tablets. With the lat­est up­date ( go. mac­world.com/nwip), Ap­ple is show­ing that it’s a great tool for work too.

That’s be­cause Ap­ple is adding sup­port for the Ap­ple Pen­cil to the en­trylevel ipad, let­ting users write and draw on their new tablet just like they can on the Pro mod­els. With the same tilt sup­port and pres­sure sen­si­tiv­ity, Ap­ple has turned its cheap­est ipad into a de­vice that’s darn close to the 10.5-inch ipad Pro, which costs nearly twice as much. Here are five rea­sons you might want to buy a $329 ipad ( go.mac­world.com/by97) in­stead of a $650 ipad Pro ( go.mac­world.com/ippo).

1. IT HAS AP­PLE PEN­CIL SUP­PORT

The big news,ob­vi­ously, is sup­port for the Ap­ple Pen­cil ( go.mac­world.com/spap) in the non-pro ipad. Un­til now, Ap­ple’s pow­ered sty­lus was ar­guably the big­gest sell­ing point for the ipad Pro ( go.mac­world.com/97pr), but now that you can use the Ap­ple Pen­cil to draw and write on the new en­try-level ipad’s screen too, there’s less of a rea­son to spring for the higher-priced model. And since both mod­els sup­port the same $99 sty­lus ( go. mac­world.com/99pn), you’ll be able to use the Pen­cil you pur­chase to­day on any fu­ture ipad Pros you may buy.

2. IT’S JUST AS FAST

Ap­ple has bumped the pro­ces­sor in the ipad from an A9 chip to an A10 Fu­sion, the same chip that’s in the iphone 7 ( go. mac­world.com/ifo7). That’s not ex­actly the same chip as the A10X that Ap­ple uses in the ipad Pro, but con­sider this: At the time of its re­lease, Ap­ple claimed that the A10X had 30 per­cent faster CPU per­for­mance and 40 per­cent faster GPU per­for­mance than the A9X, while the A10 boasted 40 per­cent bet­ter CPU per­for­mance and 50 per­cent bet­ter graph­ics per­for­mance over the A9. Add it up, and the dif­fer­ence be­tween the A10X ipad Pro and the A10 ipad will be neg­li­gi­ble.

3. YOU CAN STILL USE A

KEY­BOARD

With the same tilt sup­port and pres­sure sen­si­tiv­ity, Ap­ple has turned its cheap­est ipad into a de­vice that’s darn close to the 10.5-inch ipad Pro, which costs nearly twice as much.

While it’s cer­tainly strange that Ap­ple didn’t bring over the Smart Con­nec­tor that is

used to at­tach the Smart Key­board ( go. mac­world.com/skey) to the ipad Pro, you can still use a key­board with your ipad. All you’ll need to do is pick up a stan­dard Blue­tooth key­board along with an Ap­ple Smart Cover for prop­ping pur­poses and voilà, you have a very sim­i­lar setup. You’ll even be able to use the same key­board short­cuts.

4. IT’S CHEAP ENOUGH TO HAND DOWN TO A KID

While the new ipad didn’t get the price drop we were hop­ing for, $329 is still a great price for an Ap­ple tablet. That’s ac­tu­ally cheaper than the $399 ipad mini 4 ( go. mac­world.com/ipm4), which is run­ning an out­dated A8 chip. So if you buy one to­day and de­cide to up­grade to what­ever new ipad Pro comes out later this year, you won’t feel so bad about pass­ing it down to your child or younger sib­ling.

5. IT’S JUST AS GOOD OF A MUL­TI­TASKER

In IOS 10 and IOS 11, Ap­ple in­tro­duced a whole new way to nav­i­gate and mul­ti­task on the tablets, and you don’t need a 10.5-inch Pro model to take ad­van­tage of it. With IOS 11 and the new 9.7-inch ipad, you’ll still be able to use Slide Over, Split View, and Pic­ture-in-pic­ture, as well as Drag and Drop and the en­hanced Dock like a pro. And with the new A10X chip, switch­ing be­tween apps should be nearly in­stan­ta­neous.

WHICH SHOULD YOU BUY?

The 10.5-inch ipad Pro brings a slightly bet­ter chip (A10X ver­sus A10), a big­ger screen, and bet­ter dis­play tech with Pro­mo­tion and True Tone. If those dif­fer­ences are worth $320 to you, then by all means get an ipad Pro. Oth­er­wise, save money and buy a 9.7-inch ipad. Or two. ■

With Pen­cil sup­port and an A10X pro­ces­sor, Ap­ple’s new 9.7inch ipad is a whole lot more ca­pa­ble than be­fore.

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