iPad Pro gets a new size, refreshed specs
The long-rumored 10.5-inch iPad is now available to buy – and further challenges the traditional laptop
Bringing the battle to the traditional laptop.
After just 14 months on sale, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is no more. Apple has replaced the smaller of its premium tablets with a new 10.5-inch model, equipped with a 2224x1668-pixel resolution to maintains the Retina display’s density of 264 pixels per inch.
Apple has accommodated the larger screen by reducing the borders around the panel by almost 40 percent, and slightly increasing the device’s width and height over the 9.7-inch model by 0.2 and 0.4 inches, respectively. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro weighs 1.12 oz more than its 9.7-inch predecessor; however, its thickness remains the same.
Size isn’t the only display change to the refreshed iPad Pro lineup. Both the 10.5- and 12.9-inch models come equipped with a ProMotion display, which supports a refresh rate of 120Hz, double that of any previous iPad. This enables ultra-smooth motion wherever it’s of benefit, and iOS is able to dynamically adjust the refresh rate to suit what you’re doing at any given time. For example, it might be reduced if you’re reading iBooks, for which refreshing 120 times per second is unnecessary.
The biggest practical benefit of the higher refresh rate is evident when you’re using an Apple Pencil. Apple’s stylus delivered impressive response times even with a firstgeneration iPad Pro. However, the new display further reduces latency
to just 20 milliseconds to give a more natural impression in response to your interactions with the Pencil.
There are other changes beyond the screen, too. The new size and its larger 12.9-inch sibling are each equipped with an A10X Fusion chip, which has a total of six processing cores: three for high performance and three for high efficiency, with the load managed by an Appledesigned performance controller, just as in the first generation. The chip also includes a 12-core graphics processing unit.
Apple says the new specifications don’t affect battery life compared to older models. It says to expect 10 hours of surfing the web, watching
The ProMotion display enables ultra-smooth motion wherever it’s of benefit
video, or listening to music. Informal testing conducted by Mac|Life in our first few days with the new 12.9-inch model suggested that this may actually be a conservative figure; after a mix of web browsing, using Apple Pencil in various art and note-taking apps, and listening to music, it lasted more than 44 hours on standby and around 14 hours and 45 minutes in active use.
Capturing photos and videos with these iPads is also improved, thanks to the addition of the same camera system found on the iPhone 7.
That means you get a rear camera with a 12-megapixel sensor – that isn’t any different between the 9.7-inch and 10.5-inch models, but it’s a significant boost from the original 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s 8-megapixel photos.
Additionally, the rear camera has gained optical image stabilization, an f/1.8 aperture – previously f/2.4 (10.9-inch) or f/2.2 (9.7-inch) – and a six-element lens, up from five in the first-generation models.
There’s also a quad-LED True Tune flash to deliver more natural-looking illumination, which is something the original 12.9-inch model lacked.
Each iPad Pro’s front-facing camera has an 8-megapixel sensor, a reasonable boost over the old 9.7-inch model’s 5 megapixels and a massive increase on the lackluster 1.2 megapixels of the very first iPad Pro. The aperture in both models is unchanged at f/2.2, but the FaceTime camera matches the rear one in capturing the wide color gamut.
The experience of transferring photos taken with a DSLR to a firstgeneration iPad Pro was different depending on which screen size you picked, as 9.7-inch models limited camera accessories to USB 2 speeds. Now, though, it doesn’t matter which of the new models you choose, as all are capable of USB 3 transfer rates – that’s a real time-saver if you’re copying large numbers of photos or long videos to the tablet.
Further boosting the iPad Pro’s potential as a professional tool or an alternative to a laptop, Apple has doubled storage capacities across the range. Indeed, the $949 and $1,099 models now match the $1,599 12-inch MacBook Pro in terms of room for your data.
Come the fall, iOS 11’s improved multitasking features look set to turn the iPad Pro into an even more capable MacBook replacement – you can read more about that in our feature starting on page 16.
With a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, the new iPad Pro works even more smoothly with the Pencil.