Apple recently announced that the iPad Pro would have a smaller sibling. Originally only available in a 12.9-inch size, the latest iPad Pro comes in a 9.7-inch size too, just like the iPad Air. But despite being smaller, the new iPad Pro is actually better in many ways than its much larger counterpart.
Apple introduced several new features in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro that it didn’t yet add to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. It’s possible that they’ll make their way into the larger iPad eventually, but for now, they actually give the 9.7-inch model a few noticeable advantages.
Better Display and Cover Glass
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a better display pretty much across the board except by the metric of sheer size, if you even count bigger as better. The first improvement over the 12.9-inch model Apple proudly boasts is that it’s both the brightest and least reflective display in the world. It gets brighter than any other device and also the cover glass is up to 40 percent better at reducing glare.
The new, smaller iPad Pro also has a 25 percent wider color gamut, which means it can display more colors and have better color accuracy. But the best feature about this iPad’s display is what Apple calls True Tone. Using ambient light sensors, the iPad analyzes the light around you for intensity and color temperature and will automatically adjust the display to match that.
Have you ever used a white Apple device in a room with very warm, yellow lighting and noticed that the border of your iPad was nowhere near as white as the content on screen? True Tone significantly remedies that problem.
While we haven’t been able to have any hands-on time with the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro, it has dramatically better cameras according to most specs.
Note: The 9.7-inch iPad Pro isn’t available until March 31 and only in select countries to boot.
For starters, it has a 12MP camera on the back with LED flash (a first for an iPad) compared to the 8MP on the large iPad Pro, and this new camera is capable of shooting 4K video too. But it doesn’t stop there.
Apple’s Tech Specs page lists that compared to the larger model, the 9.7-inch also has Live Photo support, a wider f/2.2 aperture lens which typically helps in low light situations, a sapphire crystal lens cover, improved face detection and more.
Even the front-facing camera is a 5MP lens with Retina Flash versus to the measly 1.2MP on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The camera improvements are significant.
Better Price (with Accessories)
You probably already know that the 9.7-inch iPad Pro costs less than the 12.9-inch. It costs $200 less to be exact; it starts at $599. That’s a savings right there, but take into consideration the awesome accessories Apple’s been heavily marketing. The Smart Keyboard for the smaller iPad is $20 cheaper at $149 while the Apple Pencil is still $99.
If you were on the fence about getting these accessories after spending $800 on an iPad Pro, you can almost definitely fit them into your budget getting the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. You can get the entire package for $849: iPad Pro, Pencil and Smart Keyboard. This is the closest Apple’s ever been to a sub-$900 laptop.
Rose gold fans rejoice. This won’t be a perk for everyone, but those loyal to Apple’s new favorite color can get the 9.7-inch iPad Pro in rose gold as one extra color option. The 12.9-inch still sells in just regular gold (how boring!) plus silver and space gray.