iPad Pro 2 vs iPad Pro: how do Apple’s premium slates shape up?

The iPad Pro 2 has been unveiled at Apple's WWDC 2017, coming in 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch varieties. 

Following the same fundamental design language as the previous iPad Pro duo, the new models offer more power, improved screens and enhanced cameras crammed into a similar space.

But how much more has changed since the first iPad Pro? To find out, we’re putting the two new iPad Pro models up against their predecessors – the iPad Pro 12.9 and the iPad Pro 9.7.

iPad Pro 2 vs iPad Pro price

The new iPad Pros – which we'll refer to as the iPad Pro 2 10.5 and Pro 2 12.9 from here on in – are similar in price to the tablets they're replaced.

The iPad Pro 2 10.5 starts at set you back $649 (£619, AU$979) for the 64GB Wi-Fi model, rising to $749 (£709, AU$1,129) for the 256GB and topping out at $949 (£889, AU$1,429) if you fancy a massive 512GB of internal storage.

Meanwhile the larger, iPad Pro 2 12.9 starts at $799 (£769, $AU1,199) for the 64GB Wi-Fi only version, with the 256GB version setting you back $899 (£859, AU$1,349) and the top-end 512GB slate costing $1,099 (£1,039, AU$1,649). 

If you want the Wi-Fi + cellular iPad Pro 2 10.5 then you're looking at $779 (£749, AU$1,179) for 64GB, $879 (£839, AU$1,329) for 256GB and $1,079 (£1,019, AU$1,629) for 512GB. 

The Wi-Fi + cellular iPad Pro 2 12.9 costs $929 (£899, AU$1,399) for 64GB, $1,029 (£989, AU$1,549) for 256GB and $1,229 (£1,169, AU$1,849) for 512GB. 

In comparison, the prices of the previous two iPad Pro models set you back a similarly high amount. 

The larger, 12.9-inch iPad Pro cost $799 (£679, AU$1249) for the 32GB Wi-Fi version, $949 (£799, AU$1499) for the 128GB model and $1,099 (£919, AU$1749) for the 256GB one. 

The smaller iPad Pro 9.7 started at $599 (£499, AU$899), making it a little more palatable, but it only had 32GB of storage.

Design

The iPad Pro 2 will be instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with the Pro range. In fact, there's no difference is size, shape or design with the larger 12.9 version at all. 

It means you get the same premium, all-metal finish with a home button (with Touch ID fingerprint scanner) on the front, and a camera bump and flash on the rear.

The changes have come in the smaller of the two tablets, with the 9.7-inch screen of the original growing to 10.5 inches. Apple has also reduced the bezels around the display by 40% on this model, meaning it's only slightly taller and wider than the 9.7-inch version it replaces.

The new iPad Pro 2 10.5 measures 250.6 x 174.1 x 6.1mm vs the original at 240mm x 170mm vs 6.1mm.

Meanwhile both 12.9-inch iPad Pro slates come in at 306mm x 221mm x 6.9mm.

Screen

Apple tends to impress when it comes to display tech, and the iPad Pro 2 kicks things up yet another notch. 

The tablet touts 600-nit screen brightness, a wide color gamut, ultra low reflectivity and HDR video support – the first iPad to feature this technology.

The iPad Pro 2 also supports a 120hz refresh rate, meaning it should prove a first-class device for watching films, playing games or just browsing the web. 

Plus, it makes using the Apple Pencil a more fluid experience thanks to the lower latency.

In short then, the displays on the new iPad Pro 2 tablets have been improved in a number of ways over the original iPad Pro duo.

With a resolution of 2224 x 1668 the screen on the new iPad Pro 2 10.5 gives you a pixel density of 264ppi – which is the same as its predecessors and its larger brother.

OS and power

While the iPad Pro 2 tablets were launched at the same event as Apple's new mobile platform, iOS 11, they actually arrive running iOS 10.

That's because you can buy the tablets right now, while iOS 11 won't be out until the Fall – when a free update will land on the new iPad Pro 2 slates and the old versions as well.

This means that the new devices are on exactly the same software version as their predecessors – iOS 10.3.

The iPad Pro 2 tablets feature new and more powerful hardware, coming with an Apple A10X Fusion chipset that packs a whopping six-core CPU. 

The platform consists of three high-performance cores and another three aimed at power optimization, with Apple reckoning the iPad Pro 2 should see a 40% improvement in performance as a result.

There are no details on RAM just yet, although we expect the iPad Pro 2 to feature the same 4GB as the 12.9-inch iPad Pro rather than the 2GB in the 9.7-inch version. 

Both previous iPad Pro models feature Apple's 64-bit A9X chip with an integrated M9 motion coprocessor.

Camera

Both the iPad Pro 2 10.5 and Pro 2 12.9 feature the same 12MP camera, six-element lens that you find on the iPhone 7

That's an upgrade on the 8MP lens you got on the original 12.9-inch slate, and the 12MP five-element offering on the 9.7-inch model. 

This will help the iPad Pro 2 capture clearer images – although quite why you'd want to take photos on a tablet in the first place is another matter entirely.

Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), TrueTone flash, f/1.8 aperture and 4K video capture can also be found on board the new slates. 

Round the front and the iPad Pro 2 pair get another camera bump, again borrowing the 7MP lens from the front of the iPhone 7 – a marked improvement on the 1.2MP camera on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and 5MP offering on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

Battery and additional features

Apple doesn’t like to divulge details about the batteries in its devices, but it claims the iPad Pro 2 couple will plod along for up to 10 hours on a single charge, which is the same figure given for its older iPad Pro models. 

As for extra goodies, the iPad Pro 2 receives fast charging, which does exactly what it says on the tin and should translate into less time hanging around your power outlet. 

We can also expect new iPad cases, as well as a fancy leather sleeve for the Apple Pencil stylus.

Summary

There’s nothing particularly revolutionary about the new iPad Pro 2 tablets, although this is much as we expected. 

Instead, Apple has made a series of refinements to its already-solid tablet range that makes its latest devices sleeker, more powerful and more adept that their predecessors.

The upgraded front camera will please FaceTime users, and fast-charging tech – an area where Apple is somewhat lagging compared to its Android rivals – is great news for power users. 

However, some of the most exciting changes are likely to rear their head in iOS 11 when it arrives later this year, bringing with it a bunch of tablet-friendly features to Apple’s mobile operating system.

The new iPad Pro 2 tablets certainly looks the part, and they could reignite consumers’ hunger for tablets if they manage to hit all the right buttons while proving worthy of the price tag.

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