The 2018 iPad Pro Buying Guide: iPad Pro 11 vs. 12.9 vs. 10.5
The new iPad Pros are out! Apple just launched their latest generation of iPad Pros. Which one is the best fit for you? Which iPad is better? The iPad Pro 11 or 12.9 or last year's 10.5? If you visit their shop, you'll notice there a lot of options. Then, options for the options within those options...yikes. It's hard to parse, and full of industry jargon. You ought to be enthralled by your Apple ecosystem, so we decided to break it all down and help you decide which is the best iPad Pro for you!
Why Should I Get a New iPad Pro?
There's no doubt about it, this year's generation of Pros has a much steeper buy-in. Apple rolled out their highest price tag along with their new tablets. Between that, and Apple Care, memory capability, keyboards, cases, and Apple Pencil 2, the Pros aren't economical by any sense of the word.
So, is it worth upgrading? Yes. Just like the X changed everything about the iPhone, the Pros' new design and features are here to stay. The USB-C capability means that it'll charge up 50% faster than it's predecessors and can output onto 5k resolution screens. Similar to their cousin, the iPhone, the Pros feature Face-ID. Yet, unlike the X, the iPad Pro 11 and 12.9 are notch-less and can support unlocking in landscape and portrait mode. The full-screen display and beveled edges display every gorgeous pixel and make it a delight to use.
Magnetic charging/pairing of the Apple Pencil place the newest iPads into a league of their own. The A12X chip multitasks like a dream and can handle anything you throw at it, its the fastest processor found in a tablet, ever. Pair the Pro with a keyboard and you've got one of the most powerful, lightweight computers on the market. This launch is an evolutionary branch off and will inform future generations of tech, don't get left behind.
The iPad Pro 11 vs. iPad Pro 12.9 3rd Generation
The most obvious difference between the iPad Pro 11 and 12.9 is the screen size. Apple measures on the diagonal, so the terms "11" and "12.9" stem from their corner to corner measurement. A very keen eye may notice that the actual resolution of the screen varies a little, but the display comes in at 264 ppi (pixels per inch) on both devices. The disconnect between resolution and pixel amount boils down to the screen size difference. The Liquid Retina display, layout, and memory options are the same.
Of course, the bodies of the iPads are different too. The 11 in. Pro is about 2 inches shorter than it's sibling. Also, the 12.9 is a bit heavier and wider than the 11. Surprisingly, they are both less than a quarter of an inch thick. The guts of the two machines are the same, both have an A12X Bionic chip, the same camera, and support the same accessories.
Is Cellular Worth Getting for My New iPad Pro?
Honestly, the final call is up to you. For a casual user looking to use the new tablet for things like Netflix, recipes, and games, we say skip the cellular. The storage on the Pros starts at 64 gbs, and soars up to a terabyte of memory. Games, podcasts, and movies can be downloaded in advance of trips and outings.
If the iPad Pro is going to be your main work computer, springing for cellular might save you from awkwardly ducking into a Starbucks to send important emails. We recommend checking with your current cell-phone carrier what they offer for an iPad Pro cellular plan. Feel free to shop around and peruse. Lastly, if you've got unlimited hotspot capabilities from your current plan, we suggest opting for a Wifi only iPad Pro. You can simply hotspot your phone and surf, chat, and work on your iPad Pro.
If you're caught somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, we strongly recommend getting the Wifi + Cellular Pro. It costs a bit more now, but you don't have to activate a data plan right away. Your iPad Pro is going to be an investment, and the decision is worth getting right the first time around.
The New iPad Pros vs. Old iPad Pros
When considering an upgrade from a 10.5 or 2nd generation iPad Pro, there are a few key differences. Last years' devices are significantly chunkier. They have about an inch of screen lost to the border that holds the Touch ID and front-facing camera. The 11's body is very similar in size the 10.5 but is edge-to-edge. Also, if you're considering moving up from a first or second generation 12.9, you ought to know the footprint of the 3rd generation is much smaller. The newest 12.9 has outgrown its gawky phase and its sleek design no longer feels like you're working on an unwieldy dinner plate. Upgrading again is tough, to ease the sting of shelling out for a new iPad Pro, Apple has begun their GiveBack program. It allows you to turn in your current tablet and earn up to hundreds of dollars in credit towards a new device. Many companies and schools also have discounts and deals at Apple, so ask around and it might save you a significant chunk of change!
No matter which generation you get, the iPad Pro is incredibly fast. If you're okay with a minor step back in time, then the iPad Pro 10.5 and 12.9 second gen are still perfectly adequate. Their chip is slightly slower, and components about a year and a half old out of the gate, but that doesn't stop them from being incredible. They still support iOS12 along with multitasking apps with a remarkable battery life. Plus, the transition from Touch ID to Face ID has a steep bell curve. If you've never had an iPad, Pro or otherwise, we'd suggest going with the newest ones. However, if you're looking to move up from a Mini, you can totally opt for an older model of the Pro, it's going to be quite the jump.
Which Accessories Should I get for My iPad Pro?
Make sure you know which device you've got, before shopping around for accessories. PCWorld made a great guide on how to use your model number to see which iPad you have. Essentially, look under your settings (or on the back of the physical iPad) and look for the model number. Then, google your model number and it will help confirm which iPad you have. Apple has made a very helpful tutorial in how to tell which iPad you have by sight. Now that you're armed with info, it's time to shop!
The Apple Pencil 1 won't work with the newer generations, and Apple Pencil 2 won't work with older iterations. So, a new iPad Pro will need a new Pencil. It's incredibly handy to have for sketching, note taking, and editing but your individual workload will decide your need for the Pencil. Creative work is intended to be woven with the Pencil, and photo editors, students, and illustrators will especially benefit from it. If you rarely ever take hand-written notes or sketches, feel free to skip this one.
The Smart Keyboard Folio is in a similar vein of the Apple Pencil. If your workflow will demand it, then pick one up. Not totally sold on it? You can always pick one up later, the Folio can wait. Most don't have a need for an external keyboard and use the touchscreen for typing. Another drawback to the Folio, it doesn't give the iPad itself much protection. The buttons, edges, and glass are all at risk of damage inside the Folio. If you need one, ideal combination is iPad Pro + Keyboard Folio + a protective case for demanding workflows.
Which Case Should I Get for the New iPad Pros?
No matter what kind of user you are, you need a case. Apple calls the iPad Pros "all-powerful", but they are also all-breakable. Your investment, work, and memories are encased in glass and aluminum, which are incredibly fragile. iPad Pros require a case that can keep up with them, one with a complimentary design.
On average, people are spending about $1,500 on their Pros and Pro setups. For less than 1/10th of that cost, the Oxford Leather iPad Pro Case (pictured above) protects the iPad Pro with luxurious leather cover. It is fully compatible with all the other accessories from Apple. We partnered with 3M to create a secure, reusable, clean release adhesive to ensure the safety of the iPad while preserving its functionality. When you're all set to head out, the Moleskin elastic holds it all together, the iPad, Apple Pencil, Folio, with room to spare. Plus, we back it up for the next 25-years with our extensive warranty.
Another fantastic option is the Contega Thin, an archival quality linen iPad Pro Case. The iPad Pro is shaping this generations scholars and academics, so we designed a case based off of vintage hardback books. We aren't ones to settle for mediocrity, and we got the very best linen available. Our durable Buckram linen is sourced from the same place the Library of Congress gets their linen. Then, we outfitted the case with a soft-grip lining so that the iPad body/Folio has a secure place to rest. Both cases offer the Pro incredible rugged protection. Learn why ours are the best cases for the iPad Pro 11 & 12.9. Early adopters rejoice, our lineup for iPad Pro cases are available for order today!
What does your current iPad setup look like? Will you be picking up the full suite of iPad Pro accessories or picking and choosing? Let us know down below!