iPad Pro 10.5-inch vs iPad Pro 9.7-inch: What’s the difference?

iPad Pro 10.5 vs iPad Pro 9.7: Apple’s just launched a new iPad Pro, but what’s the difference between this new tablet and the old version? Here’s all you need to know.

At WWDC this year, Apple took the opportunity to launch its new iPad Pro. The new version, arriving alongside a refresh for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro tablet, comes in 10.5-inch form, and packs a load of new hardware and software features.

What’s more, it seems to have taken the place of the previous 9.7-inch version of the iPad Pro. So what’s changed? Here’s all you need to know.

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10.5-inch iPad Pro vs 9.7-inch iPad Pro – Design

You’ll find the bezel is thinner on the sides of the new iPad, which means the larger screen fits onto a compact body akin to that of the 9.7-inch tablet. That also keeps the weight down at 469g – which is lightweight but still slightly heavier than the 437g of the 9.7-inch tablet.

Apple is also now able to show a full-size keyboard on the 10.5-inch tablet’s screen and both tablets come in Space Gray, Rose Gold, Gold, Silver colour options.

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There are two sets of speakers, on both the top and bottom of the two devices, and both come with the smart connector that pairs the tablet with the Smart Keyboard. You’ll also find a headphone port on both and charging is handled via the built-in Lightning connector.

Overall, then, there’s very little design difference between the two tablets. And while one is larger, the thickness remains the same at 6.1mm.

10.5-inch iPad Pro vs 9.7-inch iPad Pro – Hardware and features

When it comes to the two tablets’ hardware, you should notice a significant difference in performance. That’s because Apple has added the A10X Fusion chip to the new iPad Pro model, which means you’re getting a six-core CPU that includes a 12-core GPU. In practice that results in 30% faster performance over the A9X chip powering the 9.7-inch model, and 40% better graphical performance.

It seems a lot of that processing power will be used to run Apple’s new ProMotion technology – display tech that’s included on the 10.5-inch model which doubles the maximum refresh rate of the previous version. That means you’ll be able to get up to 120Hz, making on-screen movements look incredibly slick.

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ProMotion tech also means the Apple Pencil, which will work on both models, is now more responsive on the 10.5-inch Pro, with latency down to 20ms. You should also notice some battery life improvements with the ProMotion tech, as it will dynamically adjust the refresh rate depending on what you’re looking at. That said, the claimed battery life on both models remains at 10 hours.

So, what are the other differences when it comes to the display? Well, Apple is claiming the new version of the tablet comes with the brightest iPad display yet. True Tone tech comes onboard both the 10.5-inch and 9.7-inch versions, so both will dynamically adjust the white balance of the display depending on your surroundings. On the 10.5-inch model, though, you get a 2224 x1668 resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi), while the 9.7-inch version comes with a 2048 x 1536 resolution at 264ppi.

The other major difference here is storage. Apple has upped the starting storage on the 10.5-inch model to 64GB with 256 and 512GB options also available. The 9.7-inch slate, on the other hand, only offers either 32, 128 or 256GB.

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And there’s also been improvements in the camera department. The new iPad Pro model comes with the same 12-megapixel OIS-enabled camera as the iPhone 7. You can capture and edit 4K video. And while the 9.7-inch tablet also has a 12-megapixel sensor, its f/2.2 aperture doesn’t match the f/1.8 aperture on the newer model, and you won’t benefit from OIS. The front-facing camera on the 10.5-inch model has also been upgraded to a 7-megapixel sensor with 1080p HD video recording, as opposed to the 5-megapixel offering on the 9.7-inch tablet.

Software-wise you’ll be getting iOS 10 on both devices, but as soon as iOS 11 arrives, you should be able to upgrade on both devices.

Here’s a comparison of the two tablets’ specs:

10.5-inch iPad Pro 9.7-inch iPad Pro
Screen 10.5 inch Retina 9.7-inch Retina
Display Resolution 2224 x 1668 (264ppi) 1536 x 2048 (264ppi)
Aspect Ratio 16:9 16:9
Primary Camera 12MP 12MP
Secondary Camera 7MP 5MP
Chipset Apple A10X Apple A9X
RAM N/A 2GB
Storage 64/256/512GB 32/128/256GB
Battery 10 hours 10 hours
Fingerprint Scanner? Yes Yes
Headphone Jack? Yes Yes
Primary Port Lightning Lightning
Iris Scanner? No No
Wireless Charging? No No
Dimensions 250.6 x 174.1 x 6.1mm 240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm
Weight 477g 437g
Software iOS 10 iOS 10

10.5-inch iPad Pro vs 9.7-inch iPad Pro – Price and availability

You can pick up the 10.5-inch model right now, with the tablet starting at £619/$649. That will get you 64GB of internal storage and Wi-Fi without LTE connectivity. If you want the 256GB memory it goes up to £709/$749, and the 512GB option goes for £889/$949.

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Unfortunately, it looks like Apple has discontinued the 9.7-inch tablet. The company is currently selling a refurbished 32GB 9.7-inch iPad Pro for £439, but you won’t be picking up a new model any time soon.

10.5-inch iPad Pro vs 9.7-inch iPad Pro – Summary

Design: Not much beyond the size of these two tablets separates them. They’re the same size, have the same ports, and overall, look very similar.

Hardware: Apple’s newer tablet is said to be 30% faster and packs 40% better graphical performance than the 9.7-inch tablet. That’s thanks to Apple’s A10X processor, which is a big improvement over the A9X in the 9.7-inch slate.

Price: Apple’s discontinued the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, but refurbished models are going fro around £440. The 10.5-inch model, on the other hand, starts at £619 for the base configuration, and goes up to £889.

At this point it’s hard to say whether it’s worth the upgrade. We’re yet to test out the 10.5-inch model, but on paper it’s definitely a more capable tablet. Whether you need the extra processing power the A10X chip brings will depend on what you want to do with the device, but it certainly looks as if the 10.5-inch model has the edge.

Let us know what you think of the new iPad Pro in the comments