Why I chose the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro over the 10.5-inch model

The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro is the current darling of the Apple tablet line-up and my Apple World Today compadre, Steve Sande, loves it. However, I’ve gone with the revamped 12.9-inch version.

Why? Up to now, I’ve not found the iPad Pro to be a suitable laptop replacement, despite what CEO Tim Cook may think. However, with iOS 11, I feel this may change. If so, I want my new “laptop” to have as much screen real estate as possible.

Most of my work is done on a new 27-inch iMac — which is, BTW, the best Mac ever — but sometimes I do need to conduct my AWT editorial duties when traveling. Not a great deal of the time, but enough that I’ve always needed a Mac laptop. We’ll see if that changes when iOS rolls out this fall.

Even if that proves not to be the case, I remain a big fan of the big iPad. I use it as my Bible, my comic book reader thanks to Comixology, as a secondary display for my iMac thanks to Duet Display, my device to surf the web/check email when I’m away from my iMac, and sometime to watch movies.


The screen of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is simply gorgeous with its 2732 x 2048 resolution. And it’s even better with the second generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro thanks to the addition of TrueTone technology. True Tone automatically changes the White Point and color balance of the display based on real-time measurements of the ambient light falling on the screen. 

And those speakers! The iPad Pro has four speakers — two on “top,” and two on “bottom” — which make the speakers on 12-inch MacBook sound wimpy. Apple’s stereo separation feature works seamlessly, too, properly switching the “left” and “right” channels over to the correct speakers as you rotate the iPad Pro around.

The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro is incredibly powerful. The new 64-bit A10X Fusion chip provides performance that’s faster than most PC laptops, which makes complex tasks like editing photos and 4K video, rendering 3D images or playing games buttery smooth. A six-core CPU and 12-core GPU deliver up to 30% faster CPU performance and 40% faster graphics performance than the previous A9X chip, while still offering 10 hours of battery life.

Plus, you can now get the super-sized iPad with up to 500GB of memory whereas the previous limit was 128GB. That’s laptop sized storage, folks.

However, the most impressive thing about the updated table is probably ProMotion. The Retina display in the new iPad Pros — both 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch versions — boasts this new technology that delivers refresh rates of up to 120Hz for fluid scrolling, greater responsiveness and smoother motion content. With ProMotion, the Apple Pencil is even more responsive with 20-millisecond latency, which results in more fluid and natural drawing. ProMotion also improves display quality and reduces power consumption by automatically adjusting the display refresh rate to match the movement of the content.

ProMotion basically cuts the latency on the Apple Pencil in half, which makes the already-impressive drawing experience even better. Scrolling and interacting with items is faster, which will be especially important when the Files app, drag and drop and better multi-tasking coming to iOS 11 this fall. 

Unlike most TVs, ProMotion adjusts screen refresh rates automatically, which most TVs don’t do. The new iPad Pro screens can dynamically adjust from 120Hz to as little as 24Hz, depending on how you're interacting with the display.

For example, as noted by iMore, if you play a movie, your ProMotion-equipped iPad doubles, quadruples, or quintuples each frame so that content looks smooth. And because 24 is a multiple of 120, Apple can do this without any need for the messiness of a 3:2 pulldown. Look for ProMotion to come to the iMac and new Apple displays in 2018.

With all these improvements, upgrading to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro was a no-brainer for me. And if iOS offers the advantages I think it will, the tablet may finally become sidekick to my iMac I always hoped it would be.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is available in silver, space gray and gold and starts at $799 for the 64GB Wi-Fi model and $929 (US) for the 64GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model. (I went with the space grey, 500GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model because if I’m going to use it as a laptop, I want the high-end model. I’ll let you know how that pans out when iOS 11 ships.)