In 2018 redesigned the iPad Pro lineup with a completely redesigned 12.9-inch tablet and an 11-inch tablet.
These have been refreshed (March 2020) although the physical dimensions remain the same. So the question is should you upgrade to the latest versions from the 2018 models. Or, if you haven't got a new-design iPad Pro yet, is it worth getting a 2018 one while you still can?
Let's compare the two.
What's stayed the same?
- Physical dimensions identical
- Screen remains the same spec as before
- Apple Pencil and USB-C support also unchanged
The physical dimensions of the two devices have stayed the same, so the 11-incher is 248 x 179 x 6mm and the 12-inch is 281 x 215 x 6mm.
The devices also retain the same Liquid Retina displays - 2732 x 2048, 264ppi in the 12.9-inch and 2388 x 1668, 264ppi in the 11-inch. Once again they feature True Tone and ProMotion technology on board, as well as a P3 wide colour gamut.
Face ID is used across the board and as part of that, the front-facing 7MP TrueDepth camera also remains identical. Once again, the Lightning connector has been switched out in favour of USB-C.
Each iPad Pro from 2018 and 2020 is also compatible with the second generation of Apple Pencil, which connects magnetically to the tablet and charges wirelessly when attached.
All the tablets are available in Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi and LTE models.
Both the new iPad Pro and the old iPad Pro run iPadOS 13 which is set to be upgraded to iPadOS 14 in the coming months.
- Weight up fro 633g to 641g (12.9-inch) and 461 to 471g (11-inch)
The 2018 model reduced the bezels surrounding the display, offering the same-size display but in a much smaller footprint compared to the previous model. That's the same in this model as we discussed, as is the support for Face ID.
But there is a little more weight in this model, presumably mostly because of the new camera hardware.
Hardware and specifications
- iPad Pro (2020): A12Z Bionic, Face ID, 64GB upgraded to 128GB, also 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
- iPad Pro (2018): A12X Bionic, Face ID, 64GB storage option, also 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
The Apple iPad Pro 2018 runs on the A12X Bionic chip with embedded M12 coprocessor and a Neural Engine, while the newer iPad Pro has an upgraded A12Z Fusion chip.
Storage options for the 2018 models comprised 64GB, 256GB and 512GB options but the 20iPad Pro range comes in a 128GB option instead of 64GB, with the smaller capacity now discontinued.
Both offer up to 10 hours of battery life for watching video, surfing the web on Wi-Fi or listening to music.
- iPad Pro (2020): rear: 12MP ƒ/1.8 wide, 10MP ultrawide, f/2.4 aperture, 7MP front
- iPad Pro (2018): 12MP rear, f/1.8 aperture, 7MP front
The camera setup on the 2020 iPad Pro has been given a large upgrade over the previous version and it's probably the key change versus the older models. Now you get a wide and ultra wide lens with 125-degree field-of-view. The True Tone flash is also now brighter.
Finally, there's a LiDAR Scanner as part of the rear camera setup. It's intended for better accuracy in augmented reality apps and we'll probably see it come to the iPhone 12 Pro in September, too. It'll be of most use for those developing AR apps using Apple's ARKit.
iPad Pro starts at $999 in the US for the Wi-Fi model or £969 in the UK, and $1149/£1119 for the Wi-Fi and Cellular model. The 1TB models cost £1,719 and £1,868 respectively, while the 512GB model, for comparison sake, cost £1,319 or £1,469.
The 11-inch models start at $799 or £769 for the 128GB Wi-Fi model and $949/£919 for the Wi-Fi and Cellular model.
The new iPad Pro series are great tablets, but they aren't worth upgrading from the 2018 versions. If you have an earlier version though, they do make a lot of sense thanks to the much-better design, Face ID and generally snappier performance.