Apple unveiled several new devices at WWDC 2017, one of which was an update in specs to the iPad Pro 12.9, while another was a slightly redesigned and upgraded successor to the iPad Pro 9.7.
We have put the specs of the new, larger, iPad Pro 10.5 against the older iPad Pro 9.7 to see what the differences are and what changes have been made. Should you upgrade your 9.7-inch iPad Pro to the 10.5-incher? And which should you opt for if you’re choosing between the two smaller iPad Pros?
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 vs iPad Pro 9.7: Design
- iPad Pro 10.5 is larger and heavier
- Both come in additional rose gold colour
- Both offer four-speaker setup and Smart Connector
The Apple iPad Pro 9.7 measures 240 x 169.6 x 6.1mm and weighs 437g, which is identical to the older iPad Air 2. It comes in four colours, features Touch ID within the Home button and it is a thin, light, well-proportioned and well-balanced tablet.
The Apple iPad Pro 10.5 on the other hand, is a little larger and heavier than its predecessor, measuring 250.6 x 174.1 x 6.1mm and weighing 469g. It too comes in four colours, comprising space grey, silver, gold and rose gold, and it features the same design as the model it replaces only with a 40 per cent reduction in the bezels around the display.
Both the Apple iPad Pro 9.7 and the iPad Pro 10.5 feature a four-speaker setup, a Smart Connector on the rear and compatibility with the Apple Pencil and Apple Smart Keyboard for working on the move.
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 vs iPad Pro 9.7: Display
- iPad Pro 10.5 has 20 per cent larger display
- Brighter, less reflective display on iPad Pro 10.5
- Support for higher refresh rate of 120Hz on iPad Pro 10.5
The Apple iPad Pro 9.7 and iPad Pro 10.5 both sit in the middle of the iPad line up when it comes to size. The older model has a 9.7-inch display, while the newer model opts for a 20 per cent larger 10.5-inch display, meaning both are sandwiched between the 7.9-inch screen of the iPad mini and the 12.9-inch size of the larger iPad Pro.
The iPad Pro 9.7 has a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels, while the iPad Pro 10.5 has a 2224 x 1668 resolution, resulting in the same pixel densities of 264ppi. The two devices also offer Apple’s True Tone display, adapting the colour and intensity of the display to match the light in your environment, while a fingerprint-resistant and anti-reflective coating is also present and a P3 wide colour gamut.
The iPad Pro 10.5 doesn’t stop there though. Apple claims it offers the most advanced display in the world and it is said to be brighter, less reflective and more responsive thanks to the support for the faster 120Hz refresh rate. This means that while the iPad Pro 9.7’s screen is excellent, the 10.5-inch device is likely to offer noticeable improvements, especially in terms of a smoother and more fluid experience from both your finger and Apple Pencil.
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 vs iPad Pro 9.7: Camera
- iPad Pro 10.5 has improved front and rear cameras
- Flash available for front and rear on both
- Both capable of recording 4K video from rear
The iPad Pro 9.7 offers the same cameras as the iPhone 6S. There is a 12-megapixel rear sensor capable of 4K video recording and a 5-megapixel front-facing snapper. A True Tone flash is also present on the rear and a Retina flash is featured on the front, again like the iPhone 6S.
The iPad Pro 10.5 on the other hand, features the same cameras as the iPhone 7, meaning improvements over the iPad Pro 9.7. A 12-megapixel rear sensor is still present but advancements have been made. It offers a Quad-LED True Tone flash, f/1.8 aperture and optical image stabilisation to name but a few.
On the front, the resolution sees a bump to 7-megapixels on the iPad Pro 10.5, though like the iPad Pro 9.7, a Retina Flash is present again. It is capable of 1080p video recording however, while the iPad Pro 9.7 tops out at 720p.
Regardless of what you think about using an iPad as a camera, the iPad Pro 9.7 is a great performer so the iPad Pro 10.5 is likely to be even better.
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 vs iPad Pro 9.7: Hardware
- More storage options with iPad Pro 10.5
- Faster processor with iPad Pro 10.5
- Same sound capabilities on both models
The Apple iPad Pro 9.7 features the A9X chip with M9 motion coprocessor under its hood and when it launched, it was as quick and fast as tablets came. Storage options comprise 32GB, 128GB and 256GB, for both Wi-Fi and Cellular and there is no microSD support, as is the case with all Apple devices.
The iPad Pro 10.5 upgrades these specs though, as you would expect. It comes with the A10X Fusion processor with M10 motion coprocessor and Apple has said it will be 30 per cent faster in performance and 40 per cent faster in graphics than its smaller predecessor. Storage options are also different, with the 10.5-incher offered in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB variants.
Both the iPad Pro 9.7 and the iPad Pro 10.5 are said to offer up to 10 hours of battery life and they both offer that four-speaker setup meaning a more rounded sound compared to the slightly tinny audio produced by the much older Air 2.
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 vs iPad Pro 9.7: Software
- Both run iOS 10
Both the Apple iPad Pro 9.7 and the iPad Pro 10.5 run on iOS 10, meaning the software experience will be almost identical across these two models until iOS 11 launches in September.
We are presuming all the new and exciting features announced for iOS 11, such as Drag and Drop, easier split-screen functionality and the Files system will come to both the iPad Pro 9.7 and the iPad Pro 10.5. It’s worth mentioning that because of the faster refresh rate on the new model, the experience is likely to be smoother and quicker than on the older model however so bear that in mind.
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 vs iPad Pro 9.7: Price
- iPad Pro 9.7 is around £80/$120 cheaper
- iPad Pro 9.7 discontinued from Apple
The Apple iPad Pro 9.7 had a starting price of £549/$823.5 stretching to £849/$1273.5 for the highest storage capacity and Wi-Fi and Cellular when it first arrived. It has since been discontinued from Apple, though it can still be bought on other sites, such as Amazon, for around £535/$802.5.
The iPad Pro 10.5 is more expensive, starting at £619/$928.5 and hitting £1019/$1528.5 for the largest storage capacity and Wi-Fi and Cellular. Remember that the highest storage capacity is double that of the iPad Pro 9.7, hence the huge price difference at the top end.
Apple iPad Pro 10.5 vs iPad Pro 9.7: Conclusion
The iPad Pro 9.7-inch is an excellent tablet that brought a number of improvements over the Air 2 including sound, Apple Pencil compatibility, camera and processing power. When it launched, it was Apple’s highest-specced tablet yet, though it did come at a price and now the same applies to the iPad Pro 10.5.
The succeeding model offers a bump in hardware, a bump in storage, but more perhaps more importantly, big advancements in display. The bezels have been reduced resulting in a larger screen size without too much of an increase in footprint, while the support for the faster refresh rate should make a big difference to overall experience.
If you’re in the market for an iPad and you’re choosing between these two devices, the 10.5-inch model is a no brainer. If you’re considering upgrading from the iPad Pro 9.7 to the iPad Pro 10.5, you are likely to notice a difference in both performance and display experience but whether you think they warrant the splurge is your call to make.