Apple has been on a sophisticated journey of revolutionising the technology industry, and one of the ways it’s doing that is by developing an efficient replacement for the laptops and PC’s of today. Gathering from the recent launch of the company’s next-generation iPad which includes a more compact variant of last year’s iPad Pro, dubbed as the iPad Pro 9.7-inch, we could say that Apple is already a step closer to its objective. What improvements does the newest member of the iPad family offer when compared to its siblings, the iPad Pro 12.9-inch and the iPad Air 2? Let’s find out.
Display and design
Talking about the design language, the iPad Pro 9.7-inch doesn’t fall far behind the iPad Pro 12.9-inch, with the only noticeable change being the condensed size and the protruding camera module on the former. However, when compared to the iPad Air 2, more than few changes surface. The two Pro models feature four speaker grills, placed on each corner of the device aiming at providing a more immersive experience while consuming media. This layout is absent in the iPad Air 2. All three models get Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor, integrated into the home button.
Talking about the display, the iPad Pro 9.7-inch and iPad Air 2 utilise a 1,536 x 2,048 resolution panel, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro houses a 2,048 x 2,732 resolution display. The iPad Pro 9.7-inch also gets a wider colour gamut and the new True Tone display technology which dynamically adjusts white balance. Additionally, both the iPad Pro models come with Apple Pencil support, making them ideal for artists and graphic designers.
Generally, tablets have lacked a decent camera module but Apple has been a step ahead in this department. The iPad Air 2 and the iPad Pro 12.9-inch have certainly carried the trend forward with their respective 8MP f/2.4 rear facing shooters, but the iPad Pro 9.7 leaves all that in the dust with an enhanced 12MP f/2.2 camera module, the same one seen in the iPhone 6s. The camera also comes with a True Tone flash, Live Photos, Focus Pixels, Auto HDR and 4K video recording. The front FaceTime camera on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is similarly upgraded to 5MP with Retina Flash, compared to the 1.2MP snapper on the other two models.
Performance and user experience has always been the crème de la crème for iOS devices and the iPads being referred to here are no different. Both the iPad Pro models feature the all-powerful Apple A9X dual-core processor and M9 co-processor, which Apple says offers around 1.8 times faster CPU performance compared to the A8X chipset and M8 co-processor housed in the iPad Air 2. It’s also worth noting that the iPad Pro 12.9-inch model offers a higher clock speed of 2.26GHz, compared to 2.16GHz on the 9.7-inch variant. In terms of memory, both the iPad Pro 9.7-inch and iPad Air 2 offer 2GB of RAM, while the iPad Pro 12.9-inch bumps that figure up to 4GB. All three iPads run iOS 9, and are upgradable to iOS 9.3.
Battery and storage
Coming to the storage options, the iPad Pro 9.7-inch offers a choice of 32GB/128GB/256GB variants on both WiFi and WiFi + cellular models, while the iPad Pro offers 32GB/128GB/256GB options on the WiFi only model and 128GB/256GB options for WiFi + cellular model. The iPad Air 2 moves down a level with just 16GB/64GB options for both WiFi only and WiFi + cellular models.
In terms of battery, the iPad Pro 9.7-inch has a built-in 27.5Wh battery while the iPad Pro 12.9-inch houses a 38.5Wh unit, both larger than the 27.3Wh battery found in the iPad Air 2. Despite the varying battery sizes, Apple has maintained that all three tablets offer up to 10 hours of mixed usage on Wi-Fi, and 9 hours on cellular data.
Price and availability
And iPad Pro are easily available through online shopping websites and retail stores while the iPad Pro 9.7 will be dropping later in April for consumers to lay their hands on. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro starts at Rs 49,900 for the base variant, while the 12.9-inch model gets a starting price of around Rs 66,999. The older iPad Air 2 starts at a more affordable Rs 34,000. All three iPads come in Silver, Space Grey and Gold hues, with the 9.7-inch iPad available in an additional Rose Gold colour option as well.