Review: Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Second Generation), 10.5-inch iPad Pro | iLounge

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Review: Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Second Generation), 10.5-inch iPad Pro

A-
Highly Recommended

Company: Apple

Model: iPad Pro

Price: $649 – $1,229

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Jesse Hollington

Pros: Apple’s latest pair of iPad Pro models are now on par with one another, with the new larger iPad Pro gaining the True Tone display, significant camera improvements with flash, and “Hey Siri” support, while the smaller iPad Pro gets a 10.5” screen upgrade, along with 4GB of RAM, USB 3.0 support, faster USB-C charging, and now includes a 12W power supply. New “ProMotion” display technology in both models doubles the refresh rate to 120Hz, improving scrolling and Apple Pencil performance. Both models catch up with Apple’s latest technology, sporting both front and rear cameras equivalent to the iPhone 7 and an A10X processor that provides a significant performance boost over both prior models. Battery life remains exceptional, and a new 512GB model provides for the highest storage capacity of any iOS device to date. Both models continue to be compatible with the current Apple Pencil and existing Smart Connector accessories.

Cons: The 12.9” model is still a behemoth by iPad standards, making it more suitable as a tabletop or laptop device. Despite the reduced bezels, the 10.5” model is still slightly larger than the 9.7” model, limiting case options. 3D Touch support still remains absent on both models.

The new iPad Pro models get a healthy CPU upgrade to the A10X Fusion chip with embedded M10 coprocessor. This is basically an expanded version of the A10 Fusion CPU found in the iPhone and iPhone 7 Plus, adding two extra cores — one performance core, and one efficiency core — as well as increasing the GPU to 12 cores from the six-core A10 GPU. Apple promises a CPU performance increase of 30 percent and a GPU increase of 40 percent over the A9X found in the prior-generation models. Both models also now pack in 4GB of RAM, doubling the memory found in the 9.7” iPad Pro.

With both models sporting the same CPU/GPU and RAM specs, Geekbench scores came out pretty much on par for each, showing about a 30 percent increase in single-core performance and a 90 percent increase in multi-core performance. Geekbench’s GPU test showed a Metal score increase of 75% over the earlier A9X-equipped iPad Pro models.

While these results are certainly impressive, they represent a performance boost that will likely only be of any real interest to hardcore iPad gamers or pro users who are working with higher-end video and photo editing and rendering apps. In practical daily use, it makes no difference to the speed at which the iPad Pro starts up, nor to the speed at which most apps launch. Of course, unlike the fifth-generation iPad released earlier this year, we think it’s fair to say that both iPad Pro models are targeted primarily at an audience who will appreciate these kind of performance increases — not to mention the developers who will build apps that can take advantage of this kind of power.

As an aside, the 12.9” iPad Pro also gains support for always-on “Hey Siri” — a feature that was included in the 2016 9.7” iPad Pro that we found an odd omission from the earlier 12.9” model, since there didn’t seem to be any limitations on specs that would account for that difference — both iPad Pro models used the same A9X processor and M9 coprocessor, the latter of which Apple advertised as a key component for efficiently implementing this feature. Of course, at this point it would be more surprising for the new iPad Pro to not support it, but its conspicuous absence from the first-generation 12.9” model makes the fact that it’s included worth mentioning.

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Editors' Note: iLounge only reviews products in "final" form, but many companies now change their offerings - sometimes several times - after our reviews have been published. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.

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