Should you get a 9.7-inch or 12.9-inch iPad Pro?

The iPad Pro is the most powerful iPad ever, but is it the perfect iPad for you?

There's never been an iPad like the iPad Pro. It comes in a bigger-than-ever 12.9-inch size and a newer-than-ever 9.7-inch size. Both have powerful, laptop-class A9X chipsets, smart connectors for keyboards, and support for Apple Pencil, arguably the best digital tool on the market today.

But is iPad Pro for you?

Big and bigger displays

Both iPads Pro have some of the most advanced displays Apple has ever shipped. They include custom timing controllers to ramp up the refresh rate for Apple Pencil, but also more. The 12.9-inch model has a 2732x2048 laminated Retina display. The 9.7-inch model has a 2048x1536 laminated Retina display.

The 9.7-inch version also supports the wider DCI-P3 gamut, same as digital movie theaters, for exceptionally vivid and accurate colors, especially in the magentas and reds. It's also 25% brighter and 40% less reflective. Perhaps even more impressively, it's True Tone technology uses two four-channel ambient light sensors to read the color temperature of the room and ensure the display matches it, making whites look really white.

  • For photography, reading, and more, there's never been a better display than the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
  • For art, productivity, and more, there's never been a bigger display than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Apple A9X chipset

Apple's A9X processor is ludicrously powerful. The 12.9-inch version includes 4 GB of memory to help push around all those extra pixels. The 9.7-inch version, 2 GB. Both can handle up to three streams of 4K video at a time, manipulate complex 3D models, and game in a way that makes some consoles jealous.

  • If you want to get a previously impossible kind of work—or kind of play—done, you want an iPad Pro.

Apple Pencil

People have been making stylus pens for the iPad for years, even ones that tried to emulate pressure sensitivity through clever use of Bluetooth and code. Apple Pencil, however, delivers real pressure sensitivity. It also plugs right into the Lightning port to charge, in case you run out of juice at a coffee shop or park bench.

Thanks to a doubling of the sensors in beneath the iPad Pro display, and technologies inside the Pencil's tip, you get an experience that doesn't just rival Wacom but, in many ways, blows it away.

  • If you've always want to draft, scribble, write, sketch, do calligraphy or technical drawing, or otherwise express your creativity in way that was previously only possible on paper, you'll be happy with the iPad Pro.

Smart Connector + Smart Keyboard

Apple is making a Smart Keyboard for the iPad Pro so you can connect and charge directly without having to worry about Bluetooth or charging. As keyboards go, it's divisive — some love the ultra-light laser-ablated fabric keys and others hate them.

Because Apple didn't just make a Smart Connector but a Smart Connector, you'll be able to get alternatives. Logitech already makes a Create keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and hopefully the company will ship one for the 9.7-inch model soon as well. And many more accessory makers as well.

  • If you're serious about text entry and pounding away on productivity, you'll seriously want to consider the iPad Pro.


The 9.7-inch iPad Pro runs alls the same apps as the original iPads and iPads Air, but faster and better looking than ever.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro, thanks to it's larger display and iOS's support of size classes, can run iPad apps bigger and more productively than ever. Developers can take advantage of all of that extra real-estate to show more and do more. Not just more canvas or workspace either, but more palettes or tools on-screen at the same time.

  • If you want more capable, more convenient, and even more accessible apps, you want the iPad Pro.

Who should get the 9.7-inch iPad Pro?

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro takes everything that was great about the original and makes it even greater. It's faster and more powerful, it supports the Smart Connector and Smart Keyboard, and it supports the Apple Pencil. It's also got just about the best looking and most advanced display Apple's ever made, which is saying something.

If you want the ultimate blend of power and portability, you want the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

Who should get the 12.9-inch iPad Pro?

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro takes the iPad to the next level. As big as a MacBook, it lets you see and work at full-scale, including two apps side-by-side at a scale that's almost 9.7-inches each. It supports the Smart Connector and Smart Keyboard, and it supports the Apple Pencil. That makes it not just a power-house, but a workhorse.

If you want the ultimate canvas for creativity or productivity, you want the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.