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2018 iPad

Should You Buy An iPad Pro or the Less Expensive 2018 iPad?

March 28, 2018

Should you still buy a 10.5-inch iPad Pro given this week’s release of the new 9.7-inch 2018 iPad? The short-term answer might surprise you.

The Choice

The Choice

The new sixth-generation iPad announced on Tuesday is the first Apple tablet not named iPad Pro to support the $99 Apple Pencil. Beyond this, there remain fundamental differences between it and the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.

Note: Throughout this post, we’ll only be discussing the 2018 iPad and 2017 10.5-inch iPad Pro, not the 2017 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Price and Storage

The new iPad is available with 32GB and 128GB of storage, starting at $329. The iPad Pro, meanwhile, offers 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB of storage with prices starting at $649.


The newest iPad includes the same processor found in the iPhone 7, the A10. The iPad Pro consists of the A10X.

As Macworld explains, the difference between the two chips is small:

At the time of their release, Apple claimed that the A10X had 30 percent faster CPU performance and 40 percent faster GPU performance than the A9X, while the A10 boasted 40 percent better CPU performance and 50 better graphics performance over the A9. Add it up, and the difference between the A10X iPad Pro and the A10 iPad will be negligible.

The differences between the two tablets are most noticeable when it comes to the display and camera. Not surprisingly, the specs for the more expensive iPad Pro outweigh those of the newer model. You’ll need to decide, however, whether these differences are worth the significant price difference.

For example, the iPad Pro features 2,224 by 1,668 resolution versus 2,048 by 1,536 resolution for the less expensive model. The Pro version also includes a fully laminated display, antireflective coating, ProMotion technology, wide color display (P3), and True Tone display.

Meanwhile, the 12-megapixel camera (ƒ/1.8 aperture) on the iPad Pro bests the 8-megapixel camera (ƒ/2.4 aperture) found on the iPad. Video recording is also better on the Pro model, 4K HD video recording versus 1080p HD video recording.

The Keyboard

Finally, though both tablets support Apple Pencil, only the iPad Pro works with a Smart Keyboard. Both support Bluetooth-enabled wireless keyboards, however.

You can find the specs for all four current iPads on the Apple website.

The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

As the parent of a fifth grader, I’m glad to see Apple has decided to open up Apple Pencil support to non-iPad Pro devices. As an iPad Pro owner, however, I’m a little bit annoyed, however.

Having the Apple Pencil exclusive to the iPad Pro lineup was an important selling point that’s no longer there. All things being equal then, if you’re in the market for an iPad right now, it might be wiser to purchase the less expensive model unless you need a lot more storage space than the iPad can provide.

If you can wait, do so.

With the Apple Pencil off the table as an exclusive, the upcoming 2018 iPad Pro lineup will need to include much more than yearly spec jumps to justify the premium price. In other words, expect a significant upgrade.

We should know more about the 2018 iPad Pros on June 4 when Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) begins.

In the meantime, all things being equal, which iPad would you buy right now if you needed to? Let us know below.