In November 2015 I decided to replace my iPad Air with an iPad mini 4, the decision wasn’t necessarily a bad one, the mini 4 is an excellent tablet but the more I used it the more I realized it wasn’t for me. I like to watch a lot of video content on my iPad either in the form of movies and TV shows through the Videos app or live TV via the FiOS mobile app. The smaller 7″ display on the mini 4 just wasn’t cutting it for me, in addition to that I felt the speakers on the mini 4 (and even on the Air) were lacking the oomph I desired.
So a couple weeks ago when Apple introduced the new 9.7″ iPad Pro I decided to re-evaluate my options when it came to the iPad. I spent some time watching the keynote, listening to what the new, smaller, iPad Pro had to offer such as its True Tone display, improved camera, and most importantly (for me) speakers like its bigger brother the iPad Pro 12.9″. It sounded like this was going to be the iPad for me, I felt ready to pull the trigger — thankfully though, you couldn’t pre-order it that day.
I began to mull over the two different iPad Pro choices, I read a bit more about the specs of each and considered my use cases for it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I’d actually be better off with the 12.9″ one. Here was my thought process:
RAM/Memory: The 12.9″ iPad Pro sports 4GB of RAM, the 9.7″ Pro sports 2GB. That’s a real difference and if you’re planning to do a lot of content creation in addition to content consumption on your iPad, you will want the additional RAM.
True Tone display: Sure, it’s a nice feature but it’s not that nice that it alone would be worth sacrificing a bigger display and more RAM.
Improved camera: I don’t think I’ve ever taken a picture with my iPad so that’s really a moot point for me (and likely many others).
Display size: I’ve always liked the 9.7″ iPad, I’ve had multiple generations of them, but honestly, I never truly loved it. I always preferred working on my MacBook Pro. In part because my MacBook Pro is so much more powerful, but mostly because I just felt constrained by the 9.7″ screen. The iPad is literally a slab of glass that’s a computer — it’s more enjoyable to use the bigger the slab (provided it doesn’t become unwieldy).
I’m loving the bigger iPad Pro — I’ve never used my iPad this much ever. It’s easier to get things done on it and it feels more like a laptop (especially with a keyboard connected to it) than a tablet. Another thing that makes using the iPad Pro easier for me to do more frequently is the quality and selection of iOS apps available. I have access to many apps I use on my MacBook Pro, for example, Coda and Ulysses. And of course, there are many services/apps that offer desktop apps and also iOS/Android versions, like Google Chrome, Slack, 1Password, and Dropbox.
So here I sit writing this blog post in the WordPress app on my iPad Pro 12.9″ with my trusty Anker Ultra Compact bluetooth keyboard connected. I decided to go with a separate bluetooth keyboard because this particular is lightweight and also features iOS specific buttons where the function keys sit. Plus, I like the feel of actual keyboard keys to the keys on the Smart Keyboard that Apple offers.
I also found a sleek, sturdy stand for the iPad Pro (it will also work with smaller iPads) and best of all, it was just $20 on Amazon.
So which iPad Pro should you go with? I’d recommend the 12.9″. If you’re still unsure about my advice, feel free to consult former BestTechie writer, Shawn Farner, who I convinced to get the 12.9″ iPad Pro and he absolutely loves it.