Spec showdown: iPad Pro vs. iPad Air 2

Apple unveiled the latest iteration of its popular tablet, the iPad Pro, at its event today. At first glance, it certainly looks like a beast. But how does it compare to the previous model, the iPad Air 2? 

iPad Pro

ipad pro front updated

iPad Air 2

iPadAir2

Size 12 x 8.6 x 0.27 (in) 9.4 x 6.6 x 0.24 (in)
Weight 1.54 lbs 0.96 lbs
Display 12.9-inch Retina display 9.7-inch LED multi-touch display
Resolution 2,732 x 2,048 pixels 2048 x 1536 pixels
Operating System iOS 9 iOS 9
Storage 32 or 128GB 16, 64, or 128GB
Processor Apple’s A9X chip and M9 motion coprocessor Apple’s A8X chip and M8 motion coprocessor
RAM Not announced yet 2 GB
Camera Front 1.2MP, Rear 8MP Front 1.2MP, Rear 8MP
Video Front 720p, Rear 1080p Front 720p, Rear 1080p
Connectivity Wi-Fi, LTE, HSPA+, Bluetooth 4.2 Wi-Fi, LTE, HSPA+, Bluetooth 4.0
Sensors Three-axis gyro, accelerometer, ambient light sensor,barometer, and Touch ID Three-axis gyro, accelerometer, ambient light sensor,and Touch ID
Battery Up to 10 hours of web surfing, watching videos, or listening to music Up to 10 hours of web surfing, watching videos, or listening to music
Charger Lightning connector Lightning connector
Marketplace Mac App Store Mac App Store
Price 32 GB – $800, 128 GB – $950, $128 with LTE – $1080 16GB – $499, 64GB – $599, 128GB – $699

Power

The new A9X chip is a substantial upgrade over the previous model, with twice the memory bandwidth and storage performance of the iPad Air 2’s A8X processor. Apple claims the A9X is more powerful than 80 percent of the portable PCs sold last year, which is fitting, as it is marketing the iPad Pro as an alternative for consumers who want the productivity of a laptop. Although both tablets will be iOS 9 compatible, the Pro’s superior processor will enable it to better use the multitasking features of the new operating system.

Design

The Pro is a little heftier than the Air, weighing in at 1.57 lbs. The added weight is an understandable price to pay for the Pro’s substantially larger screen (an extra 3.2 inches diagonally compared to the Air 2) as well as a notable audio upgrade: the Pro features four stereo speakers built into the case, giving unparalleled audio quality. The speakers can adjust sound automatically based on how the user is holding the tablet.

Despite these additional features, the Pro manages to remain portable at about 0.27 inches thick. Moreover, despite the more powerful hardware, the Pro maintains the ten hour battery life of its predecessor.

Camera

There appears to be no difference in the cameras on the two tablets, with both having a 1.2 MP front and 8 Mp rear camera, although the increased power and screen size of the Pro should make streaming video better.

Price

The iPad Pro is relatively large, which is great because it will make your wallet notably lighter. The cheapest model, with 32 GB of storage, comes in at $800. The highest price point is the 128 GB model (with LTE functionality), bearing a whopping $1080 price tag. The iPad Air 2 is far less expensive, with the 128 GB model costing $700, less than even the cheapest version of the Pro.

Apple also announced some attachments for the Pro that will jack up the price. For $100, users can get a stylus (despite Steve Jobs’ claim that styli were a sign of design failure), the Apple Pencil, which allows users to draw and write and anything else that a stylus generally does. Also, Apple will be offering a smart keyboard for the Pro at $170.  

Conclusion

Aside from portability, there is really no category the iPad Pro doesn’t excel at in comparison to the Air 2. Apple managed to add substantial hardware upgrades without increasing the bulk of the tablet to much. The Pro is certainly costly, but anyone who can afford it will likely find it to be the best tablet on the market.

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