As of its 5 June WWDC announcements, Apple sells four iPads in four different sizes: the iPad mini 4 (with a 7.9-inch screen), the iPad 2017 (with a 9.7-inch screen), and new iPad Pro models in 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch screen sizes. In this article we run the rule over the new 10.5-inch model; for more details read New iPad Pro launch: UK release date, price, features, specs. Read next: iPad buying guide 2017
Design & build quality
This new model of the iPad Pro comes with 10.5-inch screen – something we’ve not seen before on an iOS device. In effect, this iPad replaces the old 9.7-inch Pro model, and squeezes the larger screen into a chassis of the same size by making the bezels thinner.
For a comparison of the new 10.5in Pro and its 9.7in predecessor, see iPad Pro 10.5in (2017) vs iPad Pro 9.7in (2016).
The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro gets the Rose Gold (pink) colour option that was previously limited, in iPad land, to the 9.7-inch Pro model. So that’s four choices: silver, gold, Rose Gold and Space Grey.
Let’s look next at the internal specs in the new iPad Pro.
As expected, the new iPad Pro 10.5 features a modified version of the A10 Fusion chip in the iPhone 7, called the A10X Fusion.
The A10X Fusion chipset has six CPU cores: three high-performance cores and three efficiency cores for improved battery life. It also features a meaty twelve-core GPU.
At launch Apple predicted 30 percent faster CPU performance than the A9X chip in the first-generation iPad Pro models, and 40 percent faster graphics performance; and our tests show that this is a seriously fast machine.
In GeekBench 4’s processing speed benchmarks, the iPad Pro 10.5in scored an impressive 3,891 in single-core, higher than any previous iPad we’ve tested by at least 800 points, and a phenomenal 9,300 in multicore. For comparison the iPad Pro 9.7in (2016) scored 5,073 in multicore, while the iPad Pro 12.9in (2015) and its 4GB of RAM averaged 5,123.
Finally, we put that twelve-core GPU through its paces on the GFXBench Metal graphical benchmark. The iPad Pro 10.5in averaged 42.22fps (in the Manhattan 3.1 onscreen component of the test), 56.54fps (Manhattan onscreen) and 60.00fps (T-Rex).
These too are class-leading numbers. The iPad Pro 9.7in scored 25.4fps (Manhattan 3.1), 37.6fps (Manhattan) and 59.9fps (T-Rex).
As hinted at in a recent update to Apple’s Xcode software, Apple’s next-generation iPad Pro features an upgraded 120Hz display. (For reference, existing models of iPhone and iPad max out at 60Hz.)
The higher the refresh rate, the more frames the display can process every second: a 60Hz display can process up to 60 frames per second, while a 120Hz display can offer double the amount at 120 frames per second. It’s why some PC gamers opt for a 144Hz display.
The new iPad also gets the newer True Tone display that was featured on the 9.7in Pro but was denied to the 12.9 when it launched.
The 10.5-inch Pro has a resolution of 2,224 x 1,668, at Apple’s iPad-standard 264 pixels per inch.
A few more details: the display offers 600 nits brightness, can display HDR video, and dynamically adjusts the refresh rate depending on what you’re looking at. This could be key to preserving battery life.
The new iPad Pro comes with a 12Mp rear-facing camera with f1.8 aperture, six-element lens and a quad-LED True Tone flash. The front-facing camera has a rating of 7Mp and the Retina Flash feature where the entire screen lights up to serve as a makeshift flash.
This is the same camera setup as the iPhone 7; it’s a bit better than the 9.7-inch iPad Pro (12Mp and 5Mp respectively) and a lot better than the old 12.9-inch Pro (8Mp and 1.2Mp, and no flash).
Apple has bumped the storage options again.
The new iPad Pro models start at 64GB as a baseline, with options to get 256GB or a mighty 512GB. That’s the most storage offered with any iOS device to date.
The new iPad Pro, pleasingly, gets the second-gen version of Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner, rather than the first-gen version seen in previous iPads.
This has been a bit of a bugbear for us, since second-gen Touch ID has been around for a while – it first appeared in the iPhone 6s, but was ignored by the iPads that followed it – until now. Second-gen Touch ID is quicker and more reliable than the original version. Read next: How to fix Touch ID
There seems to have been a balance achieved between the more powerful chipsets and more advanced displays, and the new power-saving features: Apple says the new iPad Pro models will offer the same 10-hour battery life as the last generation.
Obviously we’ll be testing that in our labs just as soon as we can get hold of review samples.
The new iPad Pro was announced at WWDC 2017 on 5 June, and is available to order right now. You can buy the new iPad Pro here.
The iPad Pro very much isn’t the bargain offering we got earlier this year in the form of the iPad 2017, which starts at a highly tempting £339. We reckon the next iPad will start at around £570 to £600. Read next: Best cheap iPad deals
- iPad Pro 10.5 (64GB, Wi-Fi): £619
- iPad Pro 10.5 (256GB, Wi-Fi): £709
- iPad Pro 10.5 (512GB, Wi-Fi): £889
- iPad Pro 10.5 (64GB, cellular): £749
- iPad Pro 10.5 (256GB, cellular): £839
- iPad Pro 10.5 (512GB, cellular): £1,019
You can buy the new iPad Pro here.
This is more than we expected. Here’s what we predicted before the announcement:
- iPad Pro 10.5 (32GB, Wi-Fi): £579
- iPad Pro 10.5 (128GB, Wi-Fi): £679
- iPad Pro 10.5 (256GB, Wi-Fi): £779
- iPad Pro 10.5 (32GB, cellular): £699
- iPad Pro 10.5 (128GB, cellular): £799
- iPad Pro 10.5 (256GB, cellular): £899
For comparison, here’s how the 9.7-inch Pro was priced before WWDC:
- iPad Pro 9.7 (32GB, Wi-Fi): £549
- iPad Pro 9.7 (128GB, Wi-Fi): £639
- iPad Pro 9.7 (256GB, Wi-Fi): £729
- iPad Pro 9.7 (32GB, cellular): £669
- iPad Pro 9.7 (128GB, cellular): £759
- iPad Pro 9.7 (256GB, cellular): £849
…and the 12.9inch model, again before WWDC:
- iPad Pro 12.9 (32GB, Wi-Fi): £729
- iPad Pro 12.9 (128GB, Wi-Fi): £819
- iPad Pro 12.9 (256GB, Wi-Fi): £909
- iPad Pro 12.9 (128GB, cellular): £939
- iPad Pro 12.9 (256GB, cellular): £1,029
Podcast: All the announcements at WWDC 2017
The UK Tech Weekly Podcast team dissect the latest announcements in episode 64.