News: Apple Announces 9.7-inch iPad Pro

Today saw Apple announce a new, smaller iPad Pro. It's 9.7-inches, but don't confuse it just as a slight upgrade from the iPad Air 2. This is an entirely new beast, with large improvements made across the board. In many ways, as detailed below, this is now the iPad.

Camera

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a 12-megapixel rear camera with True Tone flash and Live Photos, whereas the 12.9-inch is still running the old 8-megapixel sensor.
The 9.7-inch also has a 5-megapixel front facing camera, whereas the 12.9-inch has to make do with just 1.2-megapixels.

Battery

Both the 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch will get around 10 hours of life, but the 9.7-inch will charge much faster due it's smaller battery. The 12.9-inch can now be charged with the 29-watt adapter we first saw with the MacBook One though, thanks to a new USB-C to Lightning adapter. This doesn't come in the box, and will set you back another A$75 for the USB-C Power Adapter, and either A$35 or A$55 for a 1-metre or 2-metre USB-C to Lightning Cable, respectively.

Design

Obviously, the 9.7-inch also sees a significant weight advantage over the 12.9-inch, coming in at 440 grams, versus the 710 grams of its big brother. It also features the louder volume and increased audio clarity achieved by employing the same quad-speaker setup of it's 12.9-inch larger brother, something that I found surprisingly useful.

Software

I don't really understand Apple's motivations for this one, but the 9.7-inch also has Always-On Siri, something the 12.9-inch can only do when connected to power. Personally, I don't use Siri that often, but maybe that will change after living with a device with this feature. Then again, maybe it won't.

Screen

The 9.7-inch's display is the same resolution as the iPad Air 2, but is now a True Tone Display. This means that it automatically adjusts it's colour temperature based on the room environment. It also has a wider colour gamut, meaning that it's capable of displaying more colours than the 12.9-inch model.

Networking

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has faster cellular connectivity than its big brother, and is also the first Apple product to feature an embedded Apple SIM. I don't know if that just means it's pre-installed, or not user replaceable, but I hope it doesn't make swapping sims harder. The Apple SIM is definitely handy, and is something that no other manufacturers are doing, but isn't always the best value for money. I'd still like the option to supply my own SIM.

Models

The 9.7-inch comes in 32gb, 128gb and 256gb capacities, with cellular available on every model. The 12.9-inch also now comes in 256gb. Rose Gold is also an option for the first time in the iPad range, so you're in luck if you're a fan of roses and gold.


This is the iPad Pro i've been waiting for. I've been really passionate about the Apple Pencil since it's release late last year, and it's played a huge part in some major projects of mine. I'll be picking up a new 9.7-inch iPad Pro as soon as I can.

Jack Alexander