The iPad Pro: 10.5 vs. 12.9

David Sparks:

I’ve spent a lot of time now with both the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros. I’m hearing from a lot of listeners and readers who want some help choosing which iPad to buy. I have a few thoughts about that.

The Good News: They Are Both Great iPads

The first point to acknowledge is that Apple has largely leveled the playing field. A new 10.5-inch iPad and 12.9-inch iPad have the same internals. They have the same screen technology, processors, quick-charging capabilities, camera, RAM, and all the other internal bits. In the past, choosing one size over another usually came with compromises. One had a better screen than the other. One had a better camera than the other. That is no longer the case. Now you just get to pick which screen size is most appropriate for you, and you are going to have a great iPad.


The conventional wisdom is that if you want to replace a laptop, you get a 12.9-inch iPad, and if you are keeping a laptop, get the 10.5-inch iPad. I think that is too simplistic. You could replace a laptop with a 10.5-inch iPad. Likewise, I use my 12.9-inch iPad alongside my laptop all the time.

I think for most folks the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is the starting place. It is big enough without being too big. The fact that the slightly larger screen now makes it even easier to type on than the 9.7-inch iPad Pro will make the 10.5-inch iPad Pro the most popular choice by far.

I think the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the one you would choose for particular reasons. Maybe you do a lot of multitasking and getting two full-size iPad apps on the screen is important. Or maybe you just have less than perfect vision and need things a little bigger. Either way, if you plan to use the iPad on the go, the bigger one can be a pain, and you need a tangible reason to justify putting up with that.

For me, if my vision were better, I would be tempted to work with the 10.5-inch iPad exclusively. However, I do a lot of work on my iPad and being able to pull out the bigger one for certain tasks sure is nice. I won’t be upgrading my 12.9-inch iPad to the latest iteration, but I won’t be getting rid of my first generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro either.