Should you upgrade to Apple's redesigned 2018 iPad Pro?

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2020
In last year's review of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, AppleInsider called it the king of tablets. Apple's new 2018 iPad Pro is so much better in so many ways that it is hard to even think of what to call it.

iPad Pro
11-inch iPad Pro (left) and 12.9-inch iPad Pro (right)


The main question that many existing iPad Pro owners will be asking is if it's worth upgrading to the new iPad Pro generation.

For starters, the new 11-inch base iPad Pro is priced at $799. If you're planning on using the Apple Pencil, you also have to buy the new second-generation Apple Pencil for $129, bringing the base model up to a grand total of $928.

Even with that price, it's easily has the power and features to make it worth that much.





This is the iPhone X story all over again, as the new iPad Pro is basically an iPad revolution. It's packing Face ID that works no matter what orientation you hold the device, a refined exterior design, a new edge-to-edge display, the first USB-C port in any iOS device ever, support for a brand new Apple Pencil, and shocking performance.

Last year's iPad Pro also shocked us by outperforming Apple's 12-inch MacBook in both processor performance and graphics performance, and the new iPad Pro is supposed to double the graphics performance and almost double the processor performance of last year's model.

Geekbench 4 benchmarks have already leaked, revealing the new iPad Pro's processor is nearing the performance of Apple's new 15-inch MacBook Pro, and it's even closer to the performance of the best processor in the 2017 5K iMac. The new iPad Pro actually outperforms the best processor in the 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro, and even the best processor in the 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro.

iPad Pro Geekbench
Geekbench scores for iPad Pro (top), MacBook Pro (bottom)


Of course, this is just Geekbench 4, which doesn't factor in thermal throttling, but the raw power is incredibly impressive.

Despite the difference in size, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is identical in terms of performance, making the decision to buy one over the smaller version more based the mass and the cost than anything.

So, let's say you already have a 2017 iPad Pro. Should you upgrade? If money isn't an issue. Face ID and the new display alone should make the upgrade worth it, and you could probably sell your current iPad Pro for at least $400 to 450.

If you're happy with your current iPad Pro and you don't have that much spare cash, just stick with the 2017 model for another year.

For owners of older iPad Pro models, I would definitely recommend upgrading. The biggest things those models lack is a very bright and color-accurate display, Apple Pencil lag improvements, and 120hz ProMotion technology, which really makes the new iPad Pros shine.

If you've got any other kind of iPad, you should only think about if you really need the performance and the Apple Pencil support. The 2017 budget iPad for $329 supports the Apple Pencil and has a decent A10 processor, but the display is definitely lacking.

Apple has just released a brand new Apple Pencil, and next years' budget iPad will probably support it, which means it'll also come with the new boxy design to incorporate it. If you don't need the extra power and the amazing display, you could just wait until March.

Apple Pencil 2
Second Generation Apple Pencil


Now some of you may be thinking about skipping this year's iPad Pro in favor of the 2019 model. Here's something to think about.

Apple basically went all out on this new iPad Pro, and there's a lot of firsts in this generation; it's the first iPad to switch to this boxy design since the original iPad, the first with an edge-to-edge rounded display, the first with Face ID, the first with a USB-C port, the first with support for the new Apple Pencil, the first with a 7-nanometer chip that outperforms a MacBook Pro, and it's also thinner than any iPad or even iPhone ever, if you're not counting the camera bump.

Speaking of the camera, it gets the same wide camera as the iPhone XS, with the latest video recording improvements and features like Smart HDR and Portrait Mode selfies.

Based on that, next years' iPad Pro models are unlikely to be that much different, and since it'll be running on the same 7nm architecture, the performance won't see as big of a jump as this year's versions. It's doubtful Apple will switch to an even smaller chip architecture for at least a couple of years.

There may be some changes here and there, but the 2019 models will generally be very similar to the 2018 iPad Pro.

If you're thinking of upgrading to an iPad Pro within the next two years, you might as well just just upgrade right now. That's the same advice we gave when the revolutionary iPhone X came out, and as you can tell by the iPhone XS, there really isn't much different apart from the larger iPhone XS Max.

Here's the rundown: if you've got a 2017 iPad Pro and you're perfectly happy with it, don't upgrade unless you've got a bunch of extra cash. If you've got anything else and you're thinking about getting an 11-inch iPad Pro within the next couple of years, seriously just upgrade right now, because the 2019 iPad Pro won't be that much different, and it definitely won't get any cheaper.

As for the 12.9-inch model, it's $200 more expensive, but the chassis is now significantly smaller than the previous 12.9-inch iPad Pros, making it a lot more convenient to use. If you're trying to use your iPad Pro as a laptop replacement, the 12.9-inch model will be the better choice if you have the extra cash, while artists will enjoy the extra screen space that the larger model offers.

Where to buy

Apple authorized reseller Adorama is accepting preorders for Apple's newest iPad Pros with no sales tax collected on orders shipped outside New York and New Jersey. Orders are filled on a first come, first served basis and your credit card will not be charged until the iPad Pros are ready to ship.

For product availability and the latest deals across multiple Apple authorized resellers, be sure to visit our 11-inch iPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro Price Guides.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,383member
    I don't need one but I think I'll get one just for the fun of it.  
    christopher126vukasikadjkfisherwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 39
    I thought I could justify an upgrade from my Air2 (quite old now) which performs well enough but lacks features the new pro iPads have. 

    but its it’s the new familiar story with Apple.. so ridiculously expensive. Astronomically so in the case of the iPad Pros. 

    Eapecially when you you factor in a pencil and keyboard to make the most of your new pro device plus any extra storage , case , or LTE. 

    They may be powerful but the iOS approach doesn’t suit all use cases which makes it an additional purchase to a say a laptop and phone (eg. Creatives who also code) 

    iPads worked and sold well because they were a value device (consumption device or companion device). These new pro’s are arguably more than that (strong creative) but I don’t think there are millions of people willing to pay as much as a Mac book pro to have one (with the accessories). The low end iPad isn’t even an upgrade from my Air2 either so at present unless I want to cough up a grand , I’ll be sticking with the air 2. 

    Apple is becoming the Prada of the tech world. Quality.. sure, but priced for the rich! 


    christopher126bloggerblogdysamoria
  • Reply 3 of 39
    I agree that these are very expensive (though I ordered a new 12.9). 

    It’s not an excuse or an accurate comparison, but I’ve been buying Apple products since 1988 and remember paying THOUSANDS for things like PowerBooks that had a fraction of the power or elegance of the current offerings, including these amazing iPads.  
    vukasikachristopher126wlymchianeo-techredgeminipakiltedgreenwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 39
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,735member
    I'm impressed, but...
    I love the FaceID, the edge to edge screen, and the more power. Looks like they fixed the annoyances of the Apple Pencil.
    But...
    I'm very happy with my 10.5 iPadPro. I'd update the Pencil if my iPP supported it, but it doesn't so I won't. The system does everything I need and more. I literally have not hit anything where I wanted more power, or screen space. TouchID works fine.
    So I'll be sitting on the sidelines. Drooling yes, but not getting one. I can see in about three years updating, but until then I'll save my money.
    Or get an AppleWatch 4.
    edited November 2018 christopher126tokyojimuwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 39
    hentaiboyhentaiboy Posts: 1,244member
    In last year's review of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, AppleInsider called it the king of tablets. Apple's new 2018 iPad Pro is so much better in so many ways that it is hard to even think of what to call it.
    How about the Emperor of tablets?
    If you don't need the extra power and the amazing display, you could just wait until March.
    Will do. Cheers.
    christopher126muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 6 of 39
    I bought one with the intention of using it for a couple months and then returning it after the holidays, as the holiday return policy is in effect where I bought it, so I have until FEB 11 to return anything.

    The fact that NONE of the accessories I have for my iPad Pro 12.9 will work with this is a major issue for me.  I have to go buy everything all over again and at HIGHER prices?  

    Is there a smart cover for the new 12.9 that detaches magnetically like the old one or is it a permanent part of the folio case?  I can't tell and I haven't seen or heard anything that says one way or the other.

    I'm pretty happy with my old 256GB 12.9 iPad PRO and have all the accessories...it will take a lot for me to want to keep this new 12.9.
  • Reply 7 of 39
    I have pre-order a maxed out 12.9.  iPad Pro's have been my go-to mobile device since the 1st Gen of the 12.9. Things only got better after the release of iOS 11.  2nd Gen iPad Pro was even better and this continues the tradition.  I haven't need a laptop since the first iPad Pro's were released.  I still use a 5k iMac at home but I'm impressed with the evolution of the platform.
    macpluspluschiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 39
    It's nothing short of a very impressive upgrade...

    ...this is something I've always said about Apple, they don't rest on their laurels!

    What does Apple have? Something like ~90% of the tablet market and 110% of the tablet profits?

    And yet, they come out with this level of improvement for a device that is more powerful than 92% of the competition's laptop offerings and out-selling all the competitor's laptops! Unbelievable.

    Best.

    edited November 2018 StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 39
    lewchenko said:
    I thought I could justify an upgrade from my Air2 (quite old now) which performs well enough but lacks features the new pro iPads have. 

    but its it’s the new familiar story with Apple.. so ridiculously expensive. Astronomically so in the case of the iPad Pros. 

    Eapecially when you you factor in a pencil and keyboard to make the most of your new pro device plus any extra storage , case , or LTE. 

    They may be powerful but the iOS approach doesn’t suit all use cases which makes it an additional purchase to a say a laptop and phone (eg. Creatives who also code) 

    iPads worked and sold well because they were a value device (consumption device or companion device). These new pro’s are arguably more than that (strong creative) but I don’t think there are millions of people willing to pay as much as a Mac book pro to have one (with the accessories). The low end iPad isn’t even an upgrade from my Air2 either so at present unless I want to cough up a grand , I’ll be sticking with the air 2. 

    Apple is becoming the Prada of the tech world. Quality.. sure, but priced for the rich! 
    Totally irrelevant. They played Prada with the Apple Watch Edition but that was just a marketing maneuver. Where is the Edition now? Discontinued, because they don’t need it anymore. They push Hermes, but they don’t try to become or buy Hermes, such things are not in their DNA. You may not blame Apple for being “ridiculously expensive” but you may blame it maybe for stuffing unneeded features in their products ending with inflated prices. Everyone complains of high prices, even themselves within the context of “currency” narration. Yet they take care to prevent “featuritis” disease as seen with the XR. Not everyone needs an X or XS and even the XR: 7 low end, 8 mid range, XS/XR/XS Max high end. Why one should buy high end phone unless they have sound reasons to do so? Not everyone needs a Macbook Pro, not even a MBA. The very notion of “laptop” itself deserves questioning, moving a laptop from one desk onto another desk is not “mobile computing”, iPads and iPhones proved that. The technological boom of the last two decades brought us to that point where prices turned up unbelievably high. Now we should decide what to do, since it is apparent that prices won’t go down in the short term or medium term.
    edited November 2018
  • Reply 10 of 39

    lewchenko said:
    I thought I could justify an upgrade from my Air2 (quite old now) which performs well enough but lacks features the new pro iPads have. 

    but its it’s the new familiar story with Apple.. so ridiculously expensive. Astronomically so in the case of the iPad Pros. 

    Eapecially when you you factor in a pencil and keyboard to make the most of your new pro device plus any extra storage , case , or LTE. 

    They may be powerful but the iOS approach doesn’t suit all use cases which makes it an additional purchase to a say a laptop and phone (eg. Creatives who also code) 

    iPads worked and sold well because they were a value device (consumption device or companion device). These new pro’s are arguably more than that (strong creative) but I don’t think there are millions of people willing to pay as much as a Mac book pro to have one (with the accessories). The low end iPad isn’t even an upgrade from my Air2 either so at present unless I want to cough up a grand , I’ll be sticking with the air 2. 

    Apple is becoming the Prada of the tech world. Quality.. sure, but priced for the rich! 


    I hear you, Chew...and you probably know this already...

    First, I'm fortunate that I can focus on the 'consumer' side of Apple products as opposed to the more highly priced Pro devices! :)

    What I try to do (I'm not always successful) is choose an optimum time to sell the Apple product I have, whether it's an iPod, iPhone, iMac, notebook, ATV, AppleWatch, etc., to sort of fund the purchase of the latest and the greatest new releases. 

    For example, I sold a three year old intel white MacBook for about $250, that I'd bought a few years earlier for $1,299. I put that $250 towards a new original iPad, ($499). I reasoned that I had basically 'rented' the MacBook for 3 years ($1,000/36 mo. = ~$28/mo.) Pretty good deal! 

    The original iPad I sold and bought the iPad Air, sold that and bought an iPad Mini2.

    I did the same with my iPhones, ATV's, Magic Mice, keyboards, etc. 

    Where I've fallen down is, I still own a 2006 original Intel iMac, a Series 0 AppleWatch, the latest non-4k AppleTV, the iPad Mini 2 (mentioned above) and a rose gold SE. And I recycled a 2009 MBP b/c the screen was janked! :)

    What I'm particularly proud of is my 2017 MacBook (rose gold) and my AirPods! State of the art at time of purchase! :)

    I'll probably end up giving my SE, iPad Mini, and AppleWatch to my GF. And replacing those with the consumer Apple variants. A new iPhone XR and an AppleWatch with cellular.

    Anyway, just trying to be conversational and not too preachy... 

    Best Regards.
    edited November 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 39
    bb-15bb-15 Posts: 283member
    If the new iPad Pros had two USBC ports (like the MacBook Air), then I would definitely consider it as a laptop replacement.
    Otherwise without a headphone jack and only one port, I’d rather get a laptop for that amount of money.
    mac_128dysamoria
  • Reply 12 of 39
    I like Tim's approach...

    A 27" iMac sitting on his desk at work. And when he travels, it's with an iPadPro.

    A 10s in his pocket and an AppleWatch on his wrist. AirPods in a small backpack with the appropriate charging cables for those three items. :)

    AppleCarPlay in his Porsche Boxster, and a 4K AppleTV at home. (Maybe a 12" iPad for the couch.)

    Best of both worlds! MacOS and iOS. :)
    edited November 2018 macpluspluswatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 39
    powerful as MacBook yes, but can it run Mac programs? no
  • Reply 14 of 39
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,291member
    After the keynote, I ordered 12.9 iPad 256GB plus pencil and folio for A$2K to replace my aging 2017 iPad Pro 10.5. No regret.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 39
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,291member
    grifmx said:
    powerful as MacBook yes, but can it run Mac programs? no
    Does it need to? No. Developers like Adobe and Microsoft are creating their full version apps for iPad, it's different for different platform but similar in all functions as their counterpart on PC.
    macplusplusStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 39
    Well, This time last year I ordered the 10.5 inch iPad Pro.  Am very happy with it.  I'll wait until Apple comes up with an iOS that doesn't support my iPad Pro 10.5 inch.  Heck, I'm still learning the features that it has.  Still hope that Apple sells a lot of 2018 iPad Pros.

    For Kevin Kee:  Please tell us the differences between the 10.5 and 11 inch iPad Pros after you have received the new version.  Don't worry, I respect your decision.  For me, I don't have the funds.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 39
    I have owned every generation of iPad since the very first model.  I have owned most generations of the iPhone since the iPhone 4.  The iPad was always my preferred device to use because of its larger screen.

    My iPhone X changed that to a large degree. I still used my iPads most of the time though. The iPhone X display, despite its beautiful OLED, was still too small for regular use.

    Then I got the iPhone Xs Max.  Finally a big enough display, to put other factors into significant consideration. Quality Vs quantity. For the first time since I started using iOS devices, my iPhone has replaced my iPad as my most preferred, and most used device.

    Used to be I would always bring my iPad to the coffee shop.  Now I frequently leave it at home. Together with a foldable keyboard, the Xs Max in my pocket often says “see ya later” to my iPad Pro as I head out the door.

    The 2018 iPad Pros, while dressed up quite nicely, remain second rate LCD cousins to the drop dead gorgeous OLED iPhone XS Max.
    hummerchine
  • Reply 18 of 39
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,317member
    lewchenko said:
    I thought I could justify an upgrade from my Air2 (quite old now) which performs well enough but lacks features the new pro iPads have. 

    but its it’s the new familiar story with Apple.. so ridiculously expensive. Astronomically so in the case of the iPad Pros. 

    Eapecially when you you factor in a pencil and keyboard to make the most of your new pro device plus any extra storage , case , or LTE. 

    They may be powerful but the iOS approach doesn’t suit all use cases which makes it an additional purchase to a say a laptop and phone (eg. Creatives who also code) 

    iPads worked and sold well because they were a value device (consumption device or companion device). These new pro’s are arguably more than that (strong creative) but I don’t think there are millions of people willing to pay as much as a Mac book pro to have one (with the accessories). The low end iPad isn’t even an upgrade from my Air2 either so at present unless I want to cough up a grand , I’ll be sticking with the air 2. 

    Apple is becoming the Prada of the tech world. Quality.. sure, but priced for the rich! 



    They're "priced for the rich", but they have the best selling phones, tablet, and laptops on the planet. 
    How does that work, exactly?

    I think the iPad Pro, more than any other Apple product, earns it's price. It's packed to the brim with cutting edge technology, in an insanely tight package. 
    If you haven't noticed, Apple is also selling other, much cheaper iPad models, so feel free to get any of those. Any current iPad will still be a significant upgrade over your Air 2. 
    edited November 2018 StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 39
    Anyone want to buy my 1998 Nokia?
    focherwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 39
    kevin kee said:
    After the keynote, I ordered 12.9 iPad 256GB plus pencil and folio for A$2K to replace my aging 2017 iPad Pro 10.5. No regret.
    A 2017 model is "aging?" 
    dysamoriawatto_cobra
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