Comparing the new 2018 12.9-inch iPad Pro versus the older model

Posted:
in iPad
The new 11-inch iPad Pro occupies roughly the same footprint as the old 10.5-inch. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro though, is a different story -- it is smaller in size than the previous model with the same size screen as before, making Apple's largest tablet even more portable.

2017 and 2018 12.9-inch iPad Pros
2017 and 2018 12.9-inch iPad Pros

Performance gains

This isn't a piece on benchmarking so we won't go too in-depth in that regard, but we did want to see how better the new performed on the common Geekbench 4 tests.






We ran both the CPU benchmark as well as got our Metal computation score. The new model earned 5010 and 18202 single and multi-core on the CPU test whereas the Metal score was 41643. Those compare favorably to the 3984 and 9560 the old got in single and multi-core.

That is roughly a 25-percent single-core gain and almost 50-percent multi-core. The Metal score on last generation was 29737, representing a more than 33-percent improvement.

2018 12.9-inch iPad Pro benchmarks
2018 12.9-inch iPad pro benchmarks


All of these numbers are impressive considering the last generation was no slouch.

Physical dimensions

2017 and 2018 12.9-inch iPad Pros
2017 and 2018 12.9-inch iPad Pros


Apple says the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro has 25 percent less volume than the old, which is a combination of it being shrunk in every dimension.

Technically, the new model is thinner, but it is almost unnoticeable until side by side. The same goes with the weight -- the new model is lighter, but unless you are directly comparing them with one in each hand you probably won't notice it. If your wrist got too tired holding up the previous, it will likely still get tired holding the new one, maybe after just a bit more time.

What we really noticed was the shrunken width and height. These reductions improved the iPad experience as a whole, overall.

I've lugged around the previous 12.9 design around for a couple years now and I immediately noticed a difference when I traded up for the new design. It was more comfortable to hold on the couch, took up less space in my bag, and less area on my desk. As someone who pushes the iPad to its limits and travels with it constantly, I truly appreciated the trim design.

The weight of the combo when paired with the Smart Keyboard Folio is disappointing, though.

2018 12.9-inch iPad Pro
2018 12.9-inch iPad Pro


While the new model weighs a bit less on its own, with the Smart Keyboard Folio attached, it actually weighs more. To put it bluntly, we have opinions on the new Smart Keyboard Folio, but we will save those for our standalone review.

Should you upgrade?

If you have the original 12.9-inch iPad Pro and use it fairly often, the new model is a worthwhile upgrade. Performance and design are substantial improvements. Sell your old model and pick up the new.

2018 12.9-inch iPad Pro
2018 12.9-inch iPad Pro


On the other hand, if you've got the last generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the picture is a little fuzzier. Our recommendation is if you consider yourself a power user, take the leap. You won't be sorry. If you instead primarily use your iPad Pro as a consumption device for movies, TV, casual gaming, browsing, and reading emails, then the cost of upgrade is likely too substantial. You are better off waiting a year or so to see what other improvements Apple bakes in -- such as a second generation Face ID system or OLED display.

Where to buy

12.9" iPad Pros

  • 12.9" iPad Pro 64GB Silver Wi-Fi Only
    Buy for $999.00
    ($80 off in tax outside NY & NJ & 0% financing*)
  • 12.9" iPad Pro 64GB Space Gray Wi-Fi Only
    Buy for $999.00
    ($80 off in tax outside NY & NJ & 0% financing*)
  • 12.9" iPad Pro 64GB Silver Wi-Fi + Cellular
    Buy for $1,149.00
    ($92 off in tax outside NY & NJ & 0% financing*)
  • 12.9" iPad Pro 64GB Space Gray Wi-Fi + Cellular
    Buy for $1,149.00
    ($92 off in tax outside NY & NJ & 0% financing*)
  • 12.9" iPad Pro 256GB Silver Wi-Fi Only
    Buy for $1,149.00
    ($92 off in tax outside NY & NJ & 0% financing*)
  • 12.9" iPad Pro 256GB Space Gray Wi-Fi Only
    Buy for $1,149.00
    ($92 off in tax outside NY & NJ & 0% financing*)
  • 12.9" iPad Pro 256GB Silver Wi-Fi + Cellular
    Buy for $1,299.00
    ($104 off in tax outside NY & NJ & 0% financing*)
  • 12.9" iPad Pro 256GB Space Gray Wi-Fi + Cellular
    Buy for $1,299.00
    ($104 off in tax outside NY & NJ & 0% financing*)
  • 12.9" iPad Pro 512GB Silver Wi-Fi Only
    Buy for $1,349.00
    ($108 off in tax outside NY & NJ & 0% financing*)
  • 12.9" iPad Pro 512GB Space Gray Wi-Fi Only
    Buy for $1,349.00
    ($108 off in tax outside NY & NJ & 0% financing*)
  • 12.9" iPad Pro 512GB Silver Wi-Fi + Cellular
    Buy for $1,499.00
    ($120 off in tax outside NY & NJ & 0% financing*)
  • 12.9" iPad Pro 512GB Space Gray Wi-Fi + Cellular
    Buy for $1,499.00
    ($120 off in tax outside NY & NJ & 0% financing*)
  • 12.9" iPad Pro 1TB Silver Wi-Fi Only
    Buy for $1,749.00
    ($140 off in tax outside NY & NJ & 0% financing*)
  • 12.9" iPad Pro 1TB Space Gray Wi-Fi Only
    Buy for $1,749.00
    ($140 off in tax outside NY & NJ & 0% financing*)
  • 12.9" iPad Pro 1TB Silver Wi-Fi + Cellular
    Buy for $1,899.00
    ($152 off in tax outside NY & NJ & 0% financing*)
  • 12.9" iPad Pro 1TB Space Gray Wi-Fi + Cellular
    Buy for $1,899.00
    ($152 off in tax outside NY & NJ & 0% financing*)
    *Adorama will not collect sales tax on orders shipped outside NY & NJ*. iPad Pro qualifies for no interest when paid in full within 6 months on purchases $500-$999, or no interest when paid in full within 12 months on $1,000+, with the Adorama Credit Card.
patchythepirate
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    dougddougd Posts: 206member
    I wouldn't take an iPad as a gift
    ihatescreennameswilliamlondon
  • Reply 2 of 22
    dougd said:
    I wouldn't take an iPad as a gift
    I wouldn't take your freshly-ground axe as a gift. 
    Rayz2016Solicornchipwilliamlondonjdb8167dewmeredgeminipabanchowatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 22
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,433member
    dougd said:
    I wouldn't take an iPad as a gift
    I wouldn't take your freshly-ground axe as a gift. 
    🤣
    cornchipwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 22
    "That is roughly a 25-percent single-core gain and almost 50-percent multi-core."

    You guys are usually better at math. It's a more than 90% improvement on multi-core.

    From a hardware standpoint, this is really impressive. It means that the performance scales basically *linearly* going from 2 to 4 cores. (Since there's 4 efficiency cores in both models, contributing approximately the same towards the results, scaling is better than the 90% figure!) This is a pretty big deal as it means that Apple's capable of building an interconnect that not only scales to at least 8 cores, but that power use for the interconnect is scaling well too.

    Until recently I was not convinced that putting an Ax chip in a MacBook was viable, but last year's A11 changed my mind. This puts the nail in the coffin of the idea that Apple can't scale their processors up to compete with the best 4-8 core processors Intel can build. Just using the tech on display in the A12x, replacing efficiency cores with performance cores, they could probably beat intel's best chips now. (There's some question as to how far they can push clocks on the current design without hitting a wall due to pipeline length, but in any case they're certainly close... and they haven't even tried to optimize for a laptop power envelope yet.)
    cornchipRayz20161983watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 22
    I bought the new iPad. I had the 1st gen 12.9. I enjoyed swapping the SIM card between my 12.9 and 10.5 home-button iPads, without any issues. The data plan would fire up, immediately.
    The new iPad seems to prefer that I move my data account to the internal SIM chip. My SIM card was not recognized in the card tray. I had to log on to my carrier account on the new iPad and transfer the data plan via the Settings > Cellular software. There was a lag of several minutes before the data became active.
    The SIM card is now inactivated unless I decide to head out with the 10.5 iPad and transfer the data plan to the other device.
    I would rather put the wear and tear on the SIM tray and card, than transfer the dates plan with the software.

    One thing -  when the keyboard case is opened flat, to use the iPad in portrait mode, there is no suede flap, to cover the keys, as with the gen 1 and 2 keyboard. The right side, of the back of the iPad, feels like an accordion button keypad. If I lay it down on a table, I risk, getting the keys soiled with whatever is on the surface of the table. Love the face recognition. It still feels heavy. 
    cornchip1983watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 22
    You said the the new iPad with Smart Keyboard weighs more than the old one but don’t even bother to state how much more. A few grams more? A quarter pound more? What is it? Actually it weighs slightly less.

    Here’s the numbers (this is for the LTE version that weighs a few grams more on both models):
    2017
    Smart Keyboard: 0.75 lbs
    iPad 12.9: 1.57 lbs
    Total: 2.32 lbs (with no back protection)

    2018
    Smart Keyboard: 0.9 lbs
    iPad 12.9: 1.39 lbs
    Total: 2.29 lbs (with back protection)
    cornchip
  • Reply 7 of 22
    "That is roughly a 25-percent single-core gain and almost 50-percent multi-core."

    You guys are usually better at math. It's a more than 90% improvement on multi-core.

    From a hardware standpoint, this is really impressive. It means that the performance scales basically *linearly* going from 2 to 4 cores. (Since there's 4 efficiency cores in both models, contributing approximately the same towards the results, scaling is better than the 90% figure!) This is a pretty big deal as it means that Apple's capable of building an interconnect that not only scales to at least 8 cores, but that power use for the interconnect is scaling well too.

    Until recently I was not convinced that putting an Ax chip in a MacBook was viable, but last year's A11 changed my mind. This puts the nail in the coffin of the idea that Apple can't scale their processors up to compete with the best 4-8 core processors Intel can build. Just using the tech on display in the A12x, replacing efficiency cores with performance cores, they could probably beat intel's best chips now. (There's some question as to how far they can push clocks on the current design without hitting a wall due to pipeline length, but in any case they're certainly close... and they haven't even tried to optimize for a laptop power envelope yet.)
    Thanks for your perspective. I'm not a techie, per se, but to me the fact that the new macbook air is so feature packed and impressive almost guarantees we'll be seeing a new MacBook with an A series chip in 2019.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 22
    dws-2dws-2 Posts: 204member
    Never have I been more impressed by a device, and seen no need for it. I have a 9.7" iPad Pro that I use for browsing the web on the couch. The new iPad is definitely something that I want, but without a way for me to use all that power, I can't see how it would improve my experience except for the larger screen.

    In another world (or maybe in a future world), it would be the ultimate computer, effortlessly switching between a computer and an iPad. Right now, I think the Verge said it best: It's like a high-speed train on rails, but chances are it's not going someplace useful to the average person.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 22
    dws-2 said:
    Never have I been more impressed by a device, and seen no need for it. I have a 9.7" iPad Pro that I use for browsing the web on the couch. The new iPad is definitely something that I want, but without a way for me to use all that power, I can't see how it would improve my experience except for the larger screen.

    In another world (or maybe in a future world), it would be the ultimate computer, effortlessly switching between a computer and an iPad. Right now, I think the Verge said it best: It's like a high-speed train on rails, but chances are it's not going someplace useful to the average person.
    That’s why the average person should buy the regular 9.7” iPad. The Verge said it stupidly. 
    macpluspluswatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 22
    dougd said:
    I wouldn't take an iPad as a gift
    One of the early signs indicating MacRumors was going downhill was the inane competition amongst its more juvenile and immature members to be the first to post something negative.

    That attitude can fuck right off.
    fastasleepdsdredgeminipacornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 22
    dougd said:
    I wouldn't take an iPad as a gift
    One of the early signs indicating MacRumors was going downhill was the inane competition amongst its more juvenile and immature members to be the first to post something negative.

    That attitude can fuck right off.
    Check out his comment history. It’s literally 201 negative comments. Mike, can we get the dislike button back yet?
    williamlondonnapoleon_phoneapartwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 22
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,131member
    "That is roughly a 25-percent single-core gain and almost 50-percent multi-core."

    You guys are usually better at math. It's a more than 90% improvement on multi-core.

    From a hardware standpoint, this is really impressive. It means that the performance scales basically *linearly* going from 2 to 4 cores. (Since there's 4 efficiency cores in both models, contributing approximately the same towards the results, scaling is better than the 90% figure!) This is a pretty big deal as it means that Apple's capable of building an interconnect that not only scales to at least 8 cores, but that power use for the interconnect is scaling well too.

    Until recently I was not convinced that putting an Ax chip in a MacBook was viable, but last year's A11 changed my mind. This puts the nail in the coffin of the idea that Apple can't scale their processors up to compete with the best 4-8 core processors Intel can build. Just using the tech on display in the A12x, replacing efficiency cores with performance cores, they could probably beat intel's best chips now. (There's some question as to how far they can push clocks on the current design without hitting a wall due to pipeline length, but in any case they're certainly close... and they haven't even tried to optimize for a laptop power envelope yet.)
    Thanks for your perspective. I'm not a techie, per se, but to me the fact that the new macbook air is so feature packed and impressive almost guarantees we'll be seeing a new MacBook with an A series chip in 2019.
    Yeah, me either, but I’m of the opinion - as I think most of us are at this point - that Apple will inevitably begin building Macs with their own chips. I have the feeling that they won’t exactly be “A” series chips though. Like the watch, I have to imagine Apple will develop a new sibling for the Mac line - let’s call them “M” series chips -  that will be specially engineered for MacOS. So while it will obviously be ARM based and developed in house by Apple, I’m guessing it will be a somewhat juiced up version of the “A” series chips designed specifically for the laptop & desktop products. Just my take.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 22
    The weight of the new Folio keyboard was something I noticed before it was even out of the box. It’s a very good keyboard but it seriously increases the weight and thickness of the 12.9” iPad Pro. The other oddity is that it covers up the Apple logo. Kind of strange. Though if Apple is going to keep the back case logo in the portrait orientation I guess they might as well cover it up but you would think they would put the logo on the back of the folio instead. Not very important but an odd marketing decision. 
    edited November 13 watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 22
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 191member, editor
    glindon said:
    You said the the new iPad with Smart Keyboard weighs more than the old one but don’t even bother to state how much more. A few grams more? A quarter pound more? What is it? Actually it weighs slightly less.

    Here’s the numbers (this is for the LTE version that weighs a few grams more on both models):
    2017
    Smart Keyboard: 0.75 lbs
    iPad 12.9: 1.57 lbs
    Total: 2.32 lbs (with no back protection)

    2018
    Smart Keyboard: 0.9 lbs
    iPad 12.9: 1.39 lbs
    Total: 2.29 lbs (with back protection)

    This is outlined in the video actually. The new one with the Smart Keyboard Folio is about 2.5lbs and the old with the Smart Keyboard is roughly 2.2lbs.

    edited November 13 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 22
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,433member
    "That is roughly a 25-percent single-core gain and almost 50-percent multi-core."

    You guys are usually better at math. It's a more than 90% improvement on multi-core.

    From a hardware standpoint, this is really impressive. It means that the performance scales basically *linearly* going from 2 to 4 cores. (Since there's 4 efficiency cores in both models, contributing approximately the same towards the results, scaling is better than the 90% figure!) This is a pretty big deal as it means that Apple's capable of building an interconnect that not only scales to at least 8 cores, but that power use for the interconnect is scaling well too.

    Until recently I was not convinced that putting an Ax chip in a MacBook was viable, but last year's A11 changed my mind. This puts the nail in the coffin of the idea that Apple can't scale their processors up to compete with the best 4-8 core processors Intel can build. Just using the tech on display in the A12x, replacing efficiency cores with performance cores, they could probably beat intel's best chips now. (There's some question as to how far they can push clocks on the current design without hitting a wall due to pipeline length, but in any case they're certainly close... and they haven't even tried to optimize for a laptop power envelope yet.)
    Thanks for your perspective. I'm not a techie, per se, but to me the fact that the new macbook air is so feature packed and impressive almost guarantees we'll be seeing a new MacBook with an A series chip in 2019.
    I’m going to guess at 2020, but one is definitely on the way. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 22
    19831983 Posts: 1,125member
    dws-2 said:
    Never have I been more impressed by a device, and seen no need for it. I have a 9.7" iPad Pro that I use for browsing the web on the couch. The new iPad is definitely something that I want, but without a way for me to use all that power, I can't see how it would improve my experience except for the larger screen.

    In another world (or maybe in a future world), it would be the ultimate computer, effortlessly switching between a computer and an iPad. Right now, I think the Verge said it best: It's like a high-speed train on rails, but chances are it's not going someplace useful to the average person.
    The power of these next-gen iPads is eye watering! But you’re right, currently there isn’t a way to take full advantage of it. I really hope Apple has taken note of this, and with the release of iOS13 for iPad next year, owners will be finally allowed to take full advantage of what these devices are capable of! But that might really hurt Mac sales, so I don’t know if they will have the courage to do so...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 22
    dougd said:
    I wouldn't take an iPad as a gift
    One of the early signs indicating MacRumors was going downhill was the inane competition amongst its more juvenile and immature members to be the first to post something negative.

    That attitude can fuck right off.
    Check out his comment history. It’s literally 201 negative comments. Mike, can we get the dislike button back yet?
    Some I think use the "Informative" button to indicate "dislike," though I agree an actual dislike button was good here. At least, however, there's good and often quite strong moderation in these forums which I hope means our little haven won't succumb to the path of MR.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 22
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,131member
    "That is roughly a 25-percent single-core gain and almost 50-percent multi-core."

    You guys are usually better at math. It's a more than 90% improvement on multi-core.

    From a hardware standpoint, this is really impressive. It means that the performance scales basically *linearly* going from 2 to 4 cores. (Since there's 4 efficiency cores in both models, contributing approximately the same towards the results, scaling is better than the 90% figure!) This is a pretty big deal as it means that Apple's capable of building an interconnect that not only scales to at least 8 cores, but that power use for the interconnect is scaling well too.

    Until recently I was not convinced that putting an Ax chip in a MacBook was viable, but last year's A11 changed my mind. This puts the nail in the coffin of the idea that Apple can't scale their processors up to compete with the best 4-8 core processors Intel can build. Just using the tech on display in the A12x, replacing efficiency cores with performance cores, they could probably beat intel's best chips now. (There's some question as to how far they can push clocks on the current design without hitting a wall due to pipeline length, but in any case they're certainly close... and they haven't even tried to optimize for a laptop power envelope yet.)
    Thanks for your perspective. I'm not a techie, per se, but to me the fact that the new macbook air is so feature packed and impressive almost guarantees we'll be seeing a new MacBook with an A series chip in 2019.

    “- let’s call them “M” series chips - “

    Sorry after doing a little research I see they already have “M” chips for “Motion”. Maybe “X” for OSX? Whatever, doesn’t really matter.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 22
    Rayz2016 said:
    "That is roughly a 25-percent single-core gain and almost 50-percent multi-core."

    You guys are usually better at math. It's a more than 90% improvement on multi-core.

    From a hardware standpoint, this is really impressive. It means that the performance scales basically *linearly* going from 2 to 4 cores. (Since there's 4 efficiency cores in both models, contributing approximately the same towards the results, scaling is better than the 90% figure!) This is a pretty big deal as it means that Apple's capable of building an interconnect that not only scales to at least 8 cores, but that power use for the interconnect is scaling well too.

    Until recently I was not convinced that putting an Ax chip in a MacBook was viable, but last year's A11 changed my mind. This puts the nail in the coffin of the idea that Apple can't scale their processors up to compete with the best 4-8 core processors Intel can build. Just using the tech on display in the A12x, replacing efficiency cores with performance cores, they could probably beat intel's best chips now. (There's some question as to how far they can push clocks on the current design without hitting a wall due to pipeline length, but in any case they're certainly close... and they haven't even tried to optimize for a laptop power envelope yet.)
    Thanks for your perspective. I'm not a techie, per se, but to me the fact that the new macbook air is so feature packed and impressive almost guarantees we'll be seeing a new MacBook with an A series chip in 2019.
    I’m going to guess at 2020, but one is definitely on the way. 
    Probably.  The momentum is going this way.

    Lemon Bon Bon.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 22
    dws-2 said:
    Never have I been more impressed by a device, and seen no need for it. I have a 9.7" iPad Pro that I use for browsing the web on the couch. The new iPad is definitely something that I want, but without a way for me to use all that power, I can't see how it would improve my experience except for the larger screen.

    In another world (or maybe in a future world), it would be the ultimate computer, effortlessly switching between a computer and an iPad. Right now, I think the Verge said it best: It's like a high-speed train on rails, but chances are it's not going someplace useful to the average person.
    The power of these next-gen iPads is eye watering! But you’re right, currently there isn’t a way to take full advantage of it. I really hope Apple has taken note of this, and with the release of iOS13 for iPad next year, owners will be finally allowed to take full advantage of what these devices are capable of! But that might really hurt Mac sales, so I don’t know if they will have the courage 


    The courage to make them cheaper?  or the courage to be even greedier.

    Great update soiled and sullied by a £200 price rise.  That would be using the greed inflation index as opposed to the standard one us mere mortals get paid by.

    Lemon Bon Bon.
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