Comparing the 11-inch versus 12.9-inch 2020 iPad Pro

Posted:
in iPad edited March 2020
The new 2020 iPad Pros are powerful, stunning, and better than ever. We take a closer look at both sizes of the 2020 iPad Pro to see what the differences are in specs as well as what it is really like to use the larger or smaller versions.

The 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros
The 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros

Specs and features

One of the most common questions we receive ask if there is any difference in specs or performance between, say, the entry-level 11-inch iPad Pro and the maxed-out 12.9-inch iPad Pro. We are happy to say that no, there is absolutely no difference and you won't be losing out on any performance by going for the smaller 11-inch iPad Pro over the 12.9.






Between the two, the processors, internals, and other specifications are exactly the same, with the only difference being the larger display. The 11-inch has a 2388-by-1668 display at 264 pixels per inch while the 12.9-inch comes in at 2732-by-2048 at the same pixel density.

That means you don't get a better display either, just a larger one, by going with the 12.9-inch.

Both devices run the same software and have the same accessories. They both work with the second-generation Apple Pencil and can be connected to the Smart Keyboard Folio or upcoming Magic Keyboard.

Keyboards

Speaking of keyboards, if you do a significant amount of typing on your iPad Pro, the 12.9-inch is a far better option for two distinct reasons.

On-screen keyboard displayed on the 11-inch (left) and 12.9-inch (right) iPad Pros
On-screen keyboard displayed on the 11-inch (left) and 12.9-inch (right) iPad Pros


The first is the on-screen keyboard. Going from the 11-inch to the 12.9, the keyboard covers up far less of the display. Depending on the app, you can get far less usable space on the 11-inch model. The 12.9-inch takes up less than half the screen while the 11-inch is more than half the screen.

Then there's the physical Smart Keyboard Folio.

Comparing the Mac's Magic Keyboard to the iPad Pro's 12.9-inch Smart Keyboard Folio
Comparing the Mac's Magic Keyboard to the iPad Pro's 12.9-inch Smart Keyboard Folio


With this, the 12.9-inch has a full-sized keyboard. Comparing it to our Mac's keyboard, they are the same size. This makes a world of difference when you move between a desktop or laptop and your iPad Pro. Your fingers gain a sense of muscle memory and when the keyboard keeps changing sizes, your fingers trip up and you make more mistakes.

The 11-inch iPad Pro has a compressed keyboard and doesn't align with how your fingers were trained. It is still a solid keyboard, but requires your fingers to "relearn" the key placement each time.

Multitasking

An 11-inch (left) and 12.9-inch (right) iPad Pro with two apps in split view, one app in slider over, and a movie playing in PiP
An 11-inch (left) and 12.9-inch (right) iPad Pro with two apps in split view, one app in slider over, and a movie playing in PiP


Another significant differentiator is multitasking, as a lot of users don't take full advantage of the multitasking abilities iPad Pro has. At the same time, you can open two apps side-by-side in split view, bring in another via slide over, and watch a movie in picture-in-picture.

If you do that on both displays, there is a stark contrast regarding what you can see. The 11-inch iPad Pro has very little usable space -- even less if you tried to open up the keyboard to type.

The 12.9-inch, on the other hand, has plenty of space and is easy to write on while looking at a source, while monitoring your Twitter feed, while the news is playing in the background, or whatever your second task happens to be. It is a lot going on, but is manageable on the larger display.

Portability

A larger screen may inherently lend itself to more productivity, but it is hard to beat the compact size of the 11-inch. The 11-inch is a true workhorse in a small body and if you tote it around frequently, the 11-inch size may be the way to go.

We've been steadfast users of the 12.9-inch due to multitasking capabilities and the necessary space for video editing, but spending a few days again using the 11-inch has made us love that more compact size. Icons are a bit smaller -- which is good if you like fitting more onto a smaller display but bad if you have problems with your eyes.

The 11-inch iPad Pro is not only the most powerful iPad, but it is the physically smallest other than the iPad mini. That is a great tradeoff if you want both power and portability.

We also prefer the 11-inch when it comes to media consumption. It is lighter and more comfortable to hold for long bouts of time while reading, playing games, or kicking back to watch a video.

Reading on the iPad Pro
Reading on the iPad Pro


In the end, it is hard for us to with any degree of certainty recommend one over the other. We are fond of the 12.9-inch for its display and production values but love how easy the 11-inch is to carry around.

If you fall into one camp over another, hopefully the decision is easy for you when picking up your new tablet.

Lowest prices on Apple's 2020 iPad Pro

Instant discounts on Apple's new 2020 iPad Pro are already in effect, with the latest deals at your fingertips in the AppleInsider 2020 11-inch iPad Pro Price Guide and 2020 12.9-inch iPad Pro Price Guide.

2020 11" iPad Pro deals 2020 12.9" iPad Pro savings

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    The 12.9" really is a specialized tablet, as much as Apple is trying to push it for general use. I have the 11" Pro and without some need for graphics content generation/manipulation I can't imagine having it for general use - just too big and heavy.
    Ayeshanehar
  • Reply 2 of 15
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,182member
    The 12.9" is far better for media consumption and only fails in this regard because it's difficult "as is" to hold for significant periods, plus most cases add considerable weight.  I would argue the 11" suffers the same failing.  My solution is to use a Zerochroma Solo stick-on stand to either prop the iPad on a surface or to use as a handle. It adds very little weight. Unfortunately, the Solo was discontinued a few years ago. Fortunately, I stockpiled several and identified replacement 3M sticky tape used to secure the Solo to the iPad. A light-weight, removable handle/stand is a major opportunity for 3rd parties, if they would just wake up. IMHO any accessory that makes the combination with iPad nearly as heavy as a MacBook Air is a loser.
    edited March 2020 Morklkruppcornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 15
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    I still use a 10.5 Pro which I love, and you'd think that the obvious next iPad for me would be the 11" Pro, but nope, I plan to get the next gen 12.9".

    It all depends on individual usage, and I don't bring my iPad outside a lot or carry it around too often. I recently saw the 12.9" size in a store and I knew that's the one for me. My iPad mostly sits on a table on a stand, so the 12.9" will be a good match for me and my usage.

    I've owned all sizes of iPads, the  7.9" mini, the 9.7, the 10.2, the 10.5, and the next logical step is to also own the largest size. Hell, maybe Apple can make a 14" iPad Pro. Who cares if it's not that portable?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 15
    You should say that on 12.9” the apps with split screen are extended and complete, while on 11” apps are resized. For example iMessage app next to another like safari, on 12,9, you see the column with contact on the left, and on the right the conversation. It’s not important, but to someone should know about compact view on iPad with screen under 12.9”
    WarrenBuffduckhwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 15
    apple ][ said:
    I still use a 10.5 Pro which I love, and you'd think that the obvious next iPad for me would be the 11" Pro, but nope, I plan to get the next gen 12.9".

    It all depends on individual usage, and I don't bring my iPad outside a lot or carry it around too often. I recently saw the 12.9" size in a store and I knew that's the one for me. My iPad mostly sits on a table on a stand, so the 12.9" will be a good match for me and my usage.

    I've owned all sizes of iPads, the  7.9" mini, the 9.7, the 10.2, the 10.5, and the next logical step is to also own the largest size. Hell, maybe Apple can make a 14" iPad Pro. Who cares if it's not that portable?
    I just upgraded from the 2018 11” IPP to the 12.9” and it’s amazing the difference the larger screen makes, especially when running apps side by side. Very happy with my decision to go with the larger size iPad this time around. I understand everyone’s use case is different but for me the 12.9” IPP is perfect.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 15
    davendaven Posts: 693member
    I'm on the fence between the two sizes. Points for me are that I do want to do some video editing so the larger one is preferred. However, the editing and much of the use will be while camping and along with using it for a navigation display in my truck so the smaller one is the better option there. I have to decide which compromise works best for me. What I'm leaning towards is the 11" model with external keyboard and trackpad and using an external monitor when stationary and an inexpensive case plus the pencil while I'm mobile. I wouldn't be doing any intense work unless I'm at a desk anyway. I know the monitor out only mirrors the screen. Have any of you used the 11" that way?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 15
    daven said:
    I'm on the fence between the two sizes. Points for me are that I do want to do some video editing so the larger one is preferred. However, the editing and much of the use will be while camping and along with using it for a navigation display in my truck so the smaller one is the better option there. I have to decide which compromise works best for me. What I'm leaning towards is the 11" model with external keyboard and trackpad and using an external monitor when stationary and an inexpensive case plus the pencil while I'm mobile. I wouldn't be doing any intense work unless I'm at a desk anyway. I know the monitor out only mirrors the screen. Have any of you used the 11" that way?
    I’m a photographer and used the 11 to do photo editing while traveling. Overall it worked well, but I think this is where the 12.9 really shines.  
    davenwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 15
    normmnormm Posts: 653member
    How can you have a comparison and not mention the weight?  1lb vs 1.4lbs.

    StrangeDays
  • Reply 9 of 15
    With multi-tasking being so confusing and unintuitive, simply go for the largest
  • Reply 10 of 15
    I've been in love with the 12.9" since it first came out. With the enhancements to multi-tasking over time, it has only gotten better. I still have the 1st-gen model, while my wife has the 2018 model. I let her know it was my turn to upgrade last night... and got serious push back. I expect she doesn't realize the upcoming case works w/ the 2018 model...
    edited March 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 15
    lovemnlovemn Posts: 52member
    I’ve bought my last few iPads with 256 g of memory. Is that enough considering how much information is store in Apple’s Cloud? Thanks for your assistance. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 15
    Having had the original 12.9" iPP for four years, I’m going with the same size 2020 model, which, by the way, arrives mañana!

    ¡Arriba, Arriba! ¡Ándale, Ándale!

    Got a little excited there. Whew. 

    My thinking is the price difference is minimal compared to the 11" one, and I get to use a full size keyboard, which is important. (Can’t wait you order the new Magic Keyboard in May!)

    When showing photos, movies, etc., to someone in person, it’s good to have the larger size screen. Sure, the 12.9" is heavier and bulkier
    than the 11", but I’m fine with the trade off. 


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 15
    lovemn said:
    I’ve bought my last few iPads with 256 g of memory. Is that enough considering how much information is store in Apple’s Cloud? Thanks for your assistance. 
    I can say I’m going from 128GB storage on my 2015 to 512GB on the 2020 one, thinking about where I’ll be with it in four years or so. Just wanted more space for movie projects. I’m fine with most data in iCloud, but it’s imperative to store important projects where I don’t have to worry about getting it off iCloud. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 15
    Just a crap comparison,.....lazy and informs you of nothing,.....how about, for example, sound quality, battery performance, etc,....
    tht
  • Reply 15 of 15
    jdb8167jdb8167 Posts: 626member
    I’ve owned the 12.9” iPad Pro for two different generations and the 10.5” once and now the latest 11”. It is very difficult to decide between them. The article does a good job describing the difficulty. The portability of the 11” inch for the power can’t be beat. It is just flat-out more convenient to have with you. The 12.9” is just large enough to be annoying to lug around, especially when paired with the Smart Keyboard Folio. But the battery life, extra screen real estate, and larger keyboard of the 12.9” can’t be beat for multitasking and productivity. I’m not an illustrator or artist but I imagine the 12.9’s larger canvas is helpful for that too. The 11” is fine for note taking.

    I still have my 2018 12.9” iPad Pro and the new 11” making it easy; I don’t have to decide right now. Given that the CPU is nearly identical between the two, I’m probably just going to trade off as needed. 
    watto_cobra
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