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9.7-inch iPad Pro FAQ: What you need to know about Apple's mini mega tablet

Roman Loyola | March 22, 2016
Apple's new iPad Pro has a few similarity with its bigger, older sibling. But it also sports major new features.

What else is the same/different between the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro?

If it wasn’t specially called out here, then it’s the same between the two models, such as the Wi-Fi channels, sensors, speakers, and Touch ID.

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro versus the iPad Air 2

Did Apple do anything to the iPad Air line during the March 21 event?

Apple did three things. First, the original iPad Air has been discontinued, so the only model in the line is the iPad Air 2. Second, the price of the iPad Air 2 has been reduced by $100. Third, there’s no longer a 128GB iPad Air 2; you choose between 16GB ($399) and 64GB ($499).

If you really want an original iPad Air, you may be able to find one in Apple’s Refurbished and Clearance store or on Amazon.

How much faster is the 9.7-inch iPad Pro than the iPad Air 2?

Apple says the A9X processor in the iPad Pro is 1.8 times faster than the A8X processor in the iPad Air 2. In our benchmarks of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the iPad Pro showed significant gains over the iPad Air 2. Expect to see similar results with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

Do the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and the iPad Air 2 have the same screen?

They have the same Retina resolution (2048x1536), but the iPad Air 2 doesn’t have the wide color gamut and True Tone. It also doesn’t support Apple Pencil.

Do the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and the iPad Air 2 have the same cameras?

The iPad Air 2’s iSight camera is essentially the same as the 12.9-inch iPad Pro: 8 megapixels stills, and 1080p video at 30 fps. The FaceTime camera, like the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, is a 1.2-megapxel photo camera with the ability to capture 720p video. So the 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a better set of cameras.

What about battery life?

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a built-in 27.5-watt-hour rechargeable battery. The iPad Air 2 has a built-in 27.3-watt-hour rechargeable battery. Apple says that the iPad Air 2 lasts ten hours, an hour longer than the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. However, the rated battery life for the cellular models is the same at 9 hours.

Will my iPad Air 2 case fit on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro?

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro and the iPad Air 2 have the same dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 0.24 inches. So iPad Air 2 cases should fit on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. How functional the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is in the case, however, is another issue. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has four speakers while the iPad Air 2 has two, so an iPad Air 2 case could possibly block the speakers at the top (vertically) of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Another thing that’s probably less of a concern is the Smart Connector; a case could block it, preventing you from using an encased iPad Pro with a keyboard. Most keyboards that use the Smart Connector also serve as a case, so this probably isn’t an issue.

 

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