iPad Pro vs iPad Air 2 Specs, Size, and Features: What's New?

By Alex Blake on at

After what seems like an absolute eternity of rumours and speculation, Apple has officially revealed the giant-sized iPad Pro to the world. It's a Surface-like device that's aimed at the people who want a work device that can replace their laptops, but just how different is it from the iPad Air 2 that Apple announced last year? Let's take a look.

Screen dimensions

The iPad Pro is the big brother of the iPad family. You know, the slightly intimidating one that you admire nonetheless in a sort of reverent awe. While the iPad Air 2 measured 9.7 inches across the screen, the iPad Pro comes in at 12.9 inches (as the rumours correctly predicted). Why? It's simple, you silly goose. The height of the iPad Air 2 is the width of the iPad Pro. Like back when you folded an A4 page to make an A5 card, but in reverse. Sort of. You know what we mean.

As for the screen resolution, the Air 2 clocked in at 2048x1536 pixels. Not bad, but dwarfed by the Pro and its 2732x2048 pixel resolution. That's 5.6 million of the buggers – more than a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. Take that, society.

Oh, and Apple has introduced a variable refresh rate, allowing it to slow things down and save energy used by the display. So you can while away the hours doodling a strange variety of penises, or whatever it is you people do these days.

Size & Weight

If you've ever used the original iPad, you'll know its weight lies somewhere between a large rock and the Brooklyn Bridge. It's a thick, heavy slab that requires at least three arms to hold – years after its release, it's looking pretty unwieldy. Apple realised this didn't make much sense in what is a portable computer, hence the birth of the iPad Air range. The iPad Air 2 weighed in at a feather-light 0.96lbs, taking iPad from the realm of 'portly' to 'portable'.

iPad Pro is, of course, heavier, coming in at a reasonable 1.57lbs. Considering the 1.54lbs of the original iPad, that's pretty good going – the Pro is much bigger and far more powerful but a measly 0.03lbs heavier.

It's also slightly thicker than the Air 2 – 6.9mm compared to 6.1mm – but in practice you're probably not going to notice that. The Pro is designed for professional creative and productivity tasks so you'll likely have it resting on a desk or your lap (slowly killing your sperm) rather than holding it in one hand, so its increased size and weight over the Air 2 ultimately shouldn't mean much.

Sound

The iPad Pro rumours were pretty on point, as the Pro is going to come with four speakers – the first time an iOS device has had this capability. The iPad Air 2 only came with two, and that was cool, but we didn't know any better back then. We were naive, neglected even. The iPad Pro is going to be louder now, with three times the volume capabilities of the Air 2. Not only that, but the four speakers on the Pro will automatically balance from left to right and top to bottom depending on how you're holding it. Smart.

Processor

Powering the iPad Air 2's functions is Apple's 64-bit A8X processing chip, but Apple has upgraded that in the Pro to the A9X chip. That brings double the bandwidth to memory and higher read/write performance. Apple claims it'll be 1.8 times faster than the A8X. Considering you'll be throwing some pretty heavy duty tasks at it, the Pro should be able to handle them better than any previous iOS device.

Audience

All these stats and specifics are fine, but who is the Pro aimed at compared to the Air 2? The rumours had it pinned as a business tool, something for people who want to work with multiple documents alongside each other, or order more braces and pinstripe shirts, or other businessman things. Certainly to a degree, that's correct, and Apple made a point of it by invited Microsoft – yes, Microsoft – on stage to talk about how the Pro is perfect for the entrepreneurial-minded young go-getter.

The iPad Air 2 was never aimed at this audience, and that immediately sets the Pro apart. But where they come closer together is the world of the creative professional. But while what you could do on the iPad Air 2 was limited by both its processing power and its dimensions, the Pro sweeps these concerns aside. The better processor enables it to run (and edit) three 4K video streams alongside each other, bringing it much closer to desktop performance. Add in the Apple Pencil stylus and the Pro looks much more like the real deal than its Air 2 compadre.


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