If you have been asking yourself, \"Which iPad should I buy\" and came up with the iPad Pro, then you are looking for the absolute best iPad that can take pretty much anything you throw at it. But since the iPad Pro comes in two sizes, 11-inch and 12.9-inch, it can be a little trickier to pick the right one for your needs. Let's take a closer look.
If you are the type of person who cares solely about internal specs, both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro are the same on the inside. Both feature Apple's new M1 chip, which has four performance cores and four efficiency cores, just like the M1 Macs. Let's look at both.
Overall, when it comes to \"which iPad should I buy,\" for the iPad Pros, we think the 11-inch model is the better pick for most people. It's much more lightweight and portable while still providing a ton of power with the M1 chip. With the M1 chip inside, you are getting a powerful iPad gaming machine, as well as a device that is no pushover when it comes to getting work done.
Again, for most people, the 11-inch iPad Pro should be more than enough. However, if you are a serious professional who is constantly dealing with high-brightness and high-contrast HDR content, then the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the best iPad for you, even more so if you opt for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model with 5G.
If you can adjust to smaller, more compact keyboard accessories, don't plan on drawing or handwriting notes too much, and don't work with HDR content, then the 11-inch iPad Pro (2021) should be good enough for you. Especially now that it has the M1 chip, it has plenty of power. It's also a much easier size to take with you, and you won't get tired of holding it. Plus, it starts at $300 less than the 12.9-inch and would be a great complement to any existing setup.
The A13 Bionic chip, which debuted on the iPhone 11, makes it one of the most powerful tablets for the price, and there are other welcome upgrades, like 64 GB of storage and True Tone, which adjusts the color temperature of the display to match the ambient lighting to look more natural. The real highlight is the front camera, which is 12 megapixels and supports Center Stage, the iPad Pro feature that moves the camera around during video calls so you always stay in the frame. (The camera placement is still a bit awkward.) It's worth highlighting that this iPad doesn't have a fully laminated display. That means there's an air gap between the screen and the glass, which can make interactions with the Apple Pencil feel a smidge imprecise.
Apple released a slew of new features with iPadOS 16. But there are a few that are only available on M1 and/or M2-powered iPad models, while others are exclusive to the iPad Pro. The iPad Air (2022, 5th gen), 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2021, 5th gen), and 11-inch iPad Pro (2021, 3rd gen) have an M1 chip, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2022, 6th gen) and 11-inch iPad Pro (2022, 4th gen) have an M2 chip. Below, we break down which features are available on what iPad model. Check our iPadOS 16 feature roundup for more details.
Apple no longer sells the iPad Air (2020), the iPad Mini 5 (2019), or the 10.2-inch iPad (2020), but if you find them refurbished or new, they'll still serve you well. Don't expect any of them to be your forever iPad, but they should last for a couple of years, at least. The latter two are compatible with the first-generation Apple Pencil, while the iPad Air supports the second-gen stylus. The Air and iPad also work with Apple's Smart Keyboard. Try not to pay more than $200 for the 2020 iPad, $250 for the iPad Mini 5, or more than $350 for the iPad Air 4. If you go any higher, you may as well buy the latest models. (They'll serve you much longer.)
If you're purchasing a new iPad, there are a variety of accessories you can buy to help you get the most out of your tablet. Below, we've highlighted some of our favorites, all of which you can find in our Best iPad Accessories guide.
Logitech K380 Bluetooth Keyboard for $40: If you prefer an external keyboard, it's hard to go wrong with the Logitech K380. It's lightweight and portable and can be connected to up to three devices via Bluetooth (with dedicated buttons to switch between them). The keyboard is powered by AAA batteries, which lasted us around four months, so you don't have to worry about carrying a charger around.
Apple Pencil (2nd-gen) for $129: Those using an iPad for drawing, note taking, or marking up documents should consider an Apple Pencil (2nd-gen). It glides across the display with low latency, is great for navigating iPadOS, and has handwriting support in multiple search fields so you don't have to use the keyboard to type. It's compatible with the iPad Air (4th gen and later), iPad Mini (6th gen), iPad Pro 11-inch (1st gen and later), and the 12.9-inch (3rd gen and later).
If you're looking to pick up a new iPad, whether you're buying for the first time or upgrading from an older model, there's a good selection to choose from. For the perfect combo of value and features, the iPad 10.9 is the best option for pretty much everyone. However, the iPad Pro, iPad Mini, and iPad Air each have their respective ups and downs, which could make them perfect for your particular needs.
Business users tempted by the iPad Pro should pause to remember that the 10th generation iPad 10.9 is also compatible with the iPad pencil. Apple have also released a Smart keyboard attachment, which it is selling for $159.
Perhaps the biggest change though is the Apple M2 chip, Apple's latest self-produced CPU, which Apple claims is much faster than its M1 predecessor. In short, the iPad Pro has always been the most powerful iPad, but now it's been given a huge boost, propelling it far beyond the capabilities of the rest of the range.
The tablet doesn't show any signs of stopping when faced with intensive graphical apps, thanks to that M2 CPU, which is why it's so appealing to designers and creatives. If you're simply browsing the internet and watching Netflix, then this iPad is overkill (although Stranger Things would certainly look incredible on that 12.9-inch display).
The $599 iPad Air comes with a 10.9-inch frame, which is now the same size thanks to the upgraded size of the iPad 10.9. It's also compatible with the Apple Pen and Smart Keyboard, which makes it a viable alternative to your laptop for a fraction of the price.
The iPad 10.9-inch and Pro, which both released new models in 2022, have a lot in common. Both offer ten-hour battery life, and both are compatible with the Apple Pencil, meaning you can make annotations on the screen, although only the Pro will work with the Apple Pencil 2.
When it comes to power, the new iPad 10.9 definitely has the edge, boasting the M2 chip, rather than the older A15 for the Mini. The Mini packs a front camera, which the iPad 10.9 is strangely missing, meaning that it could be appealing to those that need to be ready for a video conference on their tablet.
The last wave of iPads added more choice, but no clear stand-out best product. The 10th-gen iPad, released last fall, is more expensive than the ninth-gen iPad, which remains on sale. The 10th-gen model has a better-placed front-facing camera for video chats, a larger screen, a faster processor and USB-C charging, but needs its own cases and a weird dongle for charging the first-gen Pencil. It's a great pick if it's ever on sale, but expensive otherwise.
Meanwhile, the iPad Pros got better M2 processors, faster Wi-Fi 6E and 5G connectivity in late 2022, and a new \"Pencil hover\" tool for proximity-based previews of art tools. But its design remains the same and the front camera placement hasn't been fixed, which remains frustrating for anyone who was hoping to use the iPad Pro for work-based video chats when in landscape mode. Also, iPadOS is no closer to replacing your Mac, although Stage Manager's external monitor support offers a little more multiscreen multitasking.
There's a $120 starting price gap between the $329 entry-model ninth-gen, which remains in the line, and the new $449 10th-gen version. That gives the older model a bit of an edge over the new one, despite the latter's slightly larger display, side camera, better processor and USB-C connection -- especially if you only really need one of those upgrades, like the camera relocation. If you need all those upgrades and can afford it but don't need an M1 CPU, the step-up model makes sense.
Whichever model or screen size you go with, all the current iPads support the latest version of iPadOS (a version of iOS specifically for iPads) and either the first- or second-gen Apple Pencil -- though the most recently released 10th-gen model's Pencil support is less than elegant. Let's just say there's a dongle involved, which is rarely a good thing. Apple is supporting external monitors as an extended desktop for iPads with an M1 chip or better via a software update to iPadOS 16 that's coming later this year, but the feature, called Stage Manager, remains buggy and feels experimental.
No matter what iPad you buy, there are ways of connecting keyboard cases, Bluetooth and otherwise, although your options will vary. That's good news for anyone who wants to do more than stream videos and music, browse websites and play Apple Arcade games. Plus, all the current iPad models support mouse and trackpad use, for a more MacBook-like experience. The Apple Magic Keyboard is compatible with the iPad Pro and iPad Air, but not the 10th-gen iPad (which has a new Magic Keyboard Folio case instead).
The step-up new entry-level iPad has a whole new design and now has USB-C, a faster A14 chip and a larger display. Its best feature, though, is a repositioned front-facing camera that finally centers video chats properly in landscape mode, which is how most people use their iPads when they're connected to keyboard cases. If you're someone who needs to Zoom a lot on an iPad, this is worth the extra price over the ninth-gen model if you can afford it. The downside is the bizarre lack of support for the Pencil 2, requiring you to use a first-gen Pencil and a USB-C charge dongle (not included) for sketches and note-taking. 59ce067264