The Apple iPad has been on some sort of identity crisis for the past year or so. Or perhaps, tablets are not the devices we all thought they were a few years ago. Well, the case of the iPad Pro (9.7) further exemplifies the problem with tablets for professionals and climbs out of reach for a lot of consumers. This is my review of the Apple iPad Pro (9.7).
While in 2015, Apple gave us a 12.9-inch monster of a tablet, the new iPad Pro is much more familiar. Coming in the original iPad size with a 9.7-inch 2048x1536 IPS panel and the same 6.1mm thickness found on the iPad Air 2. Though there are some notable differences from both the Air 2 and the Pro 12.9 and that all begins with its new display. While pixel density and size remains constant, Apple has installed some new ambient light sensors that not only measure the light intake but also the color surrounding you and automatically adjusts the color temperature of the panel. They call it their True Tone display. And while it's on, it definitely works and it's definitely noticeable. But I'm not super sure I like it. I think it's most useful when you're reading a book when it's dark but iOS 9.3 has a feature similar called Night Shift, which does exactly the same thing.
Also, the display itself is brighter now at 500 nits of brightness but honestly, I've never complained about a lack of clarity or brightness on any previous iOS device. The iPad Pro (9.7) also adopts its four-speaker setup from the larger iPad Pro making this basically on par with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro in audio quality.
Lastly, the new change that neither the 12.9 or the Air 2 have is the new 12MP camera. The new Pro adopts the same 12MP 4K camera that is found on the iPhone 6S, SE, and 6S Plus. And with that, it also adopts the camera hump. And while it's an eyesore, it doesn't make the iPad Pro wobble on a table due to its larger size.
Spec-wise, the iPad Pro (9.7) packs the same A9X processor though a little under clocked and 2GB of RAM, 2GB less than what's found on the iPad Pro (12.9). Why? I really don't know. Perhaps they think the smaller displays don't require the same amount of grunt and power and to an extent, they are correct but I'd rather have more power than inadequate power but Apple's never done that sort of thing before. Performance-wise, the iPad Pro reacts and responds in the same way as the 12.9. Compared to the Air 2, it's definitely an increase across the board. Upload times are always shrinking but raw performance is pretty close to the iPad Pro (12.9). The grunt really comes in handy when you're running two applications on split-screen in landscape mode. Though again, I've never had any issues with any previous iPads in terms of multi-tasking. That brings me back to my earlier point of how iPads are getting less relevant as time goes on. The Pro moniker doesn't really make sense anymore. The only way this is a Pro machine is for someone who isn't incorporating the Apple Pencil, an extra $99 option for the creative bunch of course. I use my Apple Pencil for complex notetaking in school because we don't have keyboards full of Greek and Latin symbols. But if you find yourself in not in any of those two groups, the Pencil and the iPad Pro is pretty much useless. The price going up to $599 for the base model is kind of foolish.
The iPad Pro (9.7) is literally an iPad Air 3 in my opinion and the Pro moniker attached adds an extra $100 to its price tag. There is nothing pro about the new iPad Pro, both 12.9 and 9.7. I understand the increase price for the 12.9 because it's a physically larger iPad. But for the 9.7, Apple have kind of crossed the line of being really ridiculous. The iPad Pro (9.7) delivers exactly the same experience that the less expensive iPad Air 2 delivers-- same display technology caveat to that True Tone display, same battery life with 10 hours, and yeah you do miss out on hardware and the new speakers but to me, it's not worth the now $200 price difference.
So those are my thoughts on the iPad Pro (9.7), one step forward yet two steps back or more like five steps back.