Ars reviews Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad Pro: What makes something ‘Pro’ anyway?

“If you’re Apple, how do you decide what constitutes a ‘Pro’ device? Is it in the specs? Usually Pro products are faster and offer more storage and RAM than their non-Pro counterparts,” Andrew Cunningham writes for Ars Technica. “Is it something special about the hardware and software? Often, yes, Pro products have specialized features that non-Pro products either get later or don’t get at all. Is it about the kinds of tasks they can perform? Sort of. Most Pro and non-Pro products run the same software, but the Pro can perform actions faster and better thanks to the aforementioned hardware improvements.”

“Some Pro products are also more ‘Pro’ than others. There’s a huge gap between the lowest-end Mac Pro and the highest-end version of the same machine,” Cunningham writes. “Keep all of this in mind as you consider the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.”

“In some ways, it is decidedly more ‘Pro’ than the iPad Air 2 it kind of, sort of replaces—the new iPad Pro is faster, and it supports the Smart Connector and Apple Pencil. Its screen technology is more advanced, and in some ways it’s even better than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro Apple released in the fall,” Cunningham writes. “But this new release isn’t quite as big and it isn’t quite as fast. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro also shares a few areas of overlap with the iPad Air 2, which is still hanging around at lower new and refurbished price points. It’s Pro, in the context of the rest of the iPad lineup, but it’s not the most Pro.”

Read more in the full review – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Sometimes, Split View – a heavily used feature for most “Pro” users – is just a little bit too small on the 9.7-inch display vs. iPad Pro’s much more generous 12.9-inch display.

AnandTech reviews Apple’s iPad Pro: ‘Size is something that feels like it should have been done from the start’ – January 22, 2016
ZDNet reviews Apple’s iPad Pro: A genuine alternative to a laptop for business users – November 20, 2015
Dalrymple: ‘I don’t want an iPad to replace my Mac’ – November 19, 2015
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TIME Magazine reviews iPad Pro: ‘The best computer Apple has ever made’ – November 16, 2015
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A designer’s take on the iPad Pro – November 13, 2015
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Wired reviews Apple’s iPad Pro: ‘The best tablet, and the best case for tablets, anyone’s ever made’ – November 11, 2015
Horace Dediu reviews Apple’s iPad Pro: Unlike anything we’ve ever seen before – November 11, 2015
Ben Bajarin reviews Apple’s iPad Pro: ‘The start of something new’ – November 11, 2015
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Gruber reviews Apple’s iPad Pro: A MacBook replacement for many
Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mossberg reviews Apple’s iPad Pro: Graphics folks will love it, but I’m sticking with my iPad Air – November 11, 2015
The Verge reviews Apple’s iPad Pro: Could this replace my MacBook? – November 11, 2015


  1. “Pro” is more of a buzzword. I guarantee you that the name Pro is really nothing more than a marketing tool. A lot of these “pro” features should have just been implemented on the iPad to begin with.

    1. Those that weren’t in the original iPad were missing either because the tech wasn’t there yet, or was too expensive at the time to put in the product.

      It’s not always because Apple engineering hates you personally.

  2. Let me take a wild stab at it:

    External ports

    Options to run either mobile or Desktop OS

    Option for up to a terabyte of space for a reasonable amount of money

    Access to best of breed, true Desktop class applications

    I see none of this in the IPP.

    Still, I just purchased a slightly used, 32GB Space Gray, 12.9 inch IPP on eBay for $645… because I always wanted a giant iPad!


  3. Never liked the Apple use of “Pro.”

    What are the rest of the devices, then? Are they “Amateur” models?

    I have always disliked Apple’s use of “Genius,” too. When a competent computer specialist can be called a genius, that dilutes the meaning of the word.

    I don’t like the name, but I still love my 2013 12-inch Macbook Pro.

  4. I agree with MDN about the importance of SplitView. And I feel the second iteration of the big IPP will be worth the wait. Not only is SV important, but so are the other temporarily missing features. I am WAY past due upgrading my iPad but, because they last so long, I want to be sure it will last a bit longer.

    At some point, the iPad and MacBooks will merge.

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