Which size iPad Pro — 11-inch or 12.9-inch — should you choose?

If you’re in the market for an iPad Pro, choosing the ideal model size is not easy. Which size iPad Pro — 11-inch or 12.9-inch — should you choose?

Which size iPad Pro? Image: Apple's iPad Pro 11-inch and 12.9-inch models come in Silver and Space Gray
Apple’s iPad Pro 11-inch and 12.9-inch models come in Silver and Space Gray

It used to be simpler, back when the big option was made bigger by its bezels, and the small option had a significantly smaller display. I’ve used a 12.9-inch iPad Pro as my primary computer for five years, and have been very happy with it, but as the smaller iPad Pro’s display has grown, I’ve become more intrigued by it,” Ryan Christoffel writes for MacStories:

The 11-inch iPad Pro is a fantastic device, and I may revisit it in the future, but for now retaining my 2018 12.9-inch model seems best. Primarily because it means saving a lot of money, since I can simply return the 2020 11-inch for a full refund…

My ease in adapting to each screen size makes clear to me that you really can’t go wrong with either model. The two devices are close enough in size that both can function well as primary computers for most people.

This is probably too general of advice, but I’d recommend that if you expect to regularly use your iPad Pro as a tablet, the 11-inch will likely be your best option. If, however, you expect to use it almost entirely with a Magic Keyboard attached, the 12.9-inch is a good bet. Both devices can work in both modes, but the 11-inch is a better tablet, and the 12.9-inch is a better laptop.

MacDailyNews Take: If you want a “laptop,” we recommend buying a MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro. An iPad Pro is a tablet first, regardless of how many accessories you attach to it in order to try to make it work like the MacBook you really wanted.

We find that there are many older users longing to make iPad work like a laptop, because that’s what they know. Take a look at a twelve-year-old who’s only really ever used an iPad for personal computing. It’s an eyeopener. It’s like looking into the future. The answer isn’t to try to make the iPad into a MacBook. The answer is to provide all the tools possible in iOS for developers to make robust apps that can take advantage of the multi-touch paradigm. — MacDailyNews, May 16, 2017

20 Comments

  1. Twelve-year-olds can get away with bad body mechanics, they’re not doing adult work either. Most of us have to think about ergonomics and the Magic Keyboard is a step in the right direction. Lounging on your bed or hunching over a table isn’t an efficient way to do things anyway. I really hope “the future” isn’t a social media fuelled, Idiocracy-style dystopia.

    1. All of my artist related friends have Apple products. They communicate using iPhone or iPad via FaceTime when they want to see artwork. Today, for example, I am scheduled to give a curator in Los Angeles a so-called “virtual tour” of my art studio and its artwork. Unlike my friends, I have never done this so I am a bit apprehensive. I tested it with my girlfriend who is currently visiting Italy. She commented that it was jerky. Maybe I’ll attach the iPad on the tripod. The attachment costs $25.

        1. I see. You don’t have an answer. You’re just spouting BS for the sake of it. And here I thought you might have an interesting perspective to share on what makes a phone call.

          1. Hil-lie-ry C-lie-nton, auramac. Just like her husband is known as Billie. Both of them think that “it all starts with belief”, but we really know that with those two “it all starts with lie”.

            Hence Hilliery.

            Thelo: it would be nice for iPads to make physical calls like Samsung tablets can. There are places where there’s a phone signal but no cellular data. That’s difference it makes.

            Still, there are surprisingly large parts of the US, even on freeways, that have no cellular coverage at all. Really poor form from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint et al.

    2. Whether or not you use VOIP or Cellular, I mean? I’m pretty much always near my iPad Pro. I’m always taking and receiving phone calls on it. I tend to only look for my phone when I prepare to leave the house. Sometimes I use SKYPE, most of the time I don’t. I often use VONAGE. I often use the same phone number as my phone. Even when it’s dead or not around. So I’m wondering why you don’t think you can make phone calls on an iPad?

      1. Because if you are away from your phone or a data network, you can’t make calls on an iPad. That said, you are right for the situations you are in, making calls on a iPad does work.

  2. I mostly use my iPad Pro with keyboard and on a desk, be that in my office, at a coffee shop, or in hotel room. I do often use on my lap on the sofa, but rarely use slouched in bed (the iPhone is best then). I have the 12.9” and that really suits me – it does not seem too large since the 2018 iPad Pro came out with smaller bezels. I use an iPad Pro mostly for what others use a MacBook because I prefer the overall iPad experience – the touch screen, the adaptability and more structured interface. When I have to use a Mac for software requirements I do not enjoy the experience – it seems old fashioned and I don’t feel connected. The iPad feels the future and is a pleasure everyday to use – and I do use an average 12 hours a day.

  3. I’m probably going to be doing a lot of media consumption out on my deck, so I want the biggest picture I can get (without extending cables through the basement and renting another cable box).

    And I plan on using it and Sidecar for photo editing. It will not be leaving the house often, and I will also want the bigger keyboard for writing and internetting….

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