Apple has always positioned its iPad Pro line as the computing device of the future. That vision continues to take shape with the 2018 models.
Today, we’re taking a look at four reasons to take the plunge and purchase the new 11-inch iPad, plus three reasons Apple’s newest tablet might not be for you.
Reasons to Buy the 11-Inch iPad Pro
While the new iPad Pro might not be for everyone, here are some great reasons to upgrade.
1. It Brings iPhone X Technology to the iPad Line
The iPhone X brought a number of new technologies into the fold, most notably Face ID. Thanks to the next-generation biometric technology, Apple bid farewell to the home button and Touch ID. In its place, Face ID uses special technology to recognize your face and unlock a device.
Despite some initial concern, Face ID works brilliantly and is easily one of the best parts of the iPhone X line. It works as quickly as Touch ID and is even more secure. As a big plus, since there’s no need for a home button and fingerprint scanner, the screen can take up the majority of the device. That means saying goodbye to bezels (mostly).
Now all these advantages are available on the 11-inch iPad Pro. Even though the overall dimensions are similar to the 10.5-inch model, the screen is half an inch larger since Apple didn’t have to worry about the home button.
Unlike the iPhone X line, there’s no notch on the screen for the Face ID sensor. So you’ll be able to use a tablet that’s almost all screen. And another big advantage compared to the iPhone is that Face ID on the iPad will work in both portrait and landscape mode.
If you’re wondering whether Face ID is safe to use, taking a closer look at how Face ID works can help you decide.
2. The USB-C Connection Opens Up a World of New Possibilities
Another big change to the 11-inch iPad Pro is smaller than the screen but easily as important. Instead of a Lightning connector for charging, Apple has made the move to USB-C.
That vastly expands the number of accessories you can use with an iPad. Some of the options include the ability to transfer data to and from devices like cameras; it can even drive up to a 5K external monitor. In fact, you’ll be able to charge an iPhone using the USB-C port on the iPad Pro, as long as you have the correct cable. Just make sure you know how to buy a USB-C cable that won’t destroy your device.
In the future, with updates to iOS, Apple could make the USB-C connection even more useful by supporting external storage devices and maybe even mice. And as USB-C continues to become the standard across the industry, Apple is setting up the iPad Pro to be a true computer replacement now and in the years to come.
3. It’s Made for the Present and the Future
Speaking of the future, the A12X Bionic processor powering the 11-inch (and revamped 12.9-inch) iPad Pro is made for the apps of the present and future. Thanks to a new performance controller, the device can use all eight cores of the processor simultaneously. This offers up to a 90 percent boost compared to the A10X processor in the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. Apple says that the processor is faster than a whopping 92 percent of portable PCs.
On the graphics side of the equation, the GPU provides up to twice the performance of the previous generation processor.
As both the hardware and software continue to mature, and with more true professional-grade apps available for iPad users, the current 11-inch iPad Pro should easily be able to handle the most demanding apps for many years to come.
4. Paired With the Apple Pencil, It’s Perfect for Creative Users
The iPad Pro isn’t the only device that Apple redesigned. One of the best parts of the iPad Pro experience has been the optional Apple Pencil. The first-generation stylus was a perfect way for you to draw, or to enhance your usual note-taking on the tablet.
And the newest model takes the original stylus and adds a number of much-needed improvements. The best news is that the annoying cap and Lightning connector are gone. In its place, the Apple Pencil will now magnetically attach to the tablet for both charging and pairing.
When using the stylus, which now offers a matte finish and a squared edge, you can double-tap to select a different tool or brush. Third-party developers will also be able to integrate the tap gesture into their Pencil-compatible apps.
Reasons Not to Buy the 11-inch iPad Pro
On the other side of the coin, there are some strong arguments why you should not buy the 11-inch iPad Pro and look for another Apple tablet.
1. It’s the Most Expensive iPad Pro Ever
You’re not dreaming; the 11-inch iPad Pro is a big step up in the price category. The 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB flavors of the Wi-Fi-only model are $150 more than the previous generation 10.5-inch iPad Pro. And the new 1TB version tops out at $1,549.
The second-generation Apple Pencil is $129, which is $30 more than the original. An Apple Smart Keyboard Folio, even though it offers complete protection, is $30 more expensive than the Smart Keyboard for the previous iPad Pro.
For a complete package of a Wi-Fi + Cellular 1TB iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and Apple Smart Keyboard Folio, you’ll be out $2,007. The same 12.9-inch model with all the accessories would be $2,207. That’s a steep price to pay—more than most of Apple’s high-end laptops.
2. iOS Software Lags Behind the iPad Pro Hardware
While the 11-inch iPad Pro hardware is made for the long haul, the same can’t be said for iOS. When Apple unveiled the iPad in 2010, the fact that both the iPhone and tablet used the same operating system (with access to the App Store) helped the iPad become popular so quickly.
Now those same two issues are arguably holding the iPad Pro back. Apple finally took the time to add a number of features specifically for the iPad in iOS 11. Even so, the OS still holds the iPad back from being a true multitasking powerhouse like a Mac.
On the app side, Apple has also been unable to convince developers to bring desktop-class offerings to iOS devices. With the change to subscription apps, that could eventually change. But it’s looking like a slow process.
3. The Future Leaves a Number of Features Behind
The 11-inch iPad Pro offers a number of impressive features. But it also leaves a number of others behind. One of the biggest of these is the headphone jack. Just like with the iPhone line, Apple made the choice to drop the ubiquitous audio port in the name of making the iPad smaller and thinner.
While you can still use wired headphones with the tablet, your purchase doesn’t even include a USB-C to 3.5mm jack adapter. After spending a cool thousand on an iPad, you’ll still need to purchase the $9 adapter separately. When using the adapter, you’ll be unable to charge the tablet. And forget your Lightning cable headphones, as those won’t work with the new USB-C port.
You’ll also have to say goodbye to Touch ID with the 11-inch iPad Pro. While Face ID works just as well, many users have grown fond of the fingerprint-based authentication method. Face ID requires some change as you need to look directly at the screen, so there’s no more unlocking an iPad lying on a table.
So if you’re averse to change, beware this model.
Taking the iPad Pro Name to Heart
If you’re looking for the most bleeding-edge technology in an Apple tablet, and have the money to spend, it’s hard to go wrong with the 11-inch iPad. It should easily meet your needs now and for many years to come.
But if you want to spend less money and mostly use your iPad for basic tasks like web surfing or watching videos, the 2018 iPad or the 10.5-inch iPad Pro should be more up your alley. Take a look at our iPad buying guide for more advice.