2nd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro: A Review

There are a slew of reviews for the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro. With it being a new screen size, this makes sense. However, there have been a lot fewer posts about the 2nd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. As an owner of the first generation 12.9-inch, I thought it would be a good idea to provide my thoughts on the upgrade.

Back in 2015, I did an initial thoughts post about the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. I had intended to do a full review post, but I did not end up writing one. So this will be my review of the iPad Pro. Within the post will be some comparisons between the two models.

Commonalities

There are a number of similarities between the two models. This includes the screen size at 12.9-inches, a screen resolution of 2048×2732 pixels, the amount of memory at 4GB, the number of speakers with 4, they both work with the Apple Pencil, and they both are capable of charging with the 29 watt charger, with a USB-C to lightning cable. There have been some significant improvements with the screen.

An additional similarity that the two iPads share is that most accessories that worked with the first generation 12.9-inch iPad will work with the second generation. There are a few exceptions, but these will be covered later.

When you use Split View on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, you get two full-sized iPad apps next to each other. This is still the case on the second generation.

ProMotion

The most notable change with the 2nd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the screen. In particular, the refresh rate. The new iPad Pro is capable of handling up to 120Hz. Combining this with the new A10X Fusion processor. ProMotion enables the iPad Pro to adjust the refresh rate to accommodate what is being done at that moment. For instance, if you are watching a movie that is outputting at 24 frames per second, the display can adjust to 24 frames per second. This is possible because 24 divides evenly into 120.

ProMotion provides more than just the ability to reduce the frame rate. The 120Hz refresh rate provides a smoother scrolling experience. When you first observe it, the scrolling seems strange, however it is something that you will become accustom to quite quickly. The hardest part is going back to a device that does not have ProMotion. The animations on non-ProMotion devices will begin to look choppy in comparison.

The Display

Besides the new refresh rate, there have been some major improvements to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s screen. In particular, it now supports the P3 Wide Color Gamut. What this means is that any photos that use the Wide Color Gamut will be able to display all of the colors. This could be photos taken on an iPhone 7, or 7 Plus, or created on a Mac that supports P3.

True Tone

An additional change to the iPad Pro display is the addition of True Tone. True Tone was initially released on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. True Tone is the ability for iOS to adjust the color temperature of the screen in a manner which best suits the current usage. This is done by taking in the ambient light at the time and subtly adjusting the colors so that the display will look consistent in all environments. True Tone also takes into account any Night Shift settings. If you have Night Shift on, and you have the screen set for a color, it will try to match that as well. Sometimes, when I am using the iPad and the screen adjusts without really seeing it adjust. When any iOS device adjusts its brightness you can easily watch as it adjusts. True Tone is not as easy to notice, at least not during my usage.

Cameras

One of the aspects of an iPad that most people may not think about is the camera. This is likely because when the iPad was initially released in 2010, it did not even have a camera. Alongside this, the camera in the iPads did not begin to have decent cameras until the 3rd Generation iPad, but really did not become modern until the iPad Air 2. The entire iPad Pro line has always had at least an 8 megapixel camera for the back. The 2nd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro sports a 12MP ƒ/1.8 camera. This is the same camera that is in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, with one exception. The iPad Pro is capable of 3x optical zoom whereas the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are capable of 2x. You can absolutely notice the difference in the pictures taken between the two iPads. A couple of examples are below.

1st Generation iPad Pro
2nd Generation iPad Pro

Facetime Camera

The biggest camera upgrade has come with the FaceTime camera. That has gone from a 1.2 megapixel, ƒ/2.2 aperture to a 7-megapixel photos that supports 1080p HD video recording and even has support for the Wide Color Gamut (P3).

Apple Pencil

The original Apple Pencil still works with the 2nd Generation iPad, as one would expect. The Apple Pencil can be recognized at 240Hz, even while the refresh rate for other areas on the screen may be lower. This is definitely an advantage for those using an Apple Pencil.

iOS 11

The iPad Pro works perfectly well on iOS 10, but it will absolutely shine when iOS 11 is released in fall. The addition of Drag and Drop, the Dock, and app groups will be a great upgrade for all iPad Pro owners.

Final Thoughts

I could go on and on about the 2nd Generation iPad Pro. The fact that it is lighter than the previous model, or that there is now an embedded Apple SIM for the cell models, or that the Touch ID is faster. But those are things that you will experience. Overall though, the 2nd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a great upgrade from the 1st generation model. If you are looking to get an iPad, and think the iPad Pro is what you want, you will not be disappointed.