Apple’s original iPad Pro is a 12.9-inch beast of a tablet. As it turns out, some people have found it to be a bit too beastly. Which is why Apple has unveiled a smaller 9.7-inch version — still called, appropriately enough, the iPad Pro.
This latest member of the iPad family packs the same high-powered engine as the full-size iPad Pro into the slim, lightweight body of the iPad Air 2.
I got some hands-on time with the new Pro and already prefer it to its larger sibling.
Technically speaking, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro might be a new machine. But its look and design have been lifted straight from Apple’s iPad Air 2. The new Pro doesn’t just look like the Air 2; it’s actually the same size and weight as Apple’s older slate.
And I like that. I actually found the full-size iPad Pro too unwieldy to work well as a tablet. It felt like Apple had given the Air 2 some growth hormones and sent it out to market. To be completely honest, the 12.9-inch Pro felt cartoonishly large to me.
I find the 9.7-inch iPad Pro to be far more manageable. While I can see why certain professionals might want the 12.9-inch Pro’s enormous display, for the rest of us, the 9.7-inch Pro hits a sweet spot between size and performance.
Smaller screen, newer tricks
Like the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the 9.7-inch Pro gets Apple’s sharp, 264-pixels-per-inch Retina display. That means images look incredibly sharp and detailed.
What makes the 9.7-inch Pro’s screen different from the larger 12.9-inch version are two new screen technologies: True Tone display and Wide Color display.
True Tone uses four ambient light sensors on the front of the iPad to automatically adjust the screen’s white balance based on the lighting around you. So if you’re sitting in a room with traditional incandescent lights that give off a warm glow, the iPad Pro’s display will take on a warmer color. If you’re in a room with cooler lighting, the screen will take on a bluer tone.
The purpose of this kind of screen is to make the iPad’s display feel more like paper (which naturally reflects the ambient light). If you’re in warmly lit room, and the screen has the same kind of glow, it should feel more comfortable to view.
Wide Color allows the iPad Pro to display the same color gamut as Apple’s 5K iMac. That means the slate can create more colors than the iPad Air 2, which is important if you’re going to use the Pro to do things like edit photos or videos.
Naturally, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro’s display offers top-notch palm rejection. So if you’re using the Apple Pencil to draw on the screen, you won’t have to worry about making stray marks with your hand.
iOS for the Pros
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro will hit the market with the latest version of Apple’s iOS operating system. And while there aren’t any earth-shattering improvements, iOS 9.3 does offer at least one interesting new feature: Night Shift.
The big to-do about Night Shift is that it can automatically adjust the warmth and coolness of your iPad’s display depending on the time of day. Studies have shown that viewing a screen with a cool, bluish tint at night can affect the quality of your sleep. By reducing the amount of blue light on the iPad Pro’s screen, Apple can make the display warmer and better for using at night.
fte Technology Reporter