Looking to compare iPad models? Here’s how the 2018 lineup ranks

Apple’s special event in Brooklyn on Tuesday brought the introduction of two new Macs, as well as new iPad Pro models with features like Face ID, USB-C, and more. If you missed the event, 9to5Mac’s Jeff Benjamin did a great recap in less than 9 minutes.

Read on as we give a clear picture of the 2018 iPad lineup for the holiday season and compare iPad models.

We’re going to start with the main event of the show, and that’s definitely the Retina display.

Color accuracy and ProMotion functionality has remained the same between last year’s iPad Pro and the new 11-inch 12.9-inch models. If an iPad Pro is on your horizon, that means you won’t miss out on super-smooth scrolling with whichever version you select.

As for the iPad and iPad mini 4, neither offers the faster 120Hz capacitive touch refresh rate, nor the color warming effects of True Tone. When it comes to resolution, however, of the five iPad models sold by Apple, the iPad mini 4 has the highest PPI. Its 7.9-inch screen displays 326 DPI at 2048 x 1536 resolution. The rest of the iPad lineup all has 264PPI.

Here’s a breakdown of each model’s size, resolution, and bonus features.

10.5-inch iPad Pro (2017)

  • 10.5-inch Retina display
  • Resolution 2224 by 1668 (264 PPI)
  • ProMotion, True Tone, widescreen color display (P3)

iPad Pro 11 and 12.9 inches (2018)

  • 11 or 12.9-inch Liquid Retina display
  • 11 inch resolution: 2388 x 1668 (264 DPI)
  • 12.9 inch resolution: 2732 x 2048 resolution (264 DPI)
  • ProMotion, True Tone, widescreen color display (P3)


  • 9.7-inch Retina display
  • 2048 x 1536 resolution (264 DPI)
  • Bonus: Starting at just $ 329, $ 309 with the price of education.

iPad mini 4

  • 7.9-inch Retina display
  • Resolution 2048 by 1536 (326 PPI)
  • Bonus: portability

As for the Wide Color Display (P3) which is exclusively featured on iPad Pro models, it basically boils down to a screen aimed at providing larger and more accurate color reproductions. Apple describes it as offering “25% better color saturation than previous iPad sRGB displays.” This means that for things like photography where color accuracy is important, the iPad Pro is the way to go.

As for the difference between the standard Retina display and the new Liquid Retina displays shown on the 2018 iPad Pro models, the Liquid Retina display is the same technology as the new iPhone XR. If you already know what the new XR Curved Corner LCD Display looks like, then you’ve got an idea of ​​what the new iPad Pro displays look and feel like.

We can’t talk about these screens without talking about the Apple Pencil, which becomes even more important to the iPad Pro brand with this year’s review.

Unfortunately, no Pencil supports any cross-compatibility. You cannot use an original Apple Pencil on the new 11-inch or 12.9-inch models, and the new Apple Pencil will not work on the 10.5-inch iPad or iPad Pro.

The new Apple Pencil has a totally different charging mechanism than its predecessor. The original Apple Pencil was charged by removing its cap and plugging the whole body into the iPad’s Lightning port, which means a wrong move and you have a Lightning plug stuck in your iPad’s port with a Apple Pencil broken.

The new Apple Pencil, however, features notable improvements in charging thanks to a new magnetic attachment between it and the iPad Pro itself. The new Apple Pencil features a flat side, designed to magnetically charge and snap to the side of the new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

When it comes to features besides charging methods, the new Apple Pencil has some new gesture controls. Now double tap on the side of the pencil will change the brushstrokes or switch you to an eraser. These gestures are customizable, so they will do what you want. This makes the new Apple Pencil perfect for artists who frequently use iPad as a drawing tool.

It also comes with a new matte finish and Apple is also offering free personalized engraving for the first time.

In terms of power, any iPad you buy will be fast for basic tasks. Browse the web, send emails and listen to music. The real speed test on these things comes when you push them to their limits. First off, if you’re an artist or designer who frequents CPU-intensive programs like Pixelmator or Photoshop (which will arrive in full and full form in 2019 on iPad), the A12X Bionic chip on iPad Pro models. 2018 will be your best bet.

These chips are so powerful with their 7-core GPUs that Apple claims to provide Xbox One S level graphics for some games. If you think you’ll be using the iPad as a portable gaming device more often than not, a model with an A12X will give the most graphically impressive results.

10.5-inch iPad Pro – A10X Fusion

iPad Pro 11 and 12.9 inches – A12X with Neural Engine

iPad – A10 Fusion

iPad mini 4 – A8

Thanks to the new A12X processor, the 2018 iPad Pro are also the first iPads to integrate Apple’s Neural Engine. This dedicated hardware chip is dedicated to AI and Siri processes. By offloading the task of the processor, the device offers better performance and better battery life. While this doesn’t make a huge difference in day-to-day use, it does provide some durability.

The worst camera in the iPad lineup is unsurprisingly the most obsolete, the iPad mini 4. With a resolution of 8 MP, the mini 4 and the $ 329 iPad share nearly identical cameras. While the iPad has the same 8 MP rear shooter as the iPad mini, it can at least take live photos.

As for the iPad Pro models, all 2017 and 2018 versions have a 12MP sensor with Æ’ / 1.8 aperture. However, there are a few minor differences here that are worth mentioning.

Take a look at where I added the blue stars by comparing the 2018 iPad Pro to the 2017 Pro and the standard $ 329 iPad.

If taking photos is a big concern for you, the $ 329 iPad won’t do it – it just lacks too many critical features. Although at first glance, the iPad Pro 2017 and 2018 generally look the same, there are a few key factors that will allow 2018 to perform better.

The main difference is the lack of Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) on the 2018 iPad Pros. On the other hand, the newer iPad Pros have got the Smart HDR feature that comes with the 2018 iPhone line.

As indicated by the launch of the iPhone XS and XR, Apple has did not hesitate to follow the Google Pixel method of using the software to better adjust photos taken on iOS devices. “Smart HDR” is just one way for Apple to achieve this. The feature drastically reduces issues typically caused by bright lights in photos, such as the sun.

As to why Apple removed OIS from the new iPad Pros, it’s likely that the new 5.9mm slim bezel just can’t support hardware.

Naturally, the smallest and lightest iPad is the mini 4. At just 299 grams, it’s your best bet for maximum portability. However, if you compare iPad models for portability, you will quickly find that they are all great travel companions. With the standard iPad being the thickest at just 7.5mm and the 2018 Pros just 5.9mm, you’ll have no problem slipping any iPad into any thin pocket in your bag.

10.5-inch iPad Pro – 469 grams, 6.1mm thick

11-inch iPad Pro – 468 grams, 5.9 mm thick

12.9-inch iPad Pro – 631 grams, 5.9 mm thick

iPad – 469 grams, 7.5mm thick

iPad mini 4 – 299 grams, 6.1mm thick

As for handling and comfort, that largely depends on your personal preferences. However, it is worth noting the design differences between the 2018 iPad Pro and other models. The new iPad Pros have flat edges, with a square flat back as well. This design most closely resembles the iPhone 5 and even the original iPad, and looks a lot more industrial than before.

Our own Chance Miller has itemized the prices for all of the different iPad models, so I won’t say it too much. Just be aware that the cost of the current range of iPads varies widely – from just $ 329 for the 9.7-inch iPad ($ 309 with the edu price) to $ 1,899 for a 12.9-inch iPad Pro at max. 1 TB with cellular.

Also note that this is before factoring in the cost of “essential” accessories, such as the new $ 129 Apple Pencil or the $ 199 Smart Keyboard Folio for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

What do you think of the current state of the iPad lineup as the holiday season approaches? Take our poll or share your thoughts in the comments below.

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