2018 iPad Pro vs old iPad Pro: what's different and should you upgrade?

2018 iPad Pro vs old iPad Pro: what's different and should you upgrade?
As expected, Apple today gave us a couple of new iPad Pro models to drool over. They're pretty, powerful, and packed with potential, but they're also pricey and... probably not a wise purchase if you own an older iPad Pro already. Or are they? Let us try to break things down and see what makes the new iPad Pro different from an old iPad Pro and whether you really need to upgrade. 


There's no doubt about it: both new iPad Pro variants look outstanding. Apple trimmed the bezels and rounded the display corners to deliver a tablet that's stunning to look at. What you gain by upgrading, however, is a better screen-to-body ratio. If you're coming from an older 9.7-  or 10.5-inch model, you'll have more screen space within the same or smaller footprint. Similar is the case for those upgrading from an old to the new 12.9-inch variant.

But in the process of crafting these new iPads, a few features have been sacrificed. The new 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro don't have a headphone jack. Apple will be selling a $9 dongle for those who absolutely must have analog audio. A home button is also absent. Instead, the tablets are unlocked with Face ID while UI gestures have replaced the home button's functions. 

Another important tweak is the replacement of Apple's proprietary Lightning port with a standard USB Type-C connector. That's bad news if you already have a bunch of accessories relying on a Lightning connector to work, but good news for the industry as a whole. The USB-C port on the new iPads will allow you to more easily connect them to external monitors and storage devices (UPDATE: It appears that the new iPads do not support external storage devices at this time). You'll even be able to charge an iPhone if you have a USB-C to Lightning cable!


Screen quality alone isn't a reason to upgrade to a 2018 iPad Pro. Indeed, Apple's newest tablets have displays that are bright, colorful, and of high resolution, but that was also the case with the 10.5-inch model from last year. Those coming from a 2015 or a 2016 iPad Pro will see a bigger difference as they'll get to experience wide colors, automatic white balance adjustment, and a 120Hz display refresh rate – a feature Apple calls ProMotion. 

Apple Pencil

Love the Apple Pencil on your current Apple Pro? Well, tough luck: if you're upgrading to a 2018 iPad Pro model, you'll need to get the second-generation Apple Pencil as well since the old one is not compatible with the new iPad Pro. But an upgrade brings a few welcome features. The new Apple Pencil charges wirelessly and sticks to the side of a new iPad Pro using magnets. Plus, you can switch between brushes with a double tap. 

Processor and memory

The iPad Pro lineup has always been powered by Apple's most capable A-series mobile chips. Under the hood of the 2018 models we find the A12X which is, naturally, Apple's most powerful yet. Truth to be told, all of this processing power would be overkill for many users, but those who do a lot of video or image editing on their iPad Pro could benefit from an upgrade to one of the newest iPad Pro models – especially when a full-fledged version of Adobe Photoshop is coming to the iPad in 2019.

For the first time in history, Apple is launching an iPad with up to 1TB of built-in storage. Again, this is much more than what an average user would ever need, but professional users could benefit from the extra gigs – as long as they can afford the luxury. Alternatively, there's the base 64GB option, as well as the 256 and 512GB variants filling the gap. 

Camera and selfies

Taking photos with a tablet is and has always been a silly event to observe, but people seem to do it anyway. And the results out of the 2018 iPad Pro shouldn't disappoint: the tablets have 12MP of resolution and can shoot 4K video. No less importantly, they're the first iPads to get Smart HDR, which is also found on the iPhone XS and XR. 

And at the front, the TrueDepth camera (used for Face ID) enables several tricks. The two new iPads are the first Apple tablets to get Animoji, Memoji, and selfie portraits – neat if you're into those.  

Battery and charging

Battery life on the new iPads should be comparable to that on older models, with Apple promising "up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi‑Fi, watching video, or listening to music." Browsing the web while on a cellular network shortens the estimate to 9 hours. 

What's cooler is that the new iPads will most likely charge faster. That's because they're bundled with a 18-watt wall adapter which is significantly more powerful than the 12-watt bricks that came with older models. And since the new iPads have a USB Type-C charging port instead of a Lightning one, you'll be able to charge them with the same adapter included with the latest MacBook laptops. 


This probably won't come as much of a surprise. Starting at $799 – plus another $129 if you want an Apple Pencil – a 2018 iPad Pro is quite the investment. Sure, it's an awesome piece of kit, but unless you have plenty of disposable cash, an upgrade from last year's iPad Pro is probably not going to be worth it for most people. But if you're coming from an iPad Pro with a bit more miles on the meter – and if you actually use that to get some serious work done – then yes, chances are you'll appreciate what the latest iPad Pro has to offer. 

Read more:

Related phones

iPad Pro 11-inch
  • Display 11.0" 1668 x 2388 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A12X Bionic, Octa-core, 2490 MHz
  • Storage 1000 GB
  • Battery 7812 mAh
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2018)
  • Display 12.9" 2048 x 2732 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A12X Bionic, Octa-core, 2490 MHz
  • Storage 1000 GB
  • Battery 9720 mAh



1. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

$129 for the pencil?+ The iPad cost enough for it to be include. The pencil cost as much to make as a pack of 20 real pencils. Shame. Nice look, same old OS with too many limits. I have iOS 12 on the original Pro I bought. I just dont see very much difference. ARM based tabs are just boring now. I vote all OEMs, stop making them.

3. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2274; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

I can your point. I was thinking Apple was going to stick with the same price points. A $200 premium over the A10X 12.9 is insane + Apple Pencil makes this a $1200 with taxes investment. Pretty crazy. For the money Apple needs to eliminate MacBook, Macbook Air and go with iPad Pro with MacOSX. Makes too much sense not to do it, based on the power under hood of this beast! No need to limit it to iOS, but should go all in with MacOS X.

4. ChicagoBorn

Posts: 102; Member since: Jan 24, 2018

You critics are sad. They should include everything yet if you owned the company and had to answer to investors you’d sell every darn thing separately. You clearly don’t know how the business world works.

8. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2487; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Not justifying the price hike which I agree is ridiculous, but look at Google with their Pixel Slate: $600 doesn’t include a stylus or keyboard. The keyboard costs $200 and the pen costs $100. And remember that the $600 is an Intel Celeron chipset.

2. gamehead unregistered

Slightly better specs and a much better design. Not worth the upgrade imo, but still a nice (and pricey) tablet. Needs more features though like multiple user login, mouse support and a backlit keyboard.

5. gazmatic

Posts: 822; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

Damn. I will buy this in 2020.

6. Jrod99

Posts: 778; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

My next tablet. Good bye desktop. When you die I will bury you.

7. Suts_97

Posts: 130; Member since: May 05, 2012

Agreed that the new iPads are so much more expensive, but finding it more worth it to spend this much on an iPad than on an iPhone.

11. Foxgabanna unregistered

Facts. IOS has the best tablets on the market.

12. mootu

Posts: 1539; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

Sorry but that crown goes to Microsoft.

9. robocopvn

Posts: 504; Member since: Mar 10, 2010

So how can we use the Iphone headphones with Ipad ? We can't, right?

10. Foxgabanna unregistered

Umm.... Airpods?

13. notfair

Posts: 765; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

you can't use the old pencil on the new ipad, you need to buy the newer model... this is just laughable, i don't understand why people are giving their hard earned money to some crooks...

16. iushnt

Posts: 3151; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

You know people don’t mind spending money for their religion.. /s

14. Gadgetex

Posts: 199; Member since: Nov 10, 2013

You have to fork out $1800 to get 1TB model in order to get 6GB of RAM and cellular option is now $150 compared to $100 upgrade previously. Up 50%. Did tariffs increase by 50%?

15. jibraihimi

Posts: 816; Member since: Nov 29, 2011

No tariff didn't increased, but apple's greed increased by 50%, and next year it will increase by 100%

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