iPad (2017) vs iPad Pro 2016: Which One is Better, Any Difference?

Apple dropped a surprise announcement on us in March, releasing a new iPad Pro (2017) as its first major product launch of the year, and it's the most affordable 'full size' tablet the company has ever produced. Unfortunately it also resides in one of Apple's most confusing product families making it harder than it should be to understand which model of iPad is best for you. So let's break down what difference between the new iPad 2017 vs iPad Pro 2016, taking both 9.7-inch tablets only for comparison covering specs, price, features, screen size, speed, battery life, portability and more.

Note: If you're going to buy a new iPhone, please check iPhone series profound comparison here.

iPad Pro 2017 vs iPad Pro 2016

➤ Part 1 iPad (2017) vs iPad Pro 2016: How do the designs differ?

➤ Part 2 iPad (2017) vs iPad Pro 2016: What the performance upgrades?

➤ Part 3 iPad (2017) vs iPad Pro 2016: How do the specs compare?

➤ Part 4 Verdicts on iPad (2017) and iPad Pro 2016

iPad (2017) vs iPad Pro 2016: How do the designs differ?

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The good news is that both devices look largely identical, with the same approximate form factor, and Apple's unmistakeable aluminium unibody iPad aesthetic. All the usual buttons (Touch ID, volume controls etc.) don the front and sides, and there's a camera on the front and back of both tablets. The key differences are minor. For instance, the new iPad (2017) is marginally heavier than the iPad Pro 2016, weighing in at 469 grams (or 478g for cellular), compared to the iPad Pro (2016) 437 grams (or 444g for cellular).

  • iPad 9.7 (2017): 240 x 169.5 x 7.5 mm (9.45 x 6.67 x 0.30 in) and 469 / 478g (1.03 / 1.05lbs) for cellular/non-cellular
  • iPad Pro 9.7 2016: 240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm (9.4 x 6.6 x 0.24 inches) and 444 / 437g (0.98 / 0.96lbs) for cellular/non-cellular

Both iPads look largely the same, although the new iPad (2017) is marginally thicker and heavier than iPad Pro 2016. It also has a slightly less impressive display panel. You also get an extra color option for the iPad Pro 2016 compared with iPad (2017): Rose Gold.

iPad (2017) vs iPad Pro 2016: What the performance upgrades?

Less surprisingly, the new iPad 2017 starts to fall behind. For instance, the new iPad 2017 uses a slower Apple A9 chip than the Apple A9X chip found in iPad Pro (2016). The A9X is an evolution of the iPhone 6S's A9 processor, and runs at a faster 2.16-2.26GHz clock speed (compared to the A9's 1.85GHz). That means, you won't get better performance when gaming from the iPad (2017) comparing to iPad Pro 2016. Though the A9 remains a speedy chip, the iPad 9.7 is not a model power users should buy.

  • iPad 9.7 (2017): Apple A9 with dual-core 1.84 GHz (Twister) CPU and PowerVR GT7600 (six-core) GPU, 2GB of RAM
  • iPad Pro 9.7: Apple A9X with dual-core 2.16 GHz (Twister) CPU and PowerVR Series 7 (12-core) GPU, 2GB of RAM

iPad (2017) vs iPad Pro 2016: How do the specs compare?

There's not much else in the way of difference between the devices. Although the new iPad has a slightly larger battery, it offers the same 10-hour battery life as the iPad Pro. And both tablets feature Touch ID fingerprint sensors, Lightning ports, and models with optional cellular connectivity. The only other real difference is that while the new iPad only comes in 32GB and 128GB variants, there's an additional 256GB model with the iPad Pro.

At present, price becomes big difference. The choice, left as an exercise for the reader, is deciding if about $270 is worth it for about 20% better performance, a better screen, and Apple Pencil support.

  • The new iPad (2017) starts at $329 for a 32-gigabyte version with wi-fi only, and scales up to $559 with 128 gigabytes and 4G.
  • The iPad Pro 2016 starts at $599 for a 32GB version, with $829 for 128 gigabytes and 4G, and rapidly climbs to $1,029 for the 256-gigabyte model with 4G.

A full spec comparison of new iPad (2017) and iPad Pro 2016

New iPad (2017) iPad Pro (2016)
Screen 9.7 inches 9.7 inches
Display Resolution 2,048 x 1,536 pixels (264ppi) 2,048 x 1,536 pixels (264ppi)
Dimensions 240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm 240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm
Weight 469 / 478 grams 437 / 444 grams
Chip and Processor Apple A9 with dual-core 1.84 GHz  Apple A9X with dual-core 2.16 GHz 
RAM TBC 2GB
Storage 32GB / 128GB 32GB / 128GB / 256GB
Operating System iOS 10.3 or iOS 11 iOS 10
Primary Camera 8 megapixels, f/2.4 12 megapixels, f/2.2
Secondary Camera 1.2 megapixels, f/2.2 5 megapixels, f/2.2
Video Recording
  • 1080p HD video recording (30 fps)
  • Slo‑mo (120 fps)
  • Time-lapse video with stabilization
  • Video image stabilization
  • Face detection
  • 3x video zoom
  • Video geotagging
  • 4K HD video recording (3840 by 2160)
  • Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps
  • Time-lapse video with stabilization
  • Video image stabilization
  • Face detection
  • 3x video zoom
  • Video geotagging
Compatible video format H.264 video up to 4K, 30 fps, High Profile level 4.2 with AAC‑LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio or Dolby Audio up to 1008 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo or multichannel audio, in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG‑4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640*480p, 30 fps, Simple Profile with AAC‑LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio or Dolby Audio up to 1008 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo or multichannel audio, in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M‑JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280*720p, 30 fps, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format H.264 video up to 4K, 30 fps, High Profile level 4.2 with AAC‑LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio or Dolby Audio up to 1008 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo or multichannel audio, in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG‑4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640*480p, 30 fps, Simple Profile with AAC‑LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio or Dolby Audio up to 1008 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo or multichannel audio, in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M‑JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 * 720p, 30 fps, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format
Connectivity Wi-Fi (LTE optional) Wi-Fi (LTE optional)
Charging Cable Lightning Lightning
Fingerprint Scanner Touch ID Touch ID
Battery 32.4Wh (10-hour life) 27.9WH (10-hour life)
Colours Space Grey, Silver, Gold Space Grey, Silver, Gold, Rose Gold
Price Start at $329 Start at $599

Verdicts on iPad (2017) and iPad Pro 2016

In many ways, its harder now to choose new iPad 2017 or iPad Pro 2016, as there isn't a clear choice unless you need a specific feature the Pro line has that the "mainstream" products don't. But, regardless of pricing, there is always something new coming, whatever the case there's an iPad for you, and to make it easier to shift through them and find the right one we've highlighted all the choices, and get ready to upgrade.

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