All iPads More future proof - 2019 iPad Air (A12) vs 2017 iPad Pro (A10X)?

saintforlife

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 25, 2011
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Based on my previous experience with iPads, the processor seems to be the bottleneck as the device gets older and slower. Given that, is the 2019 iPad Air with the A12 processor more future proof than the 2017 iPad Pro with its A10X chip? Is the Air a better buy if you don't care about the 4 speakers or graphics speed or 120 Hz refresh rate?
 
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bodonnell202

macrumors 68000
Jan 5, 2016
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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
The advantages of the 10.5" Pro are Promotion, Quad speakers, better rear camera and an extra GB of RAM , but given how Apple supports it's devices the 2019 Air will likely receive software support for 2 years longer than the 2017 Pro given that it has a chip that is 2 generations newer. The neural engine in the A12 may also become more important in coming years.
 

Freyqq

macrumors 601
Dec 13, 2004
4,022
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Future proof is the processor. Better processor means more iOS versions before they drop support.
 
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Davefevs

macrumors regular
Dec 14, 2015
161
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Bristol, UK
My 2015 IPP 1st Gen is 3 1/3 years old, it works fine....storage (32gb) is my biggest issue. I use it every day in work making notes, drawing process flows etc using notability. At home it’s mainly consumption with 10% office, e.g. excel.
 

EugW

macrumors G3
Jun 18, 2017
9,037
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Depends.

The Air has less memory, so it is less future proof in that regard.
The Air has a more recent SoC, so it is more future proof in that regard.

My GUESS is that the Air 10.5" will get 1 more year of iOS updates as compared to the iPad Pro 10.5". However, I bought the iPad Pro 10.5", because it's actually CHEAPER on the refurb store than the Air at retail, and the Pro is a much nicer device overall due to ProMotion, the quad speakers, and the better camera with flash (and flashlight).
 

Allentown72

macrumors newbie
Mar 27, 2019
8
7
My 2015 IPP 1st Gen is 3 1/3 years old, it works fine....storage (32gb) is my biggest issue. I use it every day in work making notes, drawing process flows etc using notability. At home it’s mainly consumption with 10% office, e.g. excel.
Right, you will have to upgrade due to storage issues long before you do for the processor (My Ipad Mini 2 still gets updates but is slow and full) but it is what, 6 years old?

Given that you can buy an Ipad pro 2017 with 256gb of storage for $150 more than an Ipad air with 64gb of storage right now...well. You decide. On the performance side, having to tax the processor more to fetch programs due to the less 1gb of ram could make the difference in processors essentially nil in terms of real world ability to keep up with future updates.

Generally on cell phones what kills them is low ram and eventually the processor just can't keep up with all the memory swapping and stay smooth. Many of the older phones processors however would be perfectly capable of keeping up with modern updates if they only had more ram.
 
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dwig

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2015
696
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Key West FL
The days of future proofing are long gone (if they ever existed)
+1, today it's more like looking for what is "less short lived", particularily with Apple products.

As a general rule with Apple "glued together single piece" products, the device "life" is largely based on date of last sale. Devices like the Mac Mini, where the RAM is replaceable and the mouse, keyboard, and display are separate devices, life can be "extended" by replacing a faulty accessory. It's similar with iMacs. On the other hand, MacBooks and iDevices have to be considered short life "disposable" devices.
 

Mackinjosh

Suspended
Aug 21, 2014
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They'll devise new chips in the future that will negate all the "future proofing" in the current chips. Just buy the tablet you currently prefer and expect to get 2-4 years out of it. Keep it in great condition by using a full body case and you might even get a good chunk of money for it the next time you need to upgrade.
 
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Allentown72

macrumors newbie
Mar 27, 2019
8
7
They'll devise new chips in the future that will negate all the "future proofing" in the current chips. Just buy the tablet you currently prefer and expect to get 2-4 years out of it. Keep it in great condition by using a full body case and you might even get a good chunk of money for it the next time you need to upgrade.
Of if you are a PC guy you can literally pull out any component and upgrade on an ongoing basis without hiccup. Be that as it may as even that ages you run into an issue where EVERYTHING needs to be upgraded and other than a nice case you may like, you still end up gutting it and starting over with almost a new build. My case has a clear monitor on one side and it displays graphics and computer vital signs right on the side of the box in real time so i may keep it this time around and do just that. I don't mid upgrading tablets every 3 to 5 years though..they are usually way over due by then.
 

Hofstede

macrumors member
Dec 15, 2014
83
45
A10X is going to be slow in the near future given the exponentially rising speed of ARM processors. RAM deals with background activities, whereas processors deals with the processing speed. As such, with the 2 generations of improvement on A12 over A10X, you are going to get a much faster processing speed on iPad Air 2019 than iPad Pro 2017 even with 1GB less of RAM and the absence of 4 speakers and pro motion technology.
When ProMotion at 120 Hz, intensive background activities, or sound quality is a priority for you over processing speed, GIVEN THAT you want a budget device, then you may consider buying an iPad Pro 2017. However, if budget is not your concern, why not purchasing an iPad Pro 2018 which is the most future-proofing device in the market?
 

Josieb1

macrumors 6502
Nov 3, 2013
282
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London
The thing that might be more important with regards to Future Proofing the Pro 2017 10.5 is that a lot of those devices suffer from displas issues, I.e white spot/spots on the screen. It may mean that two years down the line the Pro 10.5 might be affected by this issue then suddenly its value is reduced.
 
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rui no onna

macrumors G3
Oct 25, 2013
8,860
4,840
For what it's worth, I recently tried installing Grid Autosport on the iPad Air 2 (A8X) and it wasn't supported (chipset missing features—no idea what those features are). Meanwhile, it installed and runs just fine on the iPad 5th gen (granted, not quite the prettiest).
 
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Allentown72

macrumors newbie
Mar 27, 2019
8
7
A10X is going to be slow in the near future given the exponentially rising speed of ARM processors. RAM deals with background activities, whereas processors deals with the processing speed. As such, with the 2 generations of improvement on A12 over A10X, you are going to get a much faster processing speed on iPad Air 2019 than iPad Pro 2017 even with 1GB less of RAM and the absence of 4 speakers and pro motion technology.
When ProMotion at 120 Hz, intensive background activities, or sound quality is a priority for you over processing speed, GIVEN THAT you want a budget device, then you may consider buying an iPad Pro 2017. However, if budget is not your concern, why not purchasing an iPad Pro 2018 which is the most future-proofing device in the market?
What is the most demanding task an ipad would be asked to do? Play games

How much faster is the A10x than the A12 when rendering large amounts of graphics intensive tasks is required? 30% faster.

Nuff said.
 
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