iPad Pro Why choose the 12.9 model over 10.5?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by kasakka, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. kasakka macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    I currently have an iPad Air 2 but plan to buy a Pro in about a month. Any reason why I should get the 12.9" model over the 10.5"?

    My needs so far are mostly as a laptop replacement when on holidays (just for stuff like looking where to go, booking tickets etc), otherwise it's used around the house for mostly Netflix, websites and such. With the Apple Pencil it will be used for drawing and notes too.

    I've tried both side by side in a store but so far haven't found any significant use cases for the larger model. If you have both, maybe you can tell me what the bigger model does better.
  2. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    The 12.9 iPad will take more advantage of iOS 11 with split screen that utilizes the iPad user interface display, where the 10.5 iPad uses a 50/50 iPhone interface.

    I Also think the larger display with a 12.9 iPad offers a larger template for sketching and drawing, if that something that you're interested in.

    Just ask yourself do you have an appreciation for a larger display for viewing media and multitasking capabilities. Otherwise if you don't, then the 10.5 iPad might be a better option for you.
  3. MacDarcy macrumors 65816

    Jul 21, 2011
    Im in a similar position but upgrading from an ipad mini 2. I plan to use it for websurfing, media consumption, but video/photo editing and drawing as well. It would seem that the 12.9" would be a better choice for the extra screen realestate, but i think I'm going with the 10.5". My main reasoning is that it's more portable, yet still has a fairly large screen. Apple increased the screen size by shrinking the side bezels, so it still has a similar form factor to the 9.7" but with a little extra screen. I think thats a happy medium. The 12.9" screen is nice for sure. Not knocking it. And both have equal stats otherwise. I just think having the portability is more useful to me than the screen. Others may disagree. The 12.9" is still lighter and more portable than a full laptop. So it comes down to a personal preference.
  4. kazmac macrumors 603


    Mar 24, 2010
    On the silver scream
    I agree with @Relentless Power here; but also from a $ perspective I feel I get more bang for the buck with the 12.9". Yes, I kind of miss the portability, but then, I want a Mini with Pencil capabilities for on the go.

    For a laptop on the go, I would think a larger screen will give you more work space and it is definitely better for drawing. You can carry the 12.9" out and about, I do not only because my commute is so close quarters, so I need a much smaller device.
  5. wba1990 macrumors regular


    Oct 1, 2015
    Birmingham, England
    I'm in the same boat myself, keep changing my mind every day as to which device I want!
  6. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Jan 24, 2013
    Sheet music is better, pro apps are better, the keyboard is better, using it with duet display is better.

    If I want portability, my iPhone plus more than solves that.

    Being at both ends of iOS makes more sense to me, rather than a small device and an inbetween.
  7. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Because you want a larger iPad?

    Seriously I think that's really the only reason.
  8. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    As I think about updating I started a thread last week or so asking something similar -- that is those who went from 9.7 to 12.9 were they happy. Majority said yes.

    In the past couple of weeks I've played with the 10.5 and 12.9 every opportunity, even if I have to go out of my way, to get a feel of both models. It's not the kind of thing I can be definitive about with just one 5 minute play period. I need to play with the models and digest then repeat.

    Going into this I was sure the 10.5 was for me. It was similar to the 9.7 footprint I enjoy and now with more screen. But as I played with it and its slightly bigger dimensions it didn't feel like a 9.7. It felt like a bigger iPad, but not really bigger screen. So think I started playing with the 12.9 for comparison and while's it's .5lb heavier you don't really feel it because the weight is distributed over a larger screen. It's not like the iPad 3 which was a brick -- hard to believe the iPad 3 is almost the same weight as the iPad 12.9!

    As I continued playing with both models it became clear to me that the 12.9 is what iOS 11 is built for. It's so much more comfortable to multitask with it or put two Safari pages side-by-side. You can do that with the 10.5, sure, but the pages get almost too small to work with.

    The only thing I don't like about the 12.9 is reading books. At home I probably will just use my Mini for that purpose. Traveling I'll "suffer" and deal with it. There are far more advantages to the 12.9 than disadvantages IMHO.
  9. spriter macrumors 65816


    May 13, 2004
    I have the first gen 12.9 and 10.5.

    My take is that if you use split screen a lot, or are stationary more often than not (or simply at home rather than mobile) then the 12.9 suits better.

    It's heavier and more cumbersome to hold and scribble. It's also notably heavier with the smart keyboard attached - hence the reference to being stationary. Typing is nice on the larger keyboard.

    Meanwhile the 10.5 is much easier to hold and scribble for longer periods. It's still reasonably light with the Apple Smart Keyboard. However, it doesn't split screen nearly as well. That said I multitask by Command-tabbing to app switch and can type just fine on the 10.5 ASK for long periods.

    Both have their merits. I use the 10.5 for work and love it (with Pencil and ASK). The 12.9 is better at home where I can sit in one place for longer and appreciate the screen advantage without having to carry the notable extra weight so much. I prefer the 10.5 at night and in bed where the huge screen and weight of the 12.9 are less appreciated.

    Sure it's not a huge difference (12.9 plus ASK is just over 1kg vs 10.5 plus ASK ~700 grams) but 30% is noticeable if carried/rested on yourself for a period of time.

    I think they both have their merits and use cases. You can't go wrong with either rally.
  10. kasakka thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    I'll have to give the multitasking a go in the store. When I tried both models side by side I preferred the 10.5 because it was easier to hold and seemed like a better option when using in portrait mode, I guess that's what you mean about reading books? That said, my iPad Air 2 has spent more time in landscape because it has a Logitech Type+ keyboard case on it and I will probably get the ASK with the Pro.

    For viewing a single website I felt the larger iPad offered no advantages as most websites nowadays have a width that fits the iPad Pro size pretty well.
  11. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Fair points. I wasn't a fan of the previous 12.9 which is why I was surprised I found myself in the 12.9 camp this year. The slimmed case + slightly reduced weight makes it easier for me to handle. The 12.9 is still an handful for sure but the 10.5 is still a bigger shell than the 9.7. And I figure if I'm going to have to go bigger I might as well go all the way. But both are not without plusses and minuses. It's just a matter of which use aspects you put as the higher priority. As a side note I won't buy a plus model iPhone because it too is too big for my hands. The difference is you hold a phone more. Even my 1lb 9.7 gets heavy after awhile and I have to prop it up.

    Playing with the 12.9 so many different times I "discovered" I have to hold the 12.9 and 9.7/10.5 differently. The latter I hold like a paper back with each hand holding a side. The 12.9 I find more comfortable to hold like a big hardback with my left hand holding up the back, thumb overlapping the edge and the right holding the other side.

    If you are really torn between the two models I would highly recommend trying both out on multiple occasions. I don't think one or two short sessions can decide it. Ultimately how one will use it is what matters. If you don't see yourself multitasking or needing two safari pages open at once the 12.9 is kind of overkill.
  12. Cashmonee macrumors 6502a


    May 27, 2006
    I would echo some statements above. I had a gen 1 12.9 and now have a 10.5. The screen real estate of the 12.9 is glorious, and split screen is pretty darn good. The down side is portability. While the 12.9 is only about a half pound heavier, it is significantly bulkier. You simply cannot walk around with the 12.9. On the 10.5, you can almost carry it like a laptop when the ASK is attached. I sometimes walk around and write, and on the 12.9 that is not a good experience, but with the 10.5 is much more doable. Even folding the ASK is effortless on the 10.5, but cumbersome on the 12.9.

    They are both great. You just need to decide how you will use it. Multitasking, stationary, video/photo editing, single device? Get the 12.9. Want to move around, looking for portability, have a laptop? Get the 10.5. I found portability more important for me.
  13. fishmd macrumors 68000


    Jun 18, 2008
    Sunny South Florida
    So I just wanted to chime in here as well as I just went through this decision myself. I had the pro 9.7", which my wife confiscated from me awhile back to "use for her work", so I had been waiting to get a new iPad pro myself now for awhile. At first, I thought that I would want the 10.5. I do use the apple pencil, and like to use split-screen and multitask. So I ordered the 10.5 and used it. Put iOS 11 beta on it and checked out the multitasking...and it was just too small. Yes, the screen is larger than the 9.7, and it is noticeably so, but just not enough if you are going to use some of these new features that are coming in iOS 11. So after using it for 2 weeks, I made use of Apple's return policy and returned it and got a hold of a 12.9". I don't think I will ever look back. This thing is the bomb. Meets all of my "needs" for portability and will in all likelihood, become my main use device on a day to day basis. I just couldn't see doing that with the smaller form factor pro.

    If you really cannot decide, get one and try it. That is the best advice anyone can give. If you don't like it, you can return it. Apple will not ask questions and will not fault you for it. They even tell you to do it. That is why they do not charge a restock fee or anything. Their customer and satisfaction is #1. (PS, they are still making a truck load of money too.)
  14. sam2428 macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2011
    Houston, TX

    I also feel the 10.5" is best due to portability and ease of use on the go. I really don't understand why someone would want to buy a 12.9" IPP over a Macbook/iMac if it is going to be for stationary use only. I get that the user experience is very different with touch screen and apps, but still....at at end of the day it really depends on how you plan to use the device.

    FWIW, when i upgraded from my iPhone 6 to my iPhone 6S...i was immediately disappointed. Felt like the same phone and nothing special. Returned it and got the 6S Plus and never looked back. The larger screen was amazing (even though I didn't think I would like it) and at the end of the day it felt different to me. I know it sounds stupid, but when you drop a bunch of money on a new toy you want it to feel like a new toy and not like the one you already had.
  15. Loismustdie1 macrumors member


    Jun 6, 2015
    Im going to start by saying for your use case, the 10.5 inch would be the most appropriate. It’s almost the same size as your iPad Air 2, with more screen real estate, less bezels and screaming performance. With iOS 11, this iPad will satisfy most people. However there are reasons to consider the 12.9 inch over the 10.5.

    I had a 1st gen iPad Pro 12.9 and loved it but I found it unruly in terms of portability. I wanted the 9.7 inch pro but the lack of USB 3 support was a deal breaker for my needs. When the 10.5 inch was announced, I bought it day one and the fact that both sizes has feature parity is a big win in my book. The 10.5 is thinner, less bezel, easier to hold and with iOS 11, it performed great. However after day 3, I quickly realized how important the extra real estate on the 12.9 inch model was. For starters, the keyboard while better than the 9.7 is still too small for my tastes. More importantly because of size and scaling, only the 12.9 inch model is capable of running 2 iPad version apps in SplitView. The 10.5 and 9.7 inch iPads are capable of running two apps in SplitView, but they’ll be blown up iPhone versions. For most people, it won’t be a dealbreaker, nor will they notice. If your goal is to use iPad as a laptop replacement, this could be of significant consequence however. I’ve also found that the bigger battery in the larger iPad consistently lasted past the 10 hour claim stated by Apple. The 10.5 lasted an average of 9 hours; nothing to sneeze at as I usually have my brightness turned up.

    The 10.5 is going to be a real crowd pleaser for people because it is a great balance between power and portability. However as a laptop replacement there is no replacement for 12.9 screen size. The bezels and weight distribution are bested by its younger sibling, but the experience (especially in iOS 11), is significantly better IMO.
  16. comptr macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2007
    I am in the same predicament, I have a iPad Air 2 that I am looking to upgrade. I can't decide between the 10.5 or the 12.9. I use my iPad to consume content and surf the net and check emails, but with the new iPad I would like to leave my laptop at home when I travel and use my iPad to transfer pics from my mirrorless camera and use Lightroom on the iPad. It seems there are Pros & Cons to the 10.5 vs. the 12.9. If you were in my shoes which one would you choose ?
  17. pdoherty macrumors regular

    Dec 30, 2014
    Good review.

    For reading just grab a Kindle. Massively light weight, cheap, and you can read it in direct sunlight.
  18. canesalato, Jul 18, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017

    canesalato macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2010
    If you want to use your iPad for “laptop tasks”, when you take weight into account, you should probably consider this:

    - on the 9.7/10.5 you probably need an external keyboard if you type a lot. That’s because the touch keyboard is small and yet occupies a big portion of the screen.
    - on the 12.9 it’s REALLY easy to get fast and accurate with the touch keyboard, and you still have a big amount of usable screen space. As a bonus you get a trackpad for accurate text selection. So, you probably don’t need an external keyboard at all (which, in my opinion makes the iOS/iPad experience worse on many levels).

    The smart keyboard on the small iPad is about 250g, the iPad pro 10.5 is 469g. Together, they are about 720 grams. The 2017 iPad pro 12.9 is 677g.
    Same reasoning can be made for the prices: if the 12.9 pro doesn’t need a smart keyboard that will make the prices very similar.

    Give that big touch keyboard a chance =)
  19. The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

    Dec 15, 2010
  20. whg macrumors regular


    Aug 2, 2012
    May I add to your list in favor of the 12.9" size the RDP use case? I use JumpDesktop to remote into my work PC. For this I also went with the Cellular model. When not using the ASK I managed to work in public transportation with the Pencil (reading my mail in Outlook and some attached documents, and some browsing the Web).

    In contrast to some other users here I also like to read books on the 12.9 in 2 column landscape mode or scientific papers in portrait mode.
  21. max2 macrumors 68020

    May 31, 2015
    Omg you all still have me wanting a 12.9 inch iPad Pro 2nd generation.

    I may just get another iPad Pro. So use the 12.9 inch at home and take my 10.5 inch out and about! lol.
  22. thadoggfather macrumors G4


    Oct 1, 2007
    12.9 gen2 is legit

    I’m not returning mine

    Not selling my 9.7pro either
  23. kasakka thread starter macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    That's a good point I have not seen before. I am not that worried about weight though because I looked and my current setup of Air 2 and Type+ case seems to be 874 grams and I've had no problems handling that.
  24. spiderman0616 macrumors 68040


    Aug 1, 2010
    My son was at the Apple Store the other day for their coding camp--it was a 1.5 hour session and a parent/guardian has to stay in the store during the whole session. I went over to the iPad table and used the 12.9" for a little while. Picked it up, used it in portrait and landscape modes, typed and drew on it, did some split screen, etc. Basically all the things I do with my 10.5". I have done all this stuff with my friend's 12.9" model as well.

    Don't get me wrong, I love the 12.9", but I still won't give up the portability of the 10.5". I suppose if I owned the 12.9" for a little while and it was my only iPad, I might change my tune. I will say that using the 12.9" in split screen did not do much to convince me that it's going to be that much better than the 10.5" for multitasking.
  25. richpjr macrumors 68030


    May 9, 2006
    I tried to give it a long chance with my first gen 12.9 and it just doesn't work well for me, so I end up lugging the ASK around when I need to do some serious typing which does add a substantial amount to the weight.

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