iPad Pro Will iPad Pro Be Fast 4 Years From Now?

dingclancy23

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 15, 2015
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I have a 2011 Macbook Air that the new iPad Pro beats in all/most benchmarks many times over.

While that interests me a lot, this laptop from 2011 runs the newest OS X 4 years later, and has gone through 5 OS upgrades from Lion to El Capitan, and it is still working like a new laptop.

I wonder if the iPad Pro will be able to hold up and still be slick-fast by iOS 13?

If it does, then it is fair to make this a good primary computer, but the way the AX processors have grown, this iPad Pro may not last two upgrades before it starts to feel old. Thus, not worth its price.

It will also be pretty sad that the iPad Pro cannot beat a Macbook Air in longevity despite its reputed processor speed.

Where do you think the performance of the A9X project 4 years from now?
 
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Poochi

macrumors 6502a
Jul 30, 2010
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More or less the same benchmark as they are today. Would be exactly the same if you don't update.
 

dingclancy23

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 15, 2015
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I guess where I am getting at is, if I buy a Macbook air now, I can see it working well with every new OS update until 2019/2020.

Will the iPad Pro be the same?
 

nrubenstein

macrumors 6502
Aug 5, 2008
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Washington, DC
The reality is that x86 processor development has plateaued for a while now. We aren't seeing year on year doubling of speed/power, especially not in mass production versions. ARM development is still pushing forward fairly hard (at least on Apple's end), so I'd say that four years from now, it's likely that it will not feel as comparatively snappy.

On the other hand, maybe it will. With the A7, Apple finally hit a point where the processor was genuinely fast enough. The primary issue with my old Air was not processing speed, it was RAM. The Pro has enough RAM that it should be able to keep up for a while. It wouldn't surprise me if four years from now is about when Apple switches the iPhone to 4GB.
 

sracer

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Apr 9, 2010
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I guess where I am getting at is, if I buy a Macbook air now, I can see it working well with every new OS update until 2019/2020.

Will the iPad Pro be the same?
Different people will give you different answers. Based on my personal experience with OSX and iOS devices, my iOS devices appear to be far more sensitive to increased demands of newer versions of iOS than my OSX devices with newer versions of OSX.

I have a 6 yr old banged up 15" Macbook Pro (that my daughter has dropped so many times that the screen is partially detached and must be kept in a stationary position) that runs El Capitan nicely without even breaking a sweat (the machine, not me. :) ) In contrast, there is almost always a noticeable decrease in performance to every iOS devices that I've upgraded to the next major version.

Without knowing Apple's roadmap for future iOS versions, it is difficult to say. If there will be only minor tweaks, improvements, and enhancements then yes the iPad Pro could handle the updates well. If there are significant changes like there was going from iOS 6 -> 7 -> 8, then it'll still function but it won't be as speedy or as pleasant.

But again, this is based on my experience.
 

ZombiePete

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Aug 6, 2008
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San Antonio, TX
Without knowing Apple's roadmap for future iOS versions, it is difficult to say. If there will be only minor tweaks, improvements, and enhancements then yes the iPad Pro could handle the updates well. If there are significant changes like there was going from iOS 6 -> 7 -> 8, then it'll still function but it won't be as speedy or as pleasant.

But again, this is based on my experience.
I think (hope) that the hardware on this device will make it a little more future-proof than the iDevices we've seen in the past.
 
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dingclancy23

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Nov 15, 2015
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Another thing that we have to consider is that the physical interface can still change, for e.g. Force/3D touch can come into the next iteration, which can dramatically change how an iPad Pro can be used.

At least with a Macbook or Macbook Pro, laptops are mature products already, and how you use it will not change much. On the other hand, there might still be lots to be done to the iPad Pro before they settle on the features they want. It is a moving target.
 

ValO

macrumors 68000
Sep 16, 2012
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I really don' t understand what you mean.
Ipad 2 was pretty futureproof, as was the ipad mini and the 4s.
 
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nrubenstein

macrumors 6502
Aug 5, 2008
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Washington, DC
Different people will give you different answers. Based on my personal experience with OSX and iOS devices, my iOS devices appear to be far more sensitive to increased demands of newer versions of iOS than my OSX devices with newer versions of OSX.

I have a 6 yr old banged up 15" Macbook Pro (that my daughter has dropped so many times that the screen is partially detached and must be kept in a stationary position) that runs El Capitan nicely without even breaking a sweat (the machine, not me. :) ) In contrast, there is almost always a noticeable decrease in performance to every iOS devices that I've upgraded to the next major version.

Without knowing Apple's roadmap for future iOS versions, it is difficult to say. If there will be only minor tweaks, improvements, and enhancements then yes the iPad Pro could handle the updates well. If there are significant changes like there was going from iOS 6 -> 7 -> 8, then it'll still function but it won't be as speedy or as pleasant.

But again, this is based on my experience.
The fundamental difference, though is that ARM processing power has increased far more dramatically over the lifespan of your MacBook. A MacBook today is only going to be around 2 to 4x faster. Compare that to the A4 in the 2010 first ten iPad. The iPad Pro is 22x faster in CPU tasks and 360x faster in GPU tasks. And when you look at the curve, that speed didn't really start going up until the iPad Air a couple years ago. It's not really any surprise that older devices (anything with an A6 or less) have really struggled.
 

sracer

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Apr 9, 2010
8,606
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Prescott Valley, AZ
The fundamental difference, though is that ARM processing power has increased far more dramatically over the lifespan of your MacBook. A MacBook today is only going to be around 2 to 4x faster. Compare that to the A4 in the 2010 first ten iPad. The iPad Pro is 22x faster in CPU tasks and 360x faster in GPU tasks. And when you look at the curve, that speed didn't really start going up until the iPad Air a couple years ago. It's not really any surprise that older devices (anything with an A6 or less) have really struggled.
That's looking at it from a purely hardware perspective. Apple (for a variety of reasons) has been less aggressive from the software perspective. (probably because of the massive user base of existing iOS devices)

Even if the hardware performance curve continues, if Apple does some aggressive things with iOS the user may not perceive that performance improvement.

I think (hope) that the hardware on this device will make it a little more future-proof than the iDevices we've seen in the past.
Think, hope... absolutely, but that is not something that I would advocate to someone who is asking for advice.
 

dingclancy23

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 15, 2015
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I really don' t understand what you mean.
Ipad 2 was pretty futureproof, as was the ipad mini and the 4s.
I agree, The iPad 2 was released in 2011 with iOS 4. True you can still use it until iOS 9 but it is turtle slow and unusable, and with each iOS upgrade, the iPad 2 got slower.

Meanwhile, my 2011 Macbook Air runs El Capitan and it is still good as new.

I hope the A9X is an inflection point. Being a Pro product, this things should be still slick as new by iOS 13/14
 
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nrubenstein

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That's looking at it from a purely hardware perspective. Apple (for a variety of reasons) has been less aggressive from the software perspective. (probably because of the massive user base of existing iOS devices)

Even if the hardware performance curve continues, if Apple does some aggressive things with iOS the user may not perceive that performance improvement.
Uh, hardware differentials are why old iPads are extremely slow relative to new. The level of advancement in recent years is probably unsustainable (few process improvements available, unlike in the past when ARM chips were running multiple generations behind the leading edge). Moreover, the baseline today is a lot more "normal" from a general computing perspective. There's far less compromise to get some kind of computer into this power and size and heat profile.
 
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ZombiePete

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Aug 6, 2008
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Think, hope... absolutely, but that is not something that I would advocate to someone who is asking for advice.
What advice? All we can do here is speculate, and my best guess is that with the hardware in the iPad Pro that it will weather updates a little bit easier than previous iOS devices.
 

bnmcj1

macrumors 6502
Apr 13, 2014
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No. And the device took me straight to 2010 with those huge bezels and the weight plus lack of even Apples newest tech (3D touch). It felt so old.
 

garyleecn

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2014
841
142
there is a different between osx (or win) and ios,
for osx, you can always get the latest OS and software, no matter how slow they run
for ios, it stops at some certain point, you may not be able to get the latest apps the latest features, but if you stick with it, it lasts forever.


for some reading, emailing, web browsering, my original ipad, ipad2 are running perfectly.
 

kring

macrumors regular
Oct 12, 2011
177
41
Connecticut
3-4 years if they keep iOS as a mobile OS and no more than 3 years if they improve iOS to be productive. IPad Air 2 has about 2 years left before they send the remote-cripple signal. It's a very deliberate cycle Apple established. Macs will last longer because they are computers and expectations are higher and because moore's law has ended.
 
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mi7chy

macrumors 603
Oct 24, 2014
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Synthetic benchmarks are useless if not misleading and it's too early to make an informed analysis but there are already reports of lag not even four days into release.
 

xPad

macrumors regular
Dec 15, 2013
228
184
I guess where I am getting at is, if I buy a Macbook air now, I can see it working well with every new OS update until 2019/2020.

Will the iPad Pro be the same?
Of course it will.

Think of it in reverse. If it's faster than your Mac, which can run a the current OS X, why wouldn't it be able to keep up with iOS?

The iPad Pro is basically the equivalent of a MacBook. A bit faster CPU, much faster GPU, but half the RAM (4GB isn't skimpy, but it is less, and on iOS, not likely to be a limiting factor for the OS itself basically ever).

I would be surprised if the iPad Pro didn't run all future iOS updates basically indefinitely.

What it won't get are new hardware-dependent features. For example, older Macs and iOS devices can't use handoff or AirDrop due to lacking the necessary Bluetooth or wifi features.

Gone are the days when feature limits are due to either RAM or CPU performance.
 

dingclancy23

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 15, 2015
168
171
Yes I think the question becomes, how sustainable these processor improvements are or has the ARM processors reached a point where improvement gains will be much less in the future.

If the AX continues its growth path, then we are looking at ARM processors being more powerful (and efficient) laptop/desktop processors, than what whatever Intel will have in their ULV lineup.

Since Intel has improved little on their ULV processors, it might be the main reason why the 2011 MBA still runs El Capitan well.
 

rdy0329

macrumors 6502a
Mar 20, 2012
529
200
Looks like it'll still be supported. iPads are usually between iPhones' and MacBooks' life expectancy in terms of OS upgrades.
 

phoenix78

macrumors member
Nov 9, 2006
62
0
It all depends on the future demands of the OS and Apps that are developed for it.

I imagine that developers will see the hardware's capabilities and then build more and more functionality to their apps. You will then see the system operate closer to its limits.

The OS will almost certainly go closer to OSX in some respect. More multitasking etc... So its up to apple to keep up with their distinction between general OS and tablet based OS. Its hard to say how things will go. I think we need to see how microsoft's everything in one model goes. If it is a big hit with many people, then apple will move closer to that model.
 

nrubenstein

macrumors 6502
Aug 5, 2008
265
15
Washington, DC
there is a different between osx (or win) and ios,
for osx, you can always get the latest OS and software, no matter how slow they run
for ios, it stops at some certain point, you may not be able to get the latest apps the latest features, but if you stick with it, it lasts forever.


for some reading, emailing, web browsering, my original ipad, ipad2 are running perfectly.
Not true. OSX machines just get obsoleted less frequently. All the 32-bit EFI machines got EOLed and abandoned, some only a few years into their lives. (First gen Air for example is stuck on, IIRC, Lion, which isn't even getting security updates these days.)

Also, it would do the iOS ecosystem a world of good to just EOL all support for A5 devices. At least developers are no longer forced to write software for them.
 

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