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Though it may have started its journey as "the big iPhone" the iPad has become one of Apple's most beloved devices, with around 80 million iPad users around the world. This March, Apple announced its newest iPad Pro, the iPad Pro 2020, with lots of exciting new features.
But is it really worth upgrading to the new iPad Pro? In this article, we'll highlight the new features of the 2020 iPad Pro and compare it to the other versions of Apple's tablet to help you decide if it's right for you.
What Are The Highlights Of The New iPad Pro 2020?
The newest iPad Pro is out now, and it comes with plenty of new features and important upgrades that make it a solid update over its predecessor. Here are all of the changes to the new iPad Pro to look out for.
Like every new iPad Pro, the 2020 tablet has a new and improved processor: the A12Z chip. If you're familiar with the 3rd-gen iPad Pro, you may notice that this doesn't sound too different from the previous A12X. And, as test results are starting to come in, it appears there isn't too much separating the two chips, hence the name.
In performance testing by MacRumors, the A12Z performed only marginally better than the A12X. When you account for potential variations in testing, the difference is largely negligible. The only noticeable difference between the two is that the A12Z supports an additional GPU core, which can help boost the iPad's performance during gaming, recording videos, and editing videos.
In our estimation, the additional GPU core is likely there to make full use of the LiDAR scanner, though we'll get into that more in a second. Despite the performance not being much better than the previous generation of iPad Pro, the new iPad Pro still crushes benchmarks, outperforming most of the bestselling laptops. So the A12Z is nothing to ignore, even if it's not the most exciting new feature.
Speaking of exciting new features, the new iPad Pro now features an ultra-wide camera, the same found on the back of the iPhone 11. This ultra-wide camera is much more useful than the previous dual-camera system on the iPhone, which focused on zooming in rather than out.
This is also the first time that an iPad has gotten a dual-camera system, making this a substantial upgrade over the last version of iPad Pro. It's also the first iPad Pro with a rear-flash, which makes this device much better suited to photography and cinematography than every other iPad by a wide margin. If you're a photographer or videographer, these upgrades will make a big difference in the iPad Pro's usefulness to you.
Now it's time to talk about the most exciting upgrade to the newest iPad Pro, and that's the addition of a LiDAR scanner. If you aren't familiar with LiDAR (like most people) it's a scanner that uses lasers and radar (hence the name) to create a three-dimensional map of a space.
LiDAR has traditionally been used for cartography, both for land and the ocean, as it automates the process of topography with reliable accuracy. But what's it doing on your iPad?
The answer is augmented reality! You may remember when Apple released ARKit in 2017, an augmented reality platform available on every new iPhone. AR is used in gaming, shopping, design, and more. The LiDAR sensor on your iPad Pro makes AR significantly more precise, which not only improves existing AR applications but opens up the possibility for new use cases.
Magic Keyboard With Trackpad
Last but certainly not least is the new Magic Keyboard, Apple's detachable keyboard for the iPad Pro. Though it's not available yet (you'll have to wait until May before it's available for purchase) the 2020 Magic Keyboard has an exciting new feature: a trackpad!
The trackpad is that little space on every laptop that allows you to move your mouse with your finger. Apple recently released an update for nearly every iPad that makes them compatible with trackpads.
Though this may seem like a small update, it's actually a redefining moment for the iPad Pro. Apple has gradually been moving closer and closer to making the iPad Pro a laptop replacement, and for many people, adding trackpad support makes this device a direct competitor computers like the Microsoft Surface. The laptop alternative is becoming a little more like a laptop every year, and we're not complaining.
Should You Upgrade From The iPad Pro...?
Now that we've covered all of the changes to the new iPad Pro, you may be wondering if it's time for you to upgrade your device. Though the answer will ultimately be up to you, here are our thoughts on upgrading from Apple's various devices.
If You Own An iPad?
The standard iPad is a great device, with lots of the same features that make the iPad Pro so great (Apple Pencil support, multi-tasking, great performance). That said, the standard iPad is really more of a media consumption device than a workhorse like the Pro.
The iPad Pro has a bigger screen, much better performance, and lots of accessories that make it a real tool for professionals. If the iPad Pro is a laptop, then the iPad is a big iPhone. If you just want a bigger, fancier iPad, then the iPad Pro might not be such a great value for the price tag. But if you like your iPad and would like to use it as a laptop, then the new iPad Pro is for you.
If You Own An iPad Mini?
The iPad Mini is so different from the iPad Pro that the two are difficult to compare, but we'll do our best! The Mini, like the standard iPad, is primarily a media consumption device. It does work with the Apple Pencil, but its small size means you'll spend most of your time doodling, reading, or watching a video.
The size difference between the Mini and the largest new iPad Pro is over 5", which means upgrading really depends on your size preference. It's safe to assume that if you have the Mini, it's because you prefer the smaller screen. The Mini also has comparable performance to the new iPad Pro, so the deciding factor will be whether or not you want a larger screen.
If You Own An iPad Air?
The iPad Air is the medium-powered iPad for those who don't need everything the iPad Pro offers but still want a laptop replacement. This makes it an excellent option for students and those with light computing needs.
The iPad Air is at least $300 cheaper than the iPad Pro, which makes for significant savings. That said, the iPad Pro offers a lot more in terms of performance, which makes it better suited to photography, video editing, and music production than the Air. So, if you fall under one of these categories, then it's worth upgrading. Otherwise, you're better off sticking with what you have now.
If You Own An Older iPad Pro?
This is another tough comparison, primarily because the iPad Pro holds up so well over time. Even though the new iPad Pro is packed with features, your current iPad Pro probably still runs just as well as it did the first day you got it. And, if the standard iPad is anything to go by, you probably have a few more years of use before the iPad Pro starts to show its age.
That said, there are reasons to upgrade the 2020 iPad Pro from an older iPad. The LiDAR scanner and A12Z chip make augmented reality smoother than ever, so if you use AR a lot for gaming or design, you'll notice a massive improvement with the new iPad Pro.
If you're a power user that works with video or 3D models, then you'll probably be seeing your current iPad's age than a more casual user. In that case, you would also be a good candidate for upgrading to the new iPad Pro. However, so long as your iPad Pro is a 2017 model or later and you haven't noticed any lagging on your device, you can probably wait another year or two to upgrade your iPad Pro.
The Problem With Owning Different iPad Models
If you decide to upgrade and own more than one iPad, or you already did, then you have to deal with the charging mess. In 2018, Apple unveiled the new iPad Pro design, a bezel-less, FaceID capable device with a beautiful design. And, as an added feature, Apple swapped the Lightning connector for a USB C port.
Though this simple port change did open the device to new accessories and use cases, like USB drives, it also created a problem: you now have to have two different cables and accessories for your iPad, iPad Pro, and iPhone. This can clutter up your bag, desk, and nightstand and make it harder to keep up with your cables in general.
Fortunately, there is a solution.
Solve Your Charging Mess With The Air Omni
The Air Omni 6-in-1 charging station is capable of charging all of your Apple devices at once, including both your iPad Pro and regular iPad. It has a quick-swap connector that quickly and discreetly switches between a USB C connector and a Lightning connector.
This allows you to charge all of your iPad models with one device without a second thought. It acts as a stand for both devices as well, so you can watch content on your iPad while it charges on the Air Omni.
Air Omni also has two Qi chargers for your iPhone and AirPods, an Apple Watch charger, and two USB ports for any cables of your choice. It's a no-brainer: if you want to clear up your cable mess and charge all of your devices at once, consider picking up the Air Omni.
The iPad Pro 2020: Is It Worth It?
In our opinion, the iPad Pro 2020 is an excellent upgrade to the iPad Pro lineup that should entice new iPad Pro users. However, for most existing iPad Pro users, the newest iPad Pro doesn't have enough upgrades to justify getting rid of your old device. We recommend picking up the new Magic Keyboard once it comes out in May if you feel that new-device itch.