Apple's new 9.7-inch iPad Pro: Pencil support comes to a smaller screen

The new "iPad Pro mini" is a lot like the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but smaller (well, duh).


Apple has unveiled a new tablet in its lineup: the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. The new 9.7-inch iPad Pro is a follow-up to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro that was released last autumn. Read our review of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with artist Pete Fowler.

Rumours about the specifications and prices for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro (which the rumour mill called the iPad Pro mini) floated prior to Apple’s March 21 event, and they’ve held up, for the most part.

The heart of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is essentially the same as the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Like the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a 64-bit A9X processor with an embedded M9 motion coprocessor, 4GB of memory, and four speakers (dual stereo speakers).

9.7-inch iPad Pro: New screen

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro’s Retina (2,048 x 1,536) screen is an improvement over the iPad Air 2’s screen. According to Apple, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro screen is 40 percent less reflective than the iPad Air 2’s screen. It’s also 25 percent brighter (500 nits of light) and has has 25 percent greater colour saturation, with support for the DCI (P3) colour gamut - just like the 5k iMac.


The screen on 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a new feature called True Tone, which adjusts the display’s color temperature on the fly. True Tone measures the light of the room you are in, and then tweaks the display to make sure colors are consistent. True Tone isn't found on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

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9.7-inch iPad Pro: Pencil

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has support for the Apple Pencil, and as with the iPad Pro, you can plug the Pencil into the iPad’s Lightning port for charging. And again, just like the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro doesn’t have 3D Touch support.


9.7-inch iPad Pro: Smart Connector

It wouldn’t be an iPad Pro without a Smart Connector, and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro has one, too. The three-pronged connector is located on the side of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and it allows you to connect the new Smart Keyboard (shown here) designed specifically for the new iPad.


9.7-inch iPad Pro: New camera

The one feature where the 9.7-inch iPad Pro clearly outdoes the larger iPad Pro is the iSight camera. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a 12-megapixel camera that’s capable of capturing 4K video, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has an 8-megapixel iSight camera and has a top video resolution of 1080p.

Other features the 9.7-inch iPad Pro iSight camera has that the 12.9-inch iPad Pro iSight camera doesn’t: Live Photos support, autofocus with Focus Pixels, True Tone flash, and ƒ/2.2 aperture. Apple also said the 9.7-inch iPad Pro iSight camera has improved local tone mapping and noise reduction.

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro’ FaceTime camera is 5 megapixels, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a 1.2 megapixel FaceTime camera.

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9.7-inch iPad Pro: Price and availability

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro is out on March 31. You can pre-order it from March 24. Here's the pricing - with pricing for the 12.9-inch version on the next page for comparison. All prices are inc VAT.

Wi-Fi-only
32GB: £499
128GB: £619
256GB: £739

Wi-Fi + 4G
32GB: £599
128GB: £719
256GB: £839


12.9-inch iPad Pro: Price

All prices are inc VAT.

Wi-Fi-only
32GB: £679
128GB: £799
256GB: £919

Wi-Fi + 4G
128GB: £899
256GB: £1,019