Apple’s most recent quarter saw somewhat of a dip in iPad sales dropping over 18 percent and year-over-year has declined for the last 8 quarters. Maybe this is why the iPad Pro stole the show at Apple’s unveiling event this September, receiving an enormous amount of event time. Apple CEO Tim Cook poured over the device’s highly advanced productivity capabilities and its much larger display. Meanwhile, the new iPad mini 4 earned barely a mention despite being long overdue for an upgrade from its predecessor. We’ve pitted the iPad Pro against the mini 4 to see how the devices measure up against one another.
There isn’t much of a comparison between the two models when it comes to power. The Pro is undoubtedly the more powerful device, running off the A9X chip, Apple’s most powerful processor yet, while the mini is powered by the second-generation A8 chip. The A9X allows the Pro to perform at significantly higher speeds and responsiveness, delivering double the performance of the mini 4.
Another heavily highlighted feature of the Pro at the event was the multi-touch subsystem reactive to both fingers and the newly introduced Apple Pencil, which is absent from the mini 4.
Although less powerful than the Pro, the mini 4 is still an impressive upgrade from its predecessor, the mini 3, delivering the same power and performance as the iPad Air 2 in a smaller form factor.
Aside from power, both devices are nearly neck-in-neck in multiple categories, sharing the same lighting connector and similar connectivity options, 64-bit architecture, video recording capabilities, Touch ID, and up to ten hours of battery life. Each model will run on iOS 9 once it becomes available in late September.
The most talked about aspect of the Pro was its enormous display size — coming close to the size of the Macbook Pro — with a 12.9-inch Retina display (according to Apple, the keyboard is “full-sized” like that of company’s laptops). The much smaller mini is sized at 7.9-inches, making it less functional for iOS 9 capabilities like split screen multitasking, Pop-over video, or running apps side-by-side, of which the Pro display size is ideal. Yet, the mini’s smaller size offers a more portable design.
Although both iPad displays feature extremely high resolution, the Pro beats the mini 4. The Pro includes Apple’s highest-resolution display of any iOS device to date with 2,048 x 2,732 pixels and a pixel density of 265 pixels per inch. The mini 4 has a resolution of 2048‑by‑1536 at 326 pixels per inch, matching that of the previous mini 3 model. A missing feature for both models, however, is the lack of 3D Touch, the pressure sensitive technology in the iPhone 6s and 6s plus. Apple touts the 3D Touch feature as enabling a more sufficient iOS 9 experience, which is disappointing given the focus Apple put on the Pro’s high productivity capabilities. Similarities among both iPad displays include antireflective coating, fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, and fully laminated.
Both the Pro and mini feature body upgrades from their predecessors with lighter and thinner bodies. The Pro, slightly thicker, with a .27-inch depth and a weight of 1.57 pounds and the mini 4 with a .24-inch depth weighing in at .65 pounds. Both bodies support an aluminum enclosure available in the classic Apple colors: silver, gold, and space grey.
The Pro also delivers a higher quality audio system than the mini 4 with four new high-fidelity speakers built directly into the unibody. Compared to the mini 4’s two built-in speakers, the Pro allows for a listening experience as big as its display.
Apple continues to offer older iPhone camera technology for it’s iPads. If you want the newest Apple camera capabilities you’ll have to purchase the iPhone 6s or 6s plus. Both the Pro and mini 4 share the same iSight rear camera: 8-megapixel photos. 1080p video, and the same frontal FaceTime HD camera: 1.2-megapixels and 720 HD video.
The iPad’s camera may be functional, but is still lacking in comparison to the iPhone 6’s cameras, leaving the iPads in the dust with the older 5S camera technology.
Price and Availability:
According to Apple, the iPad Pro will be available for pre-order starting late October and available for retail in November. Prices for the Pro start at $800 for the 32GB version with Wi-Fi and $1080 for the 128GB version with cellular access. Naturally the smaller, less powerful mini 4 is less expensive with the Wi-Fi models starting at $399 for the 16GB, $499 for the 64GB, and $599 for the 128GB. The additional Wi-Fi + cellular sizes for the mini 4 begin at $530 for the 16GB, $630 for the 64GB and, $730 for the 128GB.
The two iPads are highly capable devices, but the Pro comes in as the more powerful and faster performing device. The Pro features Apple’s highest performing processor, the A9X, and its highest-resolution display. That said, both models share ample similarities: camera, video-recording capabilities, 64-bit architecture, connectivity, and battery power. When in the market for productivity and power the Pro is undoubtedly the way to go, and when in the market for a more portable, less expensive device, the mini 4 has you covered.