We’ve been testing the 2020 iPad Pro for about two weeks, I was a bit disappointed when I compared it to the 2018 iPad Pro. I found a total of just 7 differences between the two, and most of them are small differences.
The addition of the ultrawide camera, upgraded microphone quality, 6GB of RAM across the board, WiFi 6, 128GB of storage on the base model, the new LiDar scanner and the switch to the A12Z chip. So with such a limited amount of changes, It quickly became apparent that those who already own the 2018 model should absolutely not upgrade to the 2020 iPad Pro. So it makes you wonder, why did Apple even release such a small update to the iPad Pro instead of just holding off for the rumored Mini-LED model?
Well, we’re gonna take a look at the new iPad Pro from an honest point of view and see why it makes sense for Apple to release it. But before that, let’s go through each of those 7 differences and how much I personally think each of them matters, starting with the new Ultrawide camera. To be honest, it doesn’t matter to me at all. I take my photos with my iPhone which already has an ultrawide lens, so I feel like Apple just added this in to make the large square camera bump look similar to the recent iPhones.
Onto the microphone quality, this is actually something that could be useful for anyone doing online Zoom meetings, or for those who want to record podcasts or anything like that. However, the 2018 model still sounds pretty decent. Here’s a quick comparison between the two. I’m glad that Apple decided to give the 2020 iPad Pro 6GB of RAM, since a major focus of the iPad is now multitasking, so this is one of the biggest advantages compared to the other iPads in the lineup. This’ll definitely help for productivity work like photo and video editing as well.
However, I never really noticed any problems with 4gigs of memory on the 2018 model, but I also didn’t push multitasking as much as others probably could. The switch to WiFI 6 is a nice little addition, but it’s important to note that it really only makes a big difference if your house is set up with a WiFI 6 internet router. So if you don’t plan on getting one of those routers any time soon, then it shouldn’t really matter to you. And it’s also likely that a lot of coffee shops and other businesses don’t yet have WiFi 6 routers installed.
Now the bump up to 128GB of storage is probably the biggest deal that you’ll notice daily, since there were a lot of people who bought the base 64GB 2018 iPad Pro as a laptop replacement and then realized that it was extremely limiting. So I think 128 gigs of storage is gonna help a lot for storing files, apps, photos and games. Now the LiDAR scanner is a very interesting addition because it greatly improves the accuracy of object and depth tracking, which is used for augmented reality apps.
However, there just aren’t very many compelling AR apps out right now. So chances are, you won’t have much use for it right now. But I think Apple is actually looking towards the future by adding LiDAR. More on that in just a minute. The final difference is the switch to the A12Z processor, and in my personal opinion, I think the reason we’re not seeing a significantly upgraded A13X chip is because Apple knows that the current A12X processor in the 2018 iPad Pro is already miles ahead of every other tablet on the market, and to this day, that chip is still overkill in terms of performance.
Even the best apps and games out there aren’t yet able to use it to its full potential, so why upgrade it? Apple figured that they should keep this chip around for another year, but if they kept the same A12X name, people would get pretty upset and wouldn’t buy it. So they changed the name and slightly improved the chip by adding one more active core to the graphics just to make the appearance that it’s a new chip.. And to be honest.. that marketing technique actually works. Since a lot of these upgrades don’t matter very much for a lot of consumers, a lot of people are looking to buy the 2018 iPad Pro on sale instead.
Currently, the base 2018 model is listed for $700 on Amazon, which is only $100 cheaper than the 2020 model. Now the main difference is the jump from 64GB of storage to 128GB, and I personally think that change alone makes it worth the extra $100, simply because of the fact that 64gigs is cutting it way too close if you plan on doing anything but basic web browsing and gaming on it. And then you also have to consider the other improvements like 6gigs of RAM and the fact that it’s the latest 2020 model, and it feels good to have the latest model, which some people don’t like to admit, but it’s true.
Now I know a lot of people are looking forward to the new Mini-LED iPad Pro with the A14X chip that’s rumored to be coming this Fall, but I honestly don’t think it’s coming until at least Spring-time next year. It just doesn’t make sense for Apple to update the iPad Pro twice within 6 months. So now let’s get into why I think Apple released such a small update to the iPad Pro instead of just waiting another year, and also why I think Apple chose to update those 7 things that seem insignificant by themselves. First off, if Apple didn’t update the iPad Pro this year, it would ultimately be bad for sales.
Imagine if a brand new 2020 Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 gets released, and people have to choose between that and a 2-year old iPad Pro. The 2020 tablet just sounds better. So they updated it, but they didn’t change very much since the 2018 model was already the best and most powerful tablet out there. What I personally believe makes the iPad Pro so great this year is actually the new iPadOS software. Here’s an old clip from my very first review of the 11” iPad Pro, only a couple of weeks after it’s release, before the introduction of iPadOS. So now, a year and a half later, Apple has finally made the decision to market the iPad Pro as a modern laptop replacement.
And it achieves that goal by using a combination of a few different things. Namely the new multitasking features in iPadOS, like the more capable split-view mode and in-depth app control, the ability to hook up an external storage drive and drag and drop files right onto the iPad within the Files app, and especially the recent addition of cursor and trackpad support for the iPad. Now you might be thinking, all of the other iPads in the lineup also have the same exact software features, and yes they do, but the iPad Pro does it better.
It’s got crazy amounts of power, it’s got double the RAM for multitasking, it’s got the USB-C port for much easier file transfers, it’s got the latest and fastest WiFi specs and it’s got one more thing that Apple is betting big on this year.. Support for their brand new Magic Keyboard case that’s coming this May. I believe that this Magic keyboard case is gonna be seriously great and disruptive to the portable computing world, and Apple knows it.
It might seem insane that they think they can price it at a massive $300 and still sell a bunch of them. But I think that when people start getting their hands on it, the reviews are going to be so positive that within a year, it’ll be a rare sight to see a new iPad Pro without the magic keyboard case. That’s because it’s got the perfect combination of features that are basically the final piece of the laptop replacement puzzle, including pass-through charging which essentially frees up the main USB-C port for things like file transferring files, a high-quality built-in trackpad that works perfectly with the new cursor support, a keyboard that finally gets backlighting and laptop-level scissor switch keys directly from the 16” MacBook Pro, and lastly, a brand new floating iPad design that’s so unique and original that it’s gonna take the market by storm.
And the best part about it is that it also supports the 2018 iPad Pro model as well, so Apple doesn’t necessarily want users with the 2018 model to upgrade to the 2020 model, they simply want them to buy the new magic keyboard case. And I believe that the combination of the latest iPadOS software features, the great performance of the iPad Pro and the Magic Keyboard case are gonna create the ultimate laptop replacement. This is gonna cause a lot of people to choose an iPad Pro instead of a MacBook.. And Apple’s totally okay with it because the iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard case costs just about the same as one of their entry-level MacBooks, especially if you get extra storage or you go for the 12.9” model, so in the end, Apple is winning.
And the cherry on top for the iPad Pro is that I’m 100% sure that Apple’s gonna announce a lot of new changes and features to iPadOS at this year’s WWDC.. that are going to be focused on making the iPad an even better laptop replacement. And this is also where the new LiDAR scanner comes in. While it doesn’t make much sense right now, Apple is most likely going to announce some pretty massive changes and new features to Augmented Reality that might just spark the beginning of AR becoming much more popular, and when it does, you’re gonna want a LiDAR scanner on your Apple device. So there you guys have it.
That’s Apple’s master plan with the new 2020 iPad Pro, which admittedly, is more focused on the Magic keyboard case and iPadOS software than it is on the 2020 model, since the 2018 iPad Pro reaps basically all of the same benefits.