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2019 10.5-Inch iPad Air vs. 2017 10.5-Inch iPad Pro

Apple has launched a new 10.5-inch iPad Air that can be viewed as a lower-priced successor to the second-generation 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which has been discontinued. Below, we compare tech specs and features.


Pricing is key, with the new iPad Air starting at $499 with Wi-Fi only and $629 with LTE connectivity in the United States. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro started at $649 with Wi-Fi and $779 with LTE connectivity until it was discontinued. Both have 64GB or 256GB of storage, but the new iPad Air lacks a 512GB option.

Design wise, the iPads have a lot of similarities, including dimensions, thinness, and overall appearance. Both have a Touch ID home button, a headphone jack, and a Lightning connector, but the new iPad Air has only two speakers along the bottom, whereas the 10.5-inch iPad Pro has four speakers.

The new iPad Air is available in Silver, Space Gray, and a newer Gold finish that essentially merges the previously separate Gold and Rose Gold finishes that were available for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.

Both iPads feature a fully laminated Retina display with a resolution of 2224×1668 pixels and 264 PPI, True Tone, and support for the P3 wide color space, but the new 10.5-inch iPad Air has a 60Hz refresh rate while the 10.5-inch iPad Pro has a so-called ProMotion display with up to a 120Hz refresh rate.

Processor wise, the new iPad Air sports Apple's A12 Bionic chip compared to a slower A10X Fusion chip in the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. The new iPad Air also has dedicated hardware called the "Neural Engine" that handles artificial intelligence and machine learning tasks, while the 10.5-inch iPad Pro does not.

In terms of battery life, both iPads last up to 10 hours per charge, according to Apple's internal testing.

With its lower price point, the new iPad Air has a lower-end 8-megapixel rear camera, compared to a 12-megapixel sensor on the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. The rear camera on the new iPad Air also lacks LED flash, optical image stabilization, and Focus Pixels, but one benefit is that there is no camera bump.

The front FaceTime HD cameras are the same 7-megapixel sensors with Live Photos, Retina Flash, and other identical features on both iPads.

As for connectivity, both iPads have 802.11ac Wi-Fi, but the new iPad Air has Gigabit-class LTE versus the 10.5-inch iPad Pro's theoretically slower LTE Advanced support. The new iPad Air also gets a bump to Bluetooth 5.0 versus Bluetooth 4.2 out of the box for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.

Both iPads are compatible with the first-generation Apple Pencil and the 10.5-inch Smart Keyboard.

Summary

  • The new iPad Air starts at $150 less than the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and thus has some tradeoffs: two speakers versus four, no ProMotion display, and a lower-end 8-megapixel rear camera with no LED flash or optical image stabilization.
  • The new iPad Air has the same dimensions, thinness, and overall appearance as 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
  • Both iPads have a 10.5-inch Retina display with 264 PPI, headphone jack, Touch ID, Lightning connector, 7-megapixel front camera, up to 10 hours of battery life, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
  • The new iPad Air has some advantages: faster A12 Bionic chip vs. A10X Fusion, Gigabit-class LTE vs. LTE Advanced, and Bluetooth 5.0 vs 4.2.
The new iPad Air can be ordered starting today with in-store availability beginning next week in the United States and many other regions.

Related Roundup: iPad Air
Buyer's Guide: iPad Air (Buy Now)


Top Rated Comments

(View all)

22 weeks ago
This product has Tim Cook written all over it. It makes sense to reuse the existing supply chain.

The iPad Air 2 was discontinued because people didn't want to pay $499 for a media consumption iPad. So the $329 iPad was born. There's a similar group of customers who don't want to pay $649 for an iPad Pro. This iPad Air fits the bill perfectly.
Rating: 21 Votes
22 weeks ago
I think I will stick with the 10.5 pro. The quad speakers are amazing!
Rating: 20 Votes
22 weeks ago
I'm pretty happy with my 10.5 pro.
Rating: 16 Votes
22 weeks ago
Considering you can still get a 2017 IPP 10.5" for $525-550 from other retailers, idk why you would spend around the same price for this when it's only got a 60hz display... i tried using a 9.7" IPP recently and the blur switching between apps on a screen that size is terrible. Those ProMotion displays should really be standardized across the entire iPad lineup.
Rating: 16 Votes
22 weeks ago
Expensive in Europe and same boring design. Apple is the only company who can do that.
Rating: 14 Votes
22 weeks ago
No camera bump is sexy....

No stereo separation in landscape is not sexy....
Rating: 10 Votes
22 weeks ago
I had a 10.5 Pro and "upgraded" to the 11 Pro. FaceID is driving me crazy as I seem to always be blocking the stinking camera. So glad to see they haven't abandoned the TouchID design altogether.
Rating: 9 Votes
22 weeks ago
One key factor: Memory. We don't know how much the new Air has.

If the new Air is limited to 3 GB then I'm going with the Pro which has 4 GB. The 64 GB WiFi 10.5" Pro refurb in Canada costs exactly the same as the 64 GB WiFi 10.5" Air educational pricing, at CAD$619.

EDIT:

I ended up ordering the 10.5" Pro refurb for the other features mentioned, but then I found out at least one of the new iPads only has 3 GB RAM, so that works out well. :p

https://www.macrumors.com/2019/03/18/new-ipad-benchmark-3gb-ram-12-bionic/



However, I'm not sure if that's the Air or the mini.
Rating: 7 Votes
22 weeks ago

What for?

When your concept gets beat by garbage ChromeBooks in education (the only hope it ever had) as a computing device - time to let it go or put a real OS in it!


As someone who uses iOS entirely for business, as well as design, the issue isn’t the OS, and full macOS on a touch device won’t solve the lack of adoption in education and business overall. The reason cheap chromebooks succeed isn’t because of usability, durability, or features - it’s because they’re dirt cheap to the point of essentially being disposable.
Rating: 7 Votes
22 weeks ago

I think I will stick with the 10.5 pro. The quad speakers are amazing!


How oftern are you someplace where you can use the external speakers?

I can only speak for my own personal use case, but I hardly ever use the external speakers on my iPad. If I am ever in a situation where I can use external speakers, then chances are that I am watching something on a television screen.

To me, this new iPad Air seems to be targeted at business. It has everything a business person would need. Those options which a business person would not find useful, like quad speakers, have been removed.
Rating: 7 Votes

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