Yesterday, Apple revealed its new 9.7in iPad model - and it's not the Air 3. Instead, it's a smaller iPad Pro, complete with the same Smart Connector for Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support, but it looks like Apple shrunk down more than just the screen.
Benchmark testing performed by TechCrunch editor-in-chief Matthew Panzarino appears to confirm that the smaller iPad Pro only has 2GB RAM, which is half the 4GB tally seen in the larger 12.9in iPad Pro. Granted, 2GB is what you'll find in 2014's iPad Air 2, as well as what the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are currently toting (the new iPhone SE, too), but it's a significant downgrade from the big Pro.
Furthermore, while both Pro models feature the same A9X system-on-a-chip, the 9.7in model appears to have been underclocked, and thus runs a little bit slower in benchmark tests. AppleInsider also noticed that detail on Apple's website, via comparisons with the A7 processor - the 9.7in iPad Pro's improvements are listed as lesser than the larger model's.
Does this really matter? To the average consumer, it's probably not a huge deal. The iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6s are both zippy devices with iOS 9 installed, and the 9.7in iPad Pro still seems like a very powerful tablet. It ought to run apps and games with ease, and handle plenty of multitasking.
But creators in particular, who plan to use the smaller iPad Pro for music or graphic design work, may find that it's not as responsive as the larger version. And given the change in branding and also the bump in starting price - it's £499 (about S$1,000)- it's a little surprising to see a fairly significant reduction in capabilities.
Whatever the case, a quick search around the Internet shows that people are complaining about it. So at least one thing is completely as expected here. Apple will open up orders for the smaller iPad Pro this Thursday, 24 March, with the 32GB model priced at £499 (about S$1,000), a 128GB version for £619 (about S$1,200), and a massive 256GB edition priced at £739 (S$1,425). There's no update on the Singaporean price yet but we'll definitely keep you posted.