Apple's iPad lineup is more cluttered and confusing than ever after the release of the 10th-generation iPad that looks exactly like the fifth-generation iPad Air, but uses some older hardware to make it more affordable. As for the latest iPad Air, well, it's a very good tablet. So good, in fact,it gave me a hint of buyer's remorsefor paying $2,000 for my 2021 iPad Pro. More recently, Apple upgraded the iPad Pro, including a slightly faster M2 processor and a fancy new Apple Pencil feature. With the iPad Air and iPad Pro sharing a lot of the same DNA, it's only natural to question which one is right for you.
Also: Black Friday iPad deals: The iPad Pro and iPad Mini are already on sale
Even with the recent refresh to the iPad Pro, there are a lot of similarities between the two tablets. Both of them:
- Run iPadOS 16 with full Stage Manger and external monitor support (in iPadOS 16.2)
- Have USB-C ports for charging and transferring data
- Have a similar display size as the smaller iPad Pro
- Come with the FaceTime camera's Center Stage feature.
- Work with Apple's 2nd Generation Apple Pencil
With so many features in common, there have to be differences to justify the price difference between the $599 iPad Air, $799 11-inch iPad Pro and the $1,099 12.9-inch iPad Pro, right? Right! Let's take a closer look.
iPad Pro VS. iPad Air
|Specifications||iPad Pro||iPad Air|
|Processor||Apple M2||Apple M1|
|Memory||Up to 16GB||8GB|
|Storage||Up to 2TB||Up to 256GB|
|Front Camera||True Depth 12MP Ultra Wide||12MP Ultra Wide|
|Rear Cameras||12MP Wide, 10MP Ultra Wide||12MP Wide|
|Battery||10 hours||10 hours|
|Biometrics||Face ID||Touch ID|
|Connectivity||Thunderbolt 4, 5G, Wi-Fi||USB-C, 5G, Wi-Fi|
|Colors||Space gray, silver||Space gray, starlight, pink, purple, blue|
The iPad Air only has two storage options. The base model is 64GB, with an upgrade option of 256GB. I think most users will find that 64GB just isn't enough space to store apps, games, videos and photos in 2022 when all of those things are only growing in size.
Review: iPad 2022 (10th Gen): A confusingly good iPad
Both iPad Pro models are available in the same storage allotments. You can pick between storage amounts of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB and 2TB.
The amount of storage you need is based on how you use or plan to use your iPad. But with the iPad Air, you're almost forced into buying the 256GB option for $749, which is very close to the $799 starting price of the 11-inch iPad Pro.
iPad Air (2022)
View now at Apple
The amount of memory in an iPad determines when apps are put to sleep in the background, or how often you have to refresh a Safari tab after it hasn't been used for an extended amount of time.
Additionally, with the introduction of Stage Manager and a multi-window multitasking experience in iPadOS 16, memory is even more important. Add in the fact that both iPad models will also feature improved -- and true -- external monitor support once iPadOS 16.2 launches (likely in December), allowing you to use up to eight apps at the same time, and the importance of more memory gets even clearer.
Apple rarely talks about the amount of memory in its iPad line, with the lone exception being the 2021 and 2022 iPad Pro. You can pick between an iPad Pro with 8GB or 16GB of memory, but that decision is also based on the amount of storage you buy. If you want 8GB of memory, stick with storage under 512GB. Anything over that mark will come with 16GB of memory.
Review:iPad Pro (2022) review: Stop me if you've heard this one before, but…
As for the iPad Air, you're stuck with a single option: 8GB of memory.
Personally, I've seen a noticeable difference between my iPad Pro with 16GB of memory and other iPads with less memory. For me, the major takeaway is that apps stay running in the background longer. However, I'd wager 8GB is usually more than enough for most users.
To be clear, I haven't used an 8GB iPad Air (or iPad Pro) since iPadOS 16 and Stage Manager was released. There were other under-the-hood performance improvements that Apple made to memory usage in the update that may have positively impacted the experience. Additionally, Apple has been very purposeful about which iPads are getting Stage Manager features, and which aren't. The iPad Air has always been on the list of iPad models getting Stage Manager and external monitor support, so the team has to be confident in the overall experience, even at 8GB.
The display technology differences between the Air and the Pro are significant, but only if you care about having a really good display or a really, really good display. In other words -- you likely won't notice much of a difference between the two.
The iPad Pro line has a faster refresh rate of up to 120Hz (called ProMotion), a higher max brightness level, and the larger iPad Pro uses mini-LED technology for a better picture, which Apple calls a Liquid Retina XDR display.
The smaller iPad Pro has an 11-inch Liquid Retina Display that's resolution is 2388x1668, with True Tone, ProMotion, and a max brightness of 600 nits.
Review:Want a touchscreen MacBook? This portable monitor makes it possible
The larger iPad Pro has a 12.9-inch mini-LED display with 2,596 full-array local dimming zones, a 2732x2048 resolution, ProMotion, True Tone, SDR max brightness of 600 nits, XDR brightness of 1,000 nits max for full screen, or 1,600 nits peak for HDR content.
The iPad Air's Liquid Retina display measures 10.9-inches and is an LED panel. It has a resolution of 2360x1640, with True Tone support and 500nits of total brightness.
iPad Pro (2021)
View now at Apple
The USB-C port
If you know anything about USB-C ports, you know the general rule is that not all USB-C ports are created equal. There are far too many different standards for the one connection that I have a hard time keeping up with it all -- and it's my job to do just that.
For the iPad Air, Apple added USB 3.1 Gen 2 to the USB-C port. That means you'll see speeds of up to 10Gbps when transferring files, or you can connect the iPad Air to an external monitor with support for resolution of up to 6K.
Also: Using the wrong USB-C cable can damage your tech. How to avoid that
The iPad Pro offering has a USB-C port, as well, but with support for Thunderbolt and USB 4. That means you get up to 40Gbps during file transfers (thanks to USB 4), and support for the same 6K resolution when connected to an external monitor.
If you do a lot of file transfers between your iPad Pro and external storage or a camera, then you'll benefit from the newer USB connection technology. But, to be honest, the iPad Air's speed isn't a dealbreaker.
Another area where the iPad Air lineup differs from the iPad Pro is when it comes to the type of 5G connectivity it supports. Both iPad Pro tablets support 5G's Sub6 and mmWave technology, while the iPad Air only supports Sub6.
For the average person, the lack of mmWave on the iPad Air is a non-issue.
Review:Apple iPad Pro (2021): Impressively powerful, but the hardware is only part of the story
Sub6 5G networks are just a little faster than current LTE networks, with lower latency and more bandwidth for more users, while mmWave 5G technology will give you the network speeds you see touted in commercials of up to 2Gbps. However, those speeds are only achieved in very specific conditions.
Don't base your iPad buying decision on which flavor of 5G the iPad supports.
Finally, the price
The price is one of the biggest differentiators between the three models. The iPad Air is priced between the base iPad and the iPad Pro, so it would make of sense for it to be the iPad of choice for people who want a tablet for more than just watching Netflix and browsing the web.
Also: Anker's 551 USB-C Hub is almost the perfect iPad Pro accessory
Here's the pricing breakdown for the iPad Air and both sizes of the iPad Pro. Keep in mind, however, that all three iPads work with the $129 second-generation Apple Pencil, and have keyboard options that range in price from $299 for the iPad Air and 11-inch iPad Pro, to $329 for the larger iPad Pro. Those accessories raise the overall price of your investment in Apple's tablet, should you need them.
|iPad Air||11-inch iPad Pro||12.9-inch iPad Pro|
If you max out an iPad Air with all of the accessories, the total cost comes close to the base model 11-inch iPad Pro, sans any accessories.
So, then you're left asking yourself whether you want an iPad with a better display and a faster USB-C connection, with more base storage. For me, even though the iPad Air does everything I need from Apple's tablet, I don't regret buying my iPad Pro. A year later, it's still the best iPad I've ever owned.
Also: How to use an iPad Pro to power your home office
But for the majority of people, the display and USB-C differences are something that won't make or break the experience, and thus, the iPad Air is the best pick.
What is the difference between iPad Air and Pro 2022? ›
In other words -- you likely won't notice much of a difference between the two. The iPad Pro line has a faster refresh rate of up to 120Hz (called ProMotion), a higher max brightness level, and the larger iPad Pro uses mini-LED technology for a better picture, which Apple calls a Liquid Retina XDR display.Is it better to get the iPad Pro or Air? ›
That delivers up to an 18% faster CPU, 35% faster GPU (10-core vs 8-core), and a 2x boost in memory bandwidth from 50GB/s to 100GB/s. But three other advantages the iPad Pro holds over the iPad Air – in this category – are Thunderbolt support, 16GB RAM on the 1TB and 2TB models, and more storage options.Is iPad Air still worth it in 2022? ›
You should buy the iPad Air 5 (2022) if...
Trickling down from MacBooks and iMacs, Apple's M1 chip is expected to be up to 60% faster and more powerful than its A-series counterpart -- like the A14 found in the 2020 iPad Air. That's a significant step up, considering both iPads start on equal footing with 8GB of RAM.
There's no question that the new iPad Pro is better than its predecessor. It's the same price and comes with a more powerful chip as well as a few additional features. That said, I think it's not as sure a bet as the last iPad Pro was when it came out in early 2021.What can an iPad Pro do that an iPad Air can t? ›
A couple of differences – the iPad Pro front camera features support for Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting, and Animoji/Memoji while the iPad Air front camera does not. And when it comes to speakers, you're getting four-speaker audio with the iPad Pro while the iPad Air has a two-speaker system.Whats the difference between iPad regular air and pro? ›
iPad Air comes with a 10.5-inch screen with a Liquid Retina display. While you get two options with iPad Pro- 11-inch and 12.9-inch screens with Liquid Retina XDR display. Pro also comes with an additional feature called ProMotion Technology that provides an adaptive refresh rate of 10Hz to 120Hz.Why is the air better than normal iPad? ›
The main difference between the devices is their chips and amount of memory, so if you plan on using your iPad for more demanding tasks like 3D graphic design, advanced photo editing, and gaming, the iPad Air will be the better choice by far.Why is an iPad Air better? ›
First, the obvious: The iPad Air has a vastly more powerful processor, Apple's M1. This is the same processor that powered the company's previous generation of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro computers — in fact, I'm writing this very text on an M1 MacBook Pro that I bought in 2020, and it still serves me perfectly.Is iPad Pro or iPad Air better for university? ›
The only major feature it's missing is the 120Hz ProMotion screen refresh rate, but that's hardly something most people will even notice. We highly recommend the iPad Air for students who need premium performance and best iPad you can buy without the Pro name.Is 64GB enough for iPad Air 2022? ›
Most iPad buyers in 2022 are only picking between two storage options since the iPad, iPad Air, and iPad mini only offer 64GB and 256GB configurations. If you need to spend the least possible, get 64GB and the chances are you'll be fine.
What is the best iPad for 2022? ›
Apple's 2022 iPad Pro lineup is by far the most capable and impressive iPad lineup we've seen, making it our best overall pick. It's also the most expensive, by a long shot.Is 128GB enough for iPad Pro 2022? ›
On a powerful tablet like this, 128GB seems like too little memory for 2022, especially if you do anything with images and videos on your tablet. Since Apple's tablets lack any user-expandable storage options, consider your usage plans and upgrade storage before you buy.What are the benefits of buying an iPad Pro? ›
- Run powerful apps effortlessly. iPad works with the powerful apps you're familiar with, like Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Office, with the added ease of using them with touch. ...
- Use multiple apps at once and work between them. ...
- Store and share all your stuff with Files.
Should you buy it? Pick the 2022 iPad Pro if you want the extra power and better screen over other iPads. It's very fast, the screen display and speakers are excellent for kicking back and watching movies, and it's a great tablet for creatives who need added power for video or photo editing.What are disadvantages of iPad Air? ›
- Too close in cost to iPad Pro.
- Peripherals are expensive.
- 64GB is too little storage for base model.
- IPadOS is annoying to use.
- Front-facing camera is awkward in landscape orientation.
- Still no Face ID.
Other than size, the iPad has Apple's Retina display, while the iPad Air has a Liquid Retina display. That's to say the iPad Air essentially has slightly richer colors. Otherwise, both iPads basically have the same sharpness relative to their display size.Is it worth it to buy iPad Air? ›
If you're looking for a do-it-all tablet with top-notch accessories, the 2022 iPad Air is the best choice in Apple's tablet lineup—and a better bet than any Android tablet—earning it our Editors' Choice award.What is the main difference between air and pro? ›
The main difference between the 2022 MacBook Air and Pro is the included fans for the Pro and Touch Bar. But if you're worried about performance and overheating, you should probably be looking at the 14 or 16-inch MacBook Pro.Is iPad Air 64GB enough? ›
An iPad with 64GB storage or less is suitable if you want to browse the internet, check your email, Facetime, or watch series. It's enough storage capacity to download apps and play some games.How long does an iPad Air last? ›
How Many Years Should an iPad Last? Apple usually supports a new iPad with iPadOS updates for at least five years and often several years longer. Most iPad models hold up well in performance, features, and storage over this timeframe which means that five years is a standard lifespan for any iPad.
Should I get iPad Air or iPad 9th generation? ›
In the iPad Air 5 (2022) vs iPad 9 (2021) battle, the former wins every single round. The latter's only advantage is its price tag. If you're on a low budget or don't want to spend a lot on a tablet, it makes a good media consumption device. The iPad Air 5 and iPad 9 start at $599 and $329 in the US respectively.Is 256GB enough for iPad Pro for students? ›
There are two storage options, 64GB and 256GB, which is generally enough for most users. It's a bit slow when you need to multitask but still powers through with the A13 chip. If you're not a power user, the iPad can do more than enough for you.Is iPad Pro worth it for students? ›
The 12.9” iPad Pro in this setup (coupled with the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil) is an incredible device, one that can very well become a college student's best friend. In a sense, if money is of no concern, there is no particular issue in recommending the iPad Pro.Which iPad is best for study purpose? ›
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (M1, 2021)
If you're serious about getting the best iPad for any student then there's really only one choice. The latest 12.9-inch iPad Pro is an absolute creative powerhouse with an M1 processor, laptop-size screen and storage options up to 2TB.
|Best time to buy an iPhone||September, October, Black Friday and Cyber Monday|
|Best time to buy an iPad||Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday|
|Best time to buy a MacBook||August and Labor Day|
- iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max.
- Apple Watch Series 6.
- iPhone XR.
- iPad 8th-gen.
- iPad mini 5th-gen.
- 21.5-inch iMac.
- iMac Pro.
- iPad 3G.
- iPad (3rd generation) Wi-Fi.
- iPad (3rd generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular.
- iPad (3rd generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular (VZ)
- iPad (4th generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular (MM)
- iPad (4th generation) Wi-Fi.
- iPad (4th generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular.
- iPad (authentic)
For most consumers, 256GB is a good option if you need a lot of room for your apps and files. Unless you are doing professional work on your tablet, it is unlikely you will find yourself maxing out the 256GB option. Every Apple tablet except the 8th generation iPad offers this much storage.Should I get the 64GB or 256GB iPad air for students? ›
So which iPad is the best for students? Overall, we think the iPad Air at 64GB is a solid choice for college. It's more affordable than the iPad Pro, yet offers a comparable performance for all your studying, research, and note-taking needs.Is 128GB enough for iPad for students? ›
anywhere from 64-128 gb should be fine. Also keep in mind cloud storage (Google drive, iCloud, etc.) will be easy to use so I wouldn't worry about storage to much.
Which is the best iPad of all time? ›
- Best standard iPad: Apple iPad (2021)
- Best iPad for work: 12.9in Apple iPad Pro 12.9in (2021)
- Best iPad for travelling light: Apple iPad mini (2021)
- Best iPad Pro alternative: Apple iPad Air 5 (2022)
The 2022 iPad Pro models are equipped with Apple's next-generation M2 Apple silicon chip, which was previously introduced in the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. The M2 chip features an 8-core CPU that's up to 15 percent faster than the M1 chip, offering improvements for both the performance and efficiency cores.What generation is the newest iPad 2022? ›
Released in April 2022, the newest iPad of all is the 5th generation iPad Air.Can you add storage to iPad Pro? ›
All iPad Pro models have a fixed default capacity and this internal storage cannot be expanded or upgraded subsequently. They do not have an SD card slot, either.Why would I need cellular on my iPad? ›
Cellular data on iPad gives you the flexibility to stay connected whenever you're away from Wi-Fi.How many hours of video can 64GB hold? ›
A 64GB storage device can hold more than 1 hour and 37 minutes of video at a resolution of 2.7k at 120fps. On a 64GB memory card, recording at a resolution of 1080p at 60fps allows for around 5 hours of video time.What is the disadvantage of iPad Pro? ›
The cost of iPad devices is expensive than that of android tablets. You also have to buy apps to use on your device. The accessories of the iPad are also expensive. For example, the external keyboard, touchpad, Apple pencil, card reader are expensive devices.What is so special about the new iPad pro? ›
Superfast Wireless Connectivity. The new iPad Pro supports the fastest Wi-Fi connections with support for Wi-Fi 6E,3 so users who need fast connections can take their demanding workflows with them everywhere. Downloads are up to 2.4Gb/s, 2x faster than the previous generation.Is the iPad Pro basically a computer? ›
The first explains that the new machine is your next computer, but it's not a computer. Yes, it's faster than most PC laptops -- according to Apple -- but you can touch the screen and even gear yourself up for an augmented reality.Is iPad Pro a luxury? ›
The new iPad Pro for 2021 is a luxury tablet with a luxury price tag, and for most people it will be overkill. If you can afford it, however, you won't be disappointed.
Is an iPad worth it if you have a laptop? ›
While an iPad can accomplish many of the same tasks as a laptop, that doesn't mean they're interchangeable. There are probably some tasks you'll still need your laptop for, but there are also a lot of situations where you'll be able to leave your laptop at home and only carry the much lighter iPad.Will there be a new iPad Pro in 2022? ›
Apple upgraded both of its iPad Pro models for 2022, with the 11-inch iPad Pro starting at $799 and the 12.9-inch version starting at $1,099 (this review focuses on the latter).Which iPad is best for all purpose? ›
Best for Most People
Yes, there's a new entry-level iPad in town, but we still think the ninth-generation iPad (8/10, WIRED Recommends) from 2021 is the best iPad for most people. It's the most affordable (and has dipped as low as $280 at Amazon before).
- iPad Air (2022) The best iPad for most people. ...
- iPad Pro 2021 (12.9-inch) The biggest, most beautiful iPad you can buy. ...
- iPad mini 6 2021. The best super-portable iPad. ...
- iPad Pro 2021 (11-inch) The best iPad for power users on the go. ...
- iPad 2022 (10th gen) The best regular iPad in years.
With the 2022 iPad Pro models, the Apple Pencil supports Hover Mode, which allows the Apple Pencil's tip to be detected up to 12 mm above the display. Apple says that users are able to see a preview of their mark before they make it, and that sketching and illustrating can be done with greater precision.What can I expect from my iPad 2022? ›
“With a large 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, powerful A14 Bionic chip, a first-ever landscape front camera, fast wireless connectivity, USB-C, and support for incredible accessories like the new Magic Keyboard Folio, the new iPad delivers more value, more versatility — and is simply more fun.”Does iPad Pro 2022 have Touch ID? ›
Touch ID works on the 2022 iPad just like it did on the last model; only the position of the sensor has changed. You'll still be able to use your fingerprint to unlock your iPad, access secure apps, and authorize Apple Pay payments and in-app purchases.