What is the Newest Version of the iPad?

Apple iPads. Apple Inc.

The iPad lineup got a facelift when Apple released a 10.5-inch iPad with a smaller bezel to fit in a larger screen and a "5th generation" iPad to replace the iPad Air 2. You can now choose from four models with four different sizes, but size isn't all that matters. While te 12.9-inch and 10.5-inch iPad Pro models are very similar to each other, there are some major differences when you move to the 9.7-inch iPad and the 7.9-inch iPad Mini..

This adds more confusion when deciding on an iPad, especially those who want to make sure they get the latest and greatest iPad, so we'll break it down for you.

The iPad Pro (10.5-inch and 12.9-inch)

The iPad Pro is now in its second generation, and while the first generation had some major differences between models, the only difference between the latest 12.9-inch and 10.5-inch models is the size and the price tag. The 10.5-inch model will save you $150 for the same performance and features, but the added size on the screen makes the 12.9-inch iPad Pro a real pleasure to use.

So what's "pro" about the iPad Pro? Apple markets the Apple Pencil, an advanced stylus that only works on the iPad Pro models, and their Smart Keyboard alongside the iPad Pro. But what really makes this iPad different is the processing speed that matches or even exceeds most laptops and the increased memory that allows smoother multitasking.

But perhaps the best reason to go with an iPad Pro over the regular model is to future proof the purchase. The faster processor and increased RAM memory will give the Pro an edge years down the line when the normal iPad may be screaming for an upgrade.

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is $649 and the 12.9-inch model will set you back $799.

The "5th Generation" iPad

In a bizarre twist twist in naming, the newest 9.7-inch iPad is called a "5th generation" iPad despite the fact that it is actually a 7th generation iPad. After the 4th generation iPad, Apple released the iPad Air and the iPad Air 2, but with this "5th generation" iPad (or iPad 5), Apple seems to be ditching the "Air" moniker. 

Despite the odd name, this model is basically an iPad Air 2 with the iPhone 6S's processor, which is a slight upgrade to the iPad Air 2's. But mostly, it features a very nice price decrease. While 9.7-inch models have enjoyed a $499 entry-level price since the very first iPad, this model is just $329. This makes it a perfect "first" iPad for those unsure if they would really use a tablet that much. (Hint: You're going to love it!) It's also a great upgrade for those finding their current iPad to be sluggish but not at all excited at the prospect of a $649 iPad Pro.

The iPad Mini 4

The 7.9-inch iPad Mini 4 used to be one of the best deals in the iPad lineup, but now it is easily the worst. The Mini itself is an good tablet. But at $399, it is $70 more expensive than the latest 9.7-inch iPad and sports the same basic processor in the iPhone 6 compared to the iPad 5's iPhone 6S processor.

This makes it smaller and slower. The iPad 5 also has better cameras and more RAM memory for applications.  

So why buy an iPad Mini 4? Some people are really in love with the size. If you want an iPad that fits into a larger purse or a small travel bag, the iPad Mini 4 is it. But for the vast majority, the iPad 5 is the better deal.

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro

While you can no longer buy it at Apple stores, the first 9.7-inch iPad Pro is the "newest" 9.7-inch iPad Pro and probably the last. Apple has moved on to the 10.5-inch size fro the smaller iPad Pro, but you can still find the 9.7-inch version at some retailers and in Apple's refurbished listings.

Should you buy refurbished? They do come with the same 1-year warranty, and are often one of the best ways to buy a cheap iPad. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro is a great tablet and can be a good way to slip into the 'pro' level without paying that iPad Pro price.