What is the Newest Version of the iPad?

A young girl using an iPad with they Apple stylus, to draw a picture.

There are now a whopping five different sizes of the iPad spread among four different models, but while the 12.9-inch and 11-inch models are very similar to each other, there are some big differences for the rest of the lineup. This can make it a little confusing to decide on an iPad, especially if you are looking for the newest version of the iPad, so we'll help you break down all of the iPads available for sale.

The 2018 iPad Pro (11-inch and 12.9-inch)

The 2018 iPad Pro models side by side
Apple, Inc

The iPad Pro is now in its third generation, and while the first generation had some major differences between models, the only difference between the latest 12.9-inch and 11-inch models is the size and the price tag. The 11-inch model will save you $200 for the same performance and features, which is a pretty good discount, 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 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.

The newest iPad Pro models have adopted the bezel-less design of the iPhone, ditching the Home Button in favor of an iPad that is almost all screen. This iPad includes the now-famous notch, and because the screen not takes up most of the space, the 12.9-inch model is significantly smaller than previous iPad Pro models with the same screen size. The 11-inch model is a new screen size and is perfect for those that enjoyed the form factor of the older 9.7-inch models while getting more screen.

In addition to the all-screen design, the new iPad Pro models have seen a significant performance boost, work with the new Apple Pencil 2 and includes a USB-C port for connectivity. This means the new iPad Pro can do some pretty cool stuff such as easily hook up to an external monitor.

The 12.9-inch iPad starts at $999 and the 11-inch models begins at $799.

The 9.7-inch iPad

The iPad 9.7 inch tablet showing iCloud Drive and the stylus pencil.

The 9.7-inch iPad was the first model introduced, and while it had a few years with the "iPad Air" name, it is generally the most popular iPad. The 2018 refresh of this model includes support for the Apple Pencil and an upgrade to the same A10 Fusion processor used in the iPhone 7 line of smartphones, which is a nice boost over the 2017 model. 

This iPad is Apple's entry-level tablet, starting at just $329 with a $30 discount for schools and other educational institutions. The new support for the Apple Pencil combines with enhanced stylus support in the iWork suite of apps, which includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote.

The biggest difference between the 9.7-inch iPad and the iPad Pro line of tablets is performance. The iPad Pro is much faster and has more RAM to hold applications in memory. The 9.7-inch iPad doesn't support the smart keyboard, although it does support most wireless keyboards, You can even hook up a wired keyboard.

The iPad Mini 4

The iPad mini 4 was a smaller version of the standard iPad tablet.

The iPad Mini 4 is all but dead. The only thing keeping us from an official burial is that Apple still sells it. But without a refresh since 2015, it seems clear Apple has no intention of reviving the Mini, and perhaps the only reason that it is still for sale is that it still does sale.

But should it? We don't recommend the iPad Mini 4 because the price tag ($399) is higher than the entry level 9.7-inch iPad, which has a faster processor and supports the Apple Pencil. The Mini 4 does include 128 GB of storage, which is nice, but the better deal for those who need the added storage is to pay a little more for the 128 GB version of the 9.7-inch iPad.

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro

Picture of the 9.7

If you find $799 a bit too steep for a tablet but want something more powerful than the 9.7-inch iPad, Apple is still selling the 2017 edition 10.5-inch iPad Pro. This iPad Prod doesn't support the new Apple Pencil 2, but it still has amazing processing power in a tablet, second only to the newest iPad Pro models. This means it can handle anything you can throw at it and will be zipping along several years from now. And the $649 price tag for the entry-level model gives it $150 off the price of an 11-inch iPad Pro.