iPad Pro 10 Inch (2017) - Can last year's star stay relevant with the new iPad Pros just being released?

Nov 7, 2018

Photo by Apple

With the new iPad Pros just landing in Apple Stores all over the world, it is probably a good time to revisit last year’s most capable tablet for those who consider investing into a powerful drawing device, but are on the more budget-conscious side of the spectrum. As Apple introduced its 2019 tablet lineup, they kept last year’s smaller pro in store and its price decreased: one can buy it at apple.com paying $649 for the lowest tier (64GB). In comparison, the base model of the new 2019 iPad Pro (11 Inch and 64GB) starts at $799. We all know that purchasing the Apple Pencil ($99) is essential part of having the full drawing experience, therefore, it is tempting to spend less money on a device and fit in a few extras, such as the Pencil, for the price of a new Pro. So, let’s see how much of a compromise it means working on a smaller screen and weaker hardware.

One can easily compare the hardware specifications on Apple’s website, but allow me to add a photo to help you visualize the most important aspect, which is the size of the drawing area:

iPads from left to right: 9.7 Inch regular iPad, 10.5 Inch iPad Pro, 12.9 Inch iPad Pro

What can be said after working with the 10.5 Inch iPad Pro for about a year, is that this screen size comes with a few advantages but, nonetheless, it has a few shortcomings as well. When working in the field using Procreate, the size feels adequate and relatively spacious thanks to Procreate’s minimal UI that provides all the screen space to the canvas with almost no intervention. However, if you use the recommended Araree drawing board to give more grip to your tablet in the field, you need to prepare yourself for some customization, because these boards don’t come fitted for the smaller iPad Pro.

Corkwood fitting added to the Araree iPad Pro Drawing Desk to accommodate the 10.5 Inch iPad Pro

Astro HQ just released a hardware accelerator to boost your tethered screen capabilities when connected to a Mac, which is good news for those who’d like to use their iPad for digital inking. The new Luna Display is designed to take advantage of the entire iPad screen real estate, which means a world of a difference for smaller screens, lifting the inking experience from nearly impossible to absolutely passable. Of course, you’ll never be able to reach the level of comfort represented by the larger iPad Pro or the Wacom Cintiq Pro but, if you’re budget conscious, Apple’s new entry-level iPad Pro is a very good compromise. Although digitalEPIGRAPHY only considers the device’s usability for drawing purposes, the small size has a lot of benefits when it comes to using your iPad for tasks other than creating artworks. The overall smaller footprint and its capable hardware makes last year’s iPad Pro 10.5 Inch a compelling choice over this year’s pricy new iPad Pros.

Price: from $649

iPad Pro 10.5 Inch is available from Apple’s online store, from Amazon with a hefty discount, and from the usual retailers all over the world.

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