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Which iPad should you buy? Here’s how the new iPad Air compares to the rest of the lineup

Apple released the new iPad Air and iPad mini today with a variety of improvements including processor updates, Apple Pencil support, and more. Read on for how the latest iPad models compare to the existing 9.7-inch iPad and iPad Pro models.

Along with the launch of the new 10.5-inch iPad Air and the refreshed 7.9-inch iPad mini, Apple discontinued the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the 4th-generation iPad mini that was last updated in 2015.

Now, the current iPad lineup consists fo the 7.9-inch iPad mini, 9.7-inch iPad, 10.5-inch iPad Air, and the 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Pricing ranges from $329 (often seen for $249) for the entry-level 9.7-inch iPad up to $1,899 for a maxed out 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Now that the updated iPads are up for pre-order, read on for a breakdown of how new the iPad lineup compares to find out which one is the best fit for you.


Both the new iPad Air and iPad mini sport some improvements like True Tone displays with P3 wide color gamut support and more. They do have thicker bezels, but other than that the only feature the displays lack compared to the iPad Pro is Apple’s ProMotion tech.

iPad Air lineup comparison

The only feature you’re missing out on display wise with the new iPad Air and iPad mini is the ProMotion tech. Here’s how Apple described it when the feature first launched:

The stunning, redesigned Retina display in iPad Pro features ProMotion, a new technology that delivers refresh rates of up to 120Hz for fluid scrolling, greater responsiveness and smoother motion content.

As for the 9.7-inch iPad, you’re giving up quite a few display features compared to the rest of the lineup.

Processor, Storage, and More

Both the iPad Air and iPad mini now include the A12 processor for improved performance. That’s a big step up from the A8 in the iPad mini 4 and the A10 in the 9.7-inch iPad. Another benefit to the new Air and mini is they both start with a base of 64GB of storage, double that of the base 9.7-inch iPad.

iPad lineup comparion processor, RAM, storage

Size, Weight, and Battery Life

When it comes to battery life, the entire iPad lineup is rated for 10 hours of web, video, or music use. If the size of the various models is a factor for your buying decision, check out the chart below.

iPad lineup battery comparison


As mentioned earlier, the current iPad lineup spans a really wide price range from several hundred to almost $2000. While the 9.7-inch iPad officially sells for $329 on Apple’s website, it often goes for closer to $250 from third-party retailers.

While that may be tempting on price alone, the new iPad Air in particular hits a nice balance of features and price, essentially replacing the old 10.5-inch iPad Pro at a more affordable $499 starting price. With the upgraded processor, Apple Pencil support, and more, the iPad Air will likely be a good fit for a lot of folks with solid features and a middle of the road price.



A few other little details include the iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Air still all featuring the Lightning connector as well as a headphone jack. Meanwhile the iPad Pro has made the switch to USB-C and doesn’t offer a headphone jack.

As for cameras, the iPad Pro naturally has the best rear-shooter with a 12-megapixel sensor and a Quad-LED True Tone flash. It can also record video in 4K at 60fps. The iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Air feature 8-megapixel rear sensors and are limited to 1080p video recordings with no flash.

New iPad Air 2019

The 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro are also the only models to offer quad-speakers, with the rest of the iPad lineup featuring dual-speakers.

What do you think of the new iPad Air and iPad mini? Are they valuable updates to the lineup, or have the iPad models grown to include too many options? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Avatar for Michael Potuck Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.