(This is an old post from June 9, 2016, recovered via the Wayback Machine…)
If you’re looking for a tablet because you draw stuff for a living, then there’s no doubt the 12ʺ iPad Pro is the tool you want. It’s fast, the Pencil is as responsive a tool as you could ask for, and it has all the benefits of being part of the iOS ecosystem. And I can say this as someone who also owns a MS Surface Pro.
The thing is though, if you’re actually in it because you want an iPad, you’re better off going with the 9.7ʺ. It’s almost exactly as fast as the 12ʺ, but its weight and form factor make it a tool that you will carry around with you all the time. By contrast, as Deb said, the 12ʺ is something you’d “always be worrying about bending”. It’s just too unwieldy to be anything but something you put in a laptop bag when you’re not using it.
The other side of the question is whether an iPad Air would be just as good as your main iPad. All I can say to that is, if you want that to be true, do not try the iPad Pro. The Air is a great device, but the Pro really is materially faster. Really, with the lighter weight iOS running on it, the iPad Pro feels like it’s faster than my MBP for many tasks. It’s definitely the best way to read Notes email now.
And speaking of which, I did indeed put the IBM security package on it, so I can now read my Notes mail and calendar, and get access to VPN, etc. To give you some idea of how much faster this is than my old iPad. My first gen iPad Mini took about 2 hours to install all the software. The Pro took just under 10 minutes. Very nice.
Anyway, the iPad Pro is too expensive to be an impulse buy. I was lucky enough to have my wonderful wife Deb give me permission to get one as an early Father’s Day gift. Thanks, love. It’s awesome.