9.7-inch iPad Pro is no laptop replacement, but it’s a terrific tablet [Reviews]

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iPad Pro 3
iPad Pro is even better at 9.7 inches.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple really, really wants you to replace your laptop with an iPad — especially if that laptop is powered by Windows. But before that switch can even be considered, the iPad needs to do everything your laptop can and more. That’s where iPad Pro comes in.

With its new A9X chip, it’s the most powerful iPad to date. It does everything your old iPad did, but it does it better. It’s compatible with the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, and now it’s available in a smaller form factor with a 9.7-inch display.

This new model is easier to carry around all day, but it packs almost exactly the same punch as the 12.9-inch iPad Pro — and the same stellar speakers. It has also adopted the incredible 12-megapixel iSight camera from iPhone 6s, with the dual-tone LED flash.

It’s everything you want in a tablet — and more.

New iPad Pro is slower than 12.9-inch model

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Size does matter, says Phil Schiller.
Size does matter, says Phil Schiller.
Photo: Apple

The new iPad Pro packs Apple’s fastest chip ever, but it turns out the tablet is actually slower than the 12.9-inch version.

Both iPad Pros use the A9x processor. However, when Phil Schiller was gushing about the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro’s “grunt” during Monday’s iPhone SE keynote, he didn’t mention that Apple underclocked the new processor and reduced its horsepower.

iPad Air 3 will pack the same powerful processor as iPad Pro

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2017 12.9-inch iPad Pro
The iPad Pro's best features are coming to iPad Air 3.
Photo: Leander Kahney / Cult of Mac

Apple isn’t skimping on processing power when it comes to the iPad Air 3 and iPhone 5se that are expected to be revealed next month.

Even though the new 4-inch iPhone is being aimed as a mid-range smartphone, Apple reportedly plans to include the same A9 processor found in the iPhone 6s, while the iPad Air 3 will pack the A9X processor found in the iPad Pro.

How Intel’s Skylake processors will supercharge your MacBook

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Intel-Kaby-Lake
Intel's Skylake chips are coming to your MacBook.
Photo: Intel

This year’s MacBook and MacBook Pro upgrades are expected to bring Intel’s latest Skylake processors. Delivering more than just speed improvements, the new chips will bring far greater performance, graphics and battery life to Apple’s notebook lineup for 2016.

Here’s what makes those Skylake processors so special — and how they’ll supercharge that new Mac you’ll soon be drooling over.

Why Intel should be scared of the iPad Pro’s A9X chip

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iPad Pro
Bag a bargain iPad Pro today.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Although we’ve been skeptical of the idea of ARM-based Macs in the past, rumors have been heating up that Apple will switch to ARM processors for all Macs this year due to massive performance gains. But as great as Apple’s A-series chips are, are they really ready to power Macs?

The answer isn’t entirely clear-cut, but a new series of benchmarks suggest that Apple’s ARM chips are starting to compete with Intel’s Core M chips, which power the 12-inch Retina MacBook. If this pace keeps up, iPads might be faster than Macs in just a few generations.

iPod Pro’s A9X processor packs gigantic 12-cluster GPU (but no L3 cache)

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The A9X chip puts iPhone 6s graphics to shame.
The A9X chip puts iPhone 6s graphics to shame.
Photo: Apple

The enormous iPad Pro has an appropriately huge graphics processor.

A teardown analysis by electronics firm Chipworks has revealed details of the new A9X processor that powers the Apple’s plus-size tablet, including the 12-cluster GPU that’s twice as powerful as the A9 processor found in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

Here’s a closer look at the chip: