Opinion on the the latest 9.7 inch iPad?

Hi All,

I am looking to buy a new iPad (9.7 inch - 128GB) for viewing content, annotating PDF’s with the Apple pencil and email. Does anyone have an opinion (pro or con) on this model ?



There’s a big jump in price from the 9.7 to the 10.5, but there are a few catches that may or may not be dealbreakers to be aware of:

  1. The 9.7" is NOT compatible with the Apple Smart Keyboard, it ONLY works with bluetooth keyboards
  2. The display is not laminated, so there is a larger gap between the glass and the actual pixels (this can be a bit of a nuisance when viewing off-axis or when drawing.
  3. The FaceTime camera is WAY worse
  4. Slower, first-gen TouchID
  5. Older chipset, meaning less performance headroom for heavy workloads or newer OSs.

Really I think point 1 is the biggest potential dealbreaker since there’s really no workaround: If you were hoping to use the smart keyboard cover, you’re completely out of luck. Everything else is really a mater of your needs and preferences, and can be tolerated or worked around.

But that 9.7" iPad is no slouch at a great price, as long as those list items aren’t dealbreakers. It seems to outperform the new, similarly-priced Microsoft Surface Go based on this quick comparison from Matt Birchler.

I am not sure what to expect in the iPad lineup this fall. I suspect there’s a high likelihood that the Pros will be updated but it’s not clear what will happen to the 9.7" since it was just released in March and is a lower-end machine. I’d suspect at the very most the 9.7" could get a spec bump this fall, but I wouldn’t expect any major feature changes. So if you were shooting for a Pro, I’d advise you wait until October if you can, but the 9.7" I’d be reasonably comfortable buying it now.

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Thank you for the feedback. As far as a keyboard is concerned, I have used Bluetooth keyboards from Logitech (K760 - Solar) in the past with good results with my iPad 3 (yes, years ago now).

If I buy one the Pro is more than what I would like to spend and the 9.7 sounds good enough for the job at hand.

The Logitech Slim Folio looks like a very good solution for a combo case and keyboard.



I just bought one last week, along with the Logitech Slim Combo keyboard/case and an Apple Pencil. So far, I like it. I don’t know what the Smart Keyboard does that the Bluetooth keyboard doesn’t, but the Bluetooth keyboard works well for me.

I’m happy with the purchase.


Thanks for the feedback on the case/keyboard. Are you using the pencil to take notes and mark up PDF’s? If so what applications are you using?

I used to use Notability with my iPad 3 and a stylus for note taking 5 years ago. It worked pretty well but switched over to a Laptop (MacBook Air) with Evernote, then to my work Microsoft Surface with Windows 7, followed by a Windows 10 Dell Laptop (not to bad but no pencil). Sorry for being long winded but quite a never ending journey.


I just got a 2018 iPad and love it. I also got the Logitech slim folio for my Dad and he loves that, but it is a bit bulky.

The Pro has lots of little improvements that add up to make its value ok, but I consider them luxury additions. If you think the price is high for what you want it for (like me), I doubt you’ll be disappointed with the 9.7”.

Comparing to the iPad Pro, one thing worth noting is that there will probably be a much bigger gap between the regular iPad and the Pro once the Pro gets it’s rumored refresh later this year (FaceID, smaller bezels, etc.).

Sorry, Bill, but I can’t be of much help. So far I’m just using the iOS notes app to take notes. I’m looking for a better app. I think there was a thread here on notes apps not too long ago.

I used to use GoodReader to read and annotate PDFs, and I remember liking it. I might start with that (since I already own it).

Good luck!


I bought the 9.7” launch weekend and it’s just been wonderful. I think I would have happily paid $400-450 for it. I don’t use any peripherals; its purpose is a reading and drawing device so I’m more focused when writing and typing on my laptop.

That said, I would wait a month to see what Apple does and then either buy the new Pro or a refurb 9.7.


Update on the purchase of the iPad (2108 9.7 inch), well I bit the bullet and love the unit !!! I got the 32 GB model, an Apple Pencil, Targus case and a Logitech K380 keyboard. I have been using it for most everything, I am going to try to go all iPad for a month or so leaving my Mac’s turned off. Wish me luck !!!