iPad Pro (2021): Features, release date, design, and more
20 'iPad Pro 2021' stories
June 2020 - April 2021
The 2021 iPad Pro has been rumored for quite a while. It’s likely going to be released on April 20, at Apple’s ‘Spring Loaded’ Event with a handful of new futures. Currently, rumors indicate that the update will bring a new display, camera improvements, better processor, and more.
Read on for our full roundup of everything we know so far about the 2021 iPad Pro, including naming details, design, and more.
Table of contents
- What will the 2021 iPad Pro be called?
- What features and specs will the 2021 iPad Pro have?
- Price: How much will the 2021 iPad Pro cost?
What will the 2021 iPad Pro be called?
As Apple has been doing for quite some time with the iPad line, the fifth-generation iPad Pro will probably be called simply iPad Pro. Currently, the company describes on its website the fourth-generation iPad Pro as “iPad Pro.”
Formally, it is the fourth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro and second-generation 11-inch iPad Pro, since the first smaller “pro” iPad had a different screen size, but when Apple updated it with an 11-inch display, it became a newer generation.
Since the next generation is probably going to be released in 2021, this is why, for now, we’re calling it the 2021 iPad Pro.
What features and specs will the 2021 iPad Pro have?
2021 iPad Pro design and models
In terms of design, the 2021 iPad Pro won’t be much different than the last model launched by Apple, according to Macotakara. The company should maintain two models with 11-inch and 12.9-inch displays, with smaller bezels, and Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular options. 9to5Mac has learned that the codenames for the new iPads are J517, J518, J522, and J523.
Rumors suggest that the new iPads will have fewer speaker holes, according to an accessory maker.
Although it’s unclear how much it will impact the four speakers for stereo sound, you can picture how little design-wise the 2021 iPad Pro will change.
On the image above, you can see recent dummy units shared by Sonny Dickson on Twitter of the forthcoming iPad Pro and iPad mini refreshes.
There are no indications that this year’s iPad will have different colors than Silver and Space Gray. The fourth-generation iPad Air is colorful, but it has never been likely for any Apple “Pro” product to have a lot of colors, except for the iPhone Pro models which also have Gold, Midnight Green (iPhone 11 Pro), and Midnight Blue (iPhone 12 Pro).
Face ID is also going to remain the security system on this iPad. While the fourth-generation iPad Air introduced the Touch ID on the Side Button, it’s not likely that Apple will do the same with the iPad Pro.
The Face ID sensor will stay hidden within the bezel, as it currently is.
Everything we know about the mini-LED display
As for now, all the iPads have LCD screens, which require backlights. On the fourth generation of the iPad Pro and iPad Air, Apple calls their screens “Liquid Retina display.”
This display was first introduced with the iPhone XR and helps Apple to have smaller bezels on its devices with an LCD panel.
The 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro is said to feature a new mini-LED display technology. With the introduction of mini-LED, dramatically smaller LEDs are used, which provides much greater control of localized backlighting, allowing higher brightness and deeper blacks. The combination boosts the contrast ratio, as well as using less power.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro will likely be the first Apple product with mini-LED technology, while the 11-inch iPad Pro will probably maintain its LCD Liquid Retina display, with rumors suggesting it will receive a proper upgrade sometime in the future.
The fourth-generation iPad Pro was the first Apple product to introduce the LiDAR Scanner, and since then, it’s been featured on the iPhone 12 Pro lineup.
It doesn’t appear the company will introduce a next generation of the scanner, but it’s expected that the iPad Pro will receive an upgrade on its cameras, with similar technologies as the iPhone 12.
Currently, the iPad Pro has a 12MP Wide Len with ƒ/1.8 aperture and a 10MP Ultra-Wide Len with ƒ/2.4 aperture, and 125° field of view.
The fifth-generation iPad Pro could receive the same dual 12MP camera system as the iPhone 12, with a ƒ/1.6 aperture on the Wide Lens and ƒ/2.4 aperture and 120° field of view on the Ultra-Wide Lens.
Apple can also add support to Smart HDR 3, ProRAW and Dolby Vision recording technologies.
The 2021 iPad Pro lineup will add a new chip that’s going to be called A14X,9to5Mac discovered.
The 2021 iPad Pro will have similar performance to the latest M1 Macs, as the A14X processor will based on the same chip architecture. For the end user, this should result in a notable upgrade in speed compared to the A12Z Bionic chip used in the 2020 iPad Pro.
If we compare the A12 chip (fourth-generation iPad Pro has the A12Z) with the A14 processor, this generation iPad Pro will have something close to a 30% better performance and 50% faster in single-core to its previous model.
Apple doesn’t tell users how much RAM it is on the iPad but expect at least 6GB of RAM on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
As the iPhone 12, the 2021 iPad Pro will probably be the first iPad with 5G support. Expect best-in-class Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, while the Cellular model will have a revamped antenna design and ultra-speed support with 5G bands.
It’s unclear if the iPad will have the mmWave support or if it’s going to be available only for the US.
Since the iPad is bigger than an iPhone, it could be possible that all Cellular models sold by Apple will have mmWave technology support.
As recently reported by Bloomberg, another major update for the 2021 iPad Pro is set to be a port replacement. Apple could ditch the USB-C for a Thunderbolt one.
Thunderbolt ports are available on the Mac and would enable iPad Pro users to connect to additional displays and other accessories, as well as transfer files faster. In terms of design, the connector looks the same, but the technology is better. This could also help the iPad Pro better function with external monitors.
Apple has been generous with the storage options on the iPad Pro, and the current fourth-generation iPad Pro has these options:
The 2021 iPad Pro could keep the same amount of storage options, though it would be a welcome surprise if Apple ditched the 128GB option and added a new 2TB. Because Apple focuses on this iPad for recording content and editing, it wouldn’t be bad to have more storage available aside from a iCloud subscription.
Accessories: Smart Keyboard, Magic Keyboard, and Apple Pencil 3rd gen
Another selling point for the iPad Pro is its accessories. The most important ones are the Magic Keyboard and the Apple Pencil.
While Apple doesn’t seem to change the iPad’s form-factor, it’s likely that the company will sell the same Smart Keyboard and Magic Keyboard it’s already selling for the fourth-generation iPad Pro and fourth-generation iPad Air.
The Apple Pencil, on the other hand, is rumored to have a newer generation. With a glossy design, this Pencil above could be a new accessory for the 2021 iPad Pro.
While this Apple Pencil looks similar to the first-generation model, we can’t see a Lightning port, so it could mean that it’s for the newer iPads.
Since the second-generation Apple Pencil charges when attached to the iPad Pro model, it will likely work on the older models as well.
Also, there isn’t rumor suggesting we’ll find MagSafe accessories on the 2021 iPad Pro any time soon.
Release Date: When will the 2021 iPad Pro come out?
The 2021 iPad Pro could launch on April 20, at Apple ‘Spring Loaded’ Event. In April, Bloomberg reported that the more expensive iPad Pro version with Mini-LED display may ship days or weeks later.
Apple still intends to announce updated iPad Pro tablets in two sizes as early as this month, other people familiar with its product road map said. The MiniLED screen, which will improve contrast ratios and deliver a brighter picture, will be exclusive to the pricier 12.9-inch model. The production hiccup could mean that the larger iPad Pro will ship later and be available in constrained quantities to begin with, the people said.
Due to a global chip shortage, a report from Nikkei says Apple is hurting with the production of some iPad and MacBook models. This corroborates with the fact that although this iPad could be announced next week, its launch could be delayed.
Price: How much will the 2021 iPad Pro cost?
As the 2021 iPad Pro hasn’t been announced yet, it’s hard to say if Apple will make it cheaper or more expensive. The rumored changes could warrant a price increase, especially because Apple is looking for ways to differentiate the iPad Pro from the iPad Air.
It’s important to notice that while the 11-inch model won’t be featuring a mini-LED display technology, we could see a drop in price in the start selling point of the iPad Pro.
Currently, the 11-inch iPad Pro goes from $799 to $1,499 with a 1TB storage option and Cellular connectivity. The 12-inch iPad Pro goes from $999 to $1,649 with a 1TB storage option and Cellular connectivity.
The 2021 iPad Pro won’t have a major design upgrade as with the 2020 iPad Pro, but it will bring important changes, like the mini-LED display technology, 5G connectivity, and a Thunderbolt port, especially on the 12.9-inch model. The better cameras will also be a great jump for the professionals who use an iPad as its main device.
The rumor mill gives very clear expectations about the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but not so much about the 11-inch one.
It’s possible that Apple will differentiate models as it does with the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max, as they have lots of similarities, also a few crucial differences for the most heavy-user base.