Feature Request: The 2021 iPad Pro will need iPadOS 15 to unleash its full potential

Apple has yet to announce the 2021 iPad Pro upgrade, but things are looking good for the company’s new tablet. could be unveiled as early as April. With a processor that will likely be compared to the M1 Macs, the iPad Pro is a powerful tool for professionals, but it still lacks more Mac apps and software upgrades.

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As the rumors suggest, the 2021 iPad Pro will have some notable new features: the 12.9-inch model is set to use mini-LED display technology, and both models will switch the USB-C port to a Thunderbolt one and use the A14X processor. As 9to5Mac reported this week, the A14X is likely to be based on Apple’s M1 processor.

If you mix all of these features with the Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard, Apple’s “What’s a computer?” ad makes much more sense.

But even if the fifth-generation iPad Pro introduces all of these new features, users have been complaining for a while that Apple doesn’t take advantage of the bigger screen and massive power processor.

At WWDC19, the company introduced the iPadOS 13, breaking the iPad operating system out from iOS for the first time. This included multiple new features:

  • Multiple windows opened in split view
  • External disk drives support
  • A brand new Files app which included column view
  • “Desktop-class” browsing
  • New keyboard shortcuts
  • Mouse and trackpad support (added in iPadOS 13.5)

Last year, iPadOS 14 brought even more features, including a new three-column design for apps. But what users are really asking for, Apple didn’t add.

iPadOS 15: time to unleash iPad Pro’s true power

Apple releases iPadOS 14 for iPad

Let’s start with something basic like the App Library introduced on iOS 14. It would look great on the giant iPad Pro screen, but Apple didn’t include this feature in iPadOS 14. The same happened with customizable widgets on the Home screen. This feature is available on the iPhone, but not on the iPad.

Next: Adobe and Microsoft are helping Apple to push iPad Pro’s limit but even with a full Photoshop app available for the iPad, many features are still missing. So if you’re a professional who relies on the Photoshop app on your Mac, you may not be able to use all the features you need, even if your iPad is more powerful than your Mac.

Then there’s Apple. None of Apple’s pro applications, such as Final Cut Pro or Logic Pro, are available on the iPad. Xcode is also missing from the tablet, which means developers can’t take advantage of the device’s size and power for coding work.

It’s time for Apple to push even further and give users more powerful apps. I’m all-in on trying to use iPad as my main computer, but I have to use so many tweaks that it’s easier to go with the Mac. The M1-powered MacBook Air is also the same price as the entry-level 12.9-inch iPad Pro nowadays.

Not to mention, you’ll also need the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil to get the “full” iPad Pro expereince.

Kensington StudioDock iPad Air iPad Pro stand hub

Apple could take an approach closer to what Samsung does: including more accessories with the tablet’s full price, or it could give users a discount when buying the Magic Keyboard and/or the Apple Pencil alongside a new iPad Pro.

Wrap up

As the iPad Pro approaches its fifth-generation, there’s so much work left to be done by Apple. And as the rumors suggest, the next wave of MacBook and iMac updates with Apple Silicon is going to have a redesign with even powerful processors.

The iPad Pro is in a tricky position right now. The Apple Silicon Macs are encroaching in areas like performance and battery life, and the iPad Air features a similar design but at a lower price. iPadOS 15 needs to bring new features and apps to truly take advantage of the upcoming A14X-powered iPad Pro’s potential.

What do you think about iPadOS 15 and the rumored 2021 iPad Pro? Let us know down in the comments!

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Avatar for José Adorno José Adorno

Brazilian tech Journalist. Author at 9to5Mac. Previously at Rede Globo, the main TV broadcaster in Latin America.

Got tips, feedback, or questions? jose@9to5mac.com