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iPad Pro (2021): Features, release date, design, and more

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New iPad Pro vs 2020 iPad Pro wrap-up

The 2021 iPad Pro has been announced during Apple’s ‘Spring Loaded’ event with a new display technology in the 12.9-inch model, camera improvements, better processor, and more.

Read on for our full roundup of everything we know so far about the 2021 iPad Pro.

Table of contents

  • Fifth-generation iPad Pro: the M1 iPad
  • 2021 iPad Pro: Features and specs
    • Liquid Retina XDR: mini-LED technology
    • Performance
    • Camera
    • Connectivity
    • Thunderbolt port
    • Storage options
    • Accessories: Magic Keyboard, second-generation Apple Pencil
    • Magic Keyboard controversy
  • Release Date: When will the 2021 iPad Pro come out?
  • Price: How much the 2021 iPad Pro costs
  • Wrap-up

Fifth-generation iPad Pro: the M1 iPad

As Apple has been doing for quite some time with the iPad line, the fifth-generation iPad Pro is simply called iPad Pro.

Formally, it is the fifth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro and third-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.

2021 iPad Pro Features and specs

In terms of design, the 2021 iPad Pro looks closely to the last model launched by Apple. The only tiny difference is that the 12.9-inch model is 0.5-inch thicker. As usual, the company unveiled two models: one with 11-inch and the other one with 12.9-inch.

Both the iPads are available in two different finishes: Space Gray and Silver. The main camera sensor still looks the same with two lens and a LiDAR Scanner. Face ID remains as the security system on the 2021 iPad Pro.

Liquid Retina XDR: mini-LED technology

The 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the first iPad to feature a Liquid Retina XDR Display. That’s the fancy name Apple gives to the mini-LED technology. This panel uses 10,000 mini-LEDs, 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.

According to Apple, the Liquid Retina XDR display delivers “true-to-life” detail with a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. It also features 1000 nits of full-screen brightness and 1600 nits of peak brightness.

While the 11-inch model still uses the Liquid Retina display with LCD, both of them have True Tone for comfortable viewing, ProMotion technology with adaptive 120Hz refresh rate and P3 wide color gamut.

Camera

The 2021 iPad Pro features a camera system with two lenses and a LiDAR Scanner. With a 12MP wide camera with ƒ/1.8 aperture and a 10MP ultra-wide camera with ƒ/2.4 aperture and 125° field of view, it’s possible to record 4K video at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps.

The main difference with this iPad is on the TrueDepth system with a 12MP ultra-wide camera. With that, Apple was able to introduce a feature called Center Stage, giving more naturality in a video call. In previous models, when you call someone in landscape mode, it feels like the only thing the other person can see is your chin.

With Center Stage, it doesn’t matter where the user is on a video call, the camera always puts the person in the center, and with the Face ID system, it can track the user while it’s moving. Center Stage API will also be available for third-party developers to implement in their apps.

Performance

While we expected the 2021 iPad Pro to feature the A14X chip, Apple decided to use the marketing name of the M1 chip to power the iPad Pro.

With an 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores, 8-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine, the 2021 iPad Pro is 50% faster than the previous A12Z chip.

For the first time, Apple highlights that the models with 1TB or more of storage have 16GB of RAM, while the models with less than 1TB have 8GB of RAM.

Connectivity

As the iPhone 12, the 2021 iPad Pro is the first iPad with 5G support with 4x more bandwidth. In the U.S., Apple will sell the fifth-generation iPad Pro with mmWave support.

The iPad Pro uses 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, simultaneous dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz); HT80 with MIMO, and Bluetooth 5.0 technology.

Thunderbolt port

Another major update for the 2021 iPad Pro is its port replacement. Apple ditched the USB-C for a Thunderbolt port.

Thunderbolt ports are available on the Mac and enable iPad Pro users to connect to additional displays and other accessories, as well as transfer files faster.

Apple says that this Thunderbolt port “works with existing USB-C connectors and opens up an extensive ecosystem of high-performance accessories for iPad Pro. Transfer huge assets or even drive the Pro Display XDR at full 6K resolution.”

Storage options

Apple updated the 2021 iPad Pro storage options with up to 2TB of SSD. As mentioned, the models with 1TB and 2TB have 16GB of RAM. Here are the storage options Apple offers:

  • 128GB
  • 256GB
  • 512GB
  • 1TB
  • 2TB

Accessories: Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil

Another selling point for the iPad Pro is its accessories. The most important ones are the Magic Keyboard and the Apple Pencil.

As Apple did not change the iPad’s form-factor, 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.

With the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which is 0.5mm thicker, it has a new Magic Keyboard that is also compatible with older 12.9-inch iPads. Both models offer a new white model.

The Apple Pencil is also the same. The fifth-generation iPad Pro uses the second-generation Apple Pencil that charges when attached to the tablet.

Magic Keyboard controversy

After Apple announced the fifth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, people started wondering whether the older Magic Keyboard would be compatible with the new tablet. Yes, it is, and also not exactly. Here’s what Apple says:

“The first generation of the Magic Keyboard (A1998) is functionally compatible with the new iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation) with Liquid Retina XDR display. Due to the slightly thicker dimensions of this new iPad Pro, it’s possible that the Magic Keyboard may not precisely fit when closed, especially when screen protectors are applied.

Apple does say the new Magic Keyboard works with the new iPad but it would rather expect users to spend another $349 for a better fit when closed.

Release Date: When will the 2021 iPad Pro come out?

Orders for the 2021 iPad Pro started on April 30. It’s going to be available in the second half of May. 9to5Mac discovered it will launch on May 21.

Price: How much will the 2021 iPad Pro cost?

The 2021 iPad Pro prices have been announced. While nothing changed with the 11-inch iPad Pro, the 12.9-inch saw $100 increase in its starting price.

Check the full pricing for the iPad:

iPad Pro 11-inch with Wi-Fi

  • 128GB: $799
  • 256GB: $899
  • 512GB: $1099
  • 1TB: $1499
  • 2TB: $1899

iPad Pro 12.9-inch with Wi-Fi

  • 128GB: $1099
  • 256GB: $1199
  • 512GB: $1399
  • 1TB: $1799
  • 2TB: $2199

Adds $200 more for all models with Wi-Fi + Cellular.

Wrap-up

The 2021 iPad Pro doesn’t have a major design upgrade as the 2018 iPad Pro, had but it brings important changes, like the mini-LED display technology, 5G connectivity, and a Thunderbolt port, especially on the 12.9-inch model. The Center Stage function is also a great feature for all iPad users.

Soon, we’ll bring a review of the 2021 iPad Pro.

Apple says the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro will work with the old Magic Keyboard, but ‘may not precisely fit when closed’

In a new support document published today, Apple has clarified the situation around the Magic Keyboard’s compatibility with the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The company now says that the first-generation Magic Keyboard is “functionally compatible” with the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but it may not “precisely fit when closed.”

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Roundup: Here’s everything Apple could announce at its April 20 ‘Spring Loaded’ event

Apple spring event

Apple has officially confirmed its long-anticipated spring 2021 event. This year, Apple is holding a virtual event on April 20, and it’s teasing it with the tagline “Spring Loaded.” The event could include a new iPad Pro, AirTags, and more.

Read on as we round up everything that Apple could announce during its April 20 special event.

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Apple officially announces special event for April 20: ‘Spring Loaded’

Apple has announced the first Apple event of the year for April 20, and it will be completely virtual. At this event, Apple is likely to announce new iPad Pro models, AirTags, and more. The event will be streamed live from Apple Park starting at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET.

The news of this event was first revealed via Siri this morning.

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Bloomberg: new iPad Pro coming later this month despite Mini-LED supply constraints

Rumors have been suggesting that Apple will introduce new iPad Pro models sometime in the first half of this year, and Bloomberg has already said that these models should arrive in April. While we’re still waiting for some news, Bloomberg today reported that the new 2021 iPad Pro is indeed coming later this month, despite supply constraints with the Mini-LED displays.

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

iPad Pro deals

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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More supply-chain evidence of upcoming mini-LED iPad Pro

Mini-LED iPad Pro expected soon

We’ve been hearing reports of a mini-LED iPad Pro for well over a year now, with almost all of them specifically pointing to the display tech first appearing in the 12.9-inch model. The latest supply-chain support for this comes in a new report today.

What’s been rather less consistent are suggestions of when we might expect to see the launch, with reports initially indicating Q4 2020 but more recently predicting the first or second quarter of this year…

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First Apple product with miniLED backlighting will be iPad Pro in Q4 – Kuo

Kuo says iPad Pro in Q4 with miniLED screen

Following Monday’s miniLED report, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has a follow-up report out today stating that the first Apple product to use the technology will be a new iPad Pro in Q4 of this year.

Today’s report doesn’t get any more specific than that, but a previous report predicted that the first model to get the improved backlighting system would be the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. That timescale is now said to have accelerated …

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Report: 12.9-inch iPad Pro with mini LED in Q1 2021, followed by 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro

A pair of new reports from research firm TrendForce today offer additional details on Apple’s transition to Apple Silicon, as well as the iPad Pro and Mac transition to mini LED display technology. According to TrendForce, Apple is likely to introduce a 12.9-inch iPad Pro with mini LED in Q1 2021.

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LG will make mini-LED screens for 5th-gen 12.9-inch iPad Pro; Q4 at earliest

5th-gen 12.9-inch iPad Pro Q4 at earliest

A new supply-chain report says that LG will make mini-LED screens for the 5th-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. It says that the new model — which is also expected to support 5G — will launch in the final quarter of this year “at the earliest.”

It follows an earlier report that LG will this year end Samsung’s monopoly as sole supplier of OLED iPhone screens…

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