The iPad Pro sets the bar for tablets, boasting a high-end experience unique to Apple’s offering. It offers a gorgeous, detailed and vibrant 120Hz ProMotion display alongside a premium industrial build, incredibly fast performance and when paired with the Magic Keyboard and its built-in trackpad, it’s a true laptop competitor.
But, as these things go, technology is advancing at an ever-increased rate, and it’s likely that we’ll be seeing an even better iPad Pro hit the shelves at some point in the near-ish future.
Here’s all there is to know right now about the iPad Pro 2021 range, including release date and pricing predictions and the latest rumours on features and spec.
iPad Pro 2021 release date
Aside from the third-generation iPad Pro, which made its debut in October 2018, all other generations of iPad Pro have been revealed in the first half of the year, with a particular focus on March.
The ever-reliable Macotakara suggested a potential March 2021 release, citing sources within the Chinese supply chain who claim that both the 11in iPad Pro and 12.9in iPad Pro are due to be updated this month – but only one will boast a significant display upgrade. More on that later.
Jon Prosser also suggested an event would take place in March – on 23 March, to be precise – but he more recently claimed that it would, in fact, take place in April, suggesting in a YouTube video that Apple is trying to actively feed him misinformation in order to discredit him. How true that is, remains to be seen.
It’s also worth noting that the fourth-gen iPad Pro range was announced via press release, with no reveal event, so it’s also possible – albeit unlikely – that the iPad Pro will skip the next Apple event and appear at some point in H121.
iPad Pro 2021 pricing
There’s good news and bad news when it comes to the iPad Pro pricing. The good news is that Apple tends to keep each yearly upgrade at the same price as its predecessor. The bad news is that they’re expensive, starting at £769/$799 for the iPad Pro 11 and £969/$999 for the iPad Pro 12.9, with an additional £100/$100 on top for cellular connectivity.
Based on pricing for the iPad Pro 2020, here’s how much we estimate the iPad Pro 2021 range will cost across all four storage variants:
- iPad Pro 11in (Wi-Fi): £769/$799, £869/$899, £1,069/$1,099, £1,269/$1,299
- iPad Pro 11in (cellular): £919/$949, £1,019/$1,049, £1,219/$1,249, £1,419/$1,449
- iPad Pro 12.9in (Wi-Fi): £969/$999, £1,069/$1,099, £1,269/$1,299, £1,469/$1,499
- iPad Pro 12.9in (cellular): £1,119/$1,149, £1,219/$1,249, £1,419/$1,449, £1,619/$1,649
To see how that compares to the rest of the iPad range as it stands, take a look at our selection of the best iPads.
What upgrades should I expect from the iPad Pro 2021?
With such a great experience on offer from the iPad Pro 2020 range, what should we expect from next year’s model?
Design and build
Before we get into the likely upgrades on offer from the next-gen iPad Pro, let’s first discuss the design. While there aren’t any rumours to prove or disprove the theory, we at Tech Advisor feel that Apple won’t change the design of the iPad Pro.
After all, it has just released the iPad Air and iPhone 12 range based on the form factor and design of the iPad Pro range, so it’d be odd for Apple to move away just as the range shares a level of synchronicity in design. There may be minor changes, but overall, we expect the same industrial, premium look on offer from the 2020 iPad Pro range.
That’s largely backed up by alleged leaked renders of the upcoming iPad Pro range, showing very little in terms of physical changes. It sports the same quad-speaker setup, same USB-C connectivity and same dual-camera setup on the rear, but the CAD renders do suggest the inclusion of a new Touch ID sensor like that embedded within the iPad Air display.
More recently, leaker Sonny Dickson shared images of dummy units of the new iPad Pro range alongside a yet-unannounced iPad mini. As expected, there aren’t any major design changes on offer from this year’s iPad Pro range aside from a bump in the camera department – from two to three on the rear – and a thinner camera module on the 12.9in model.
Refreshed iPad Pros and iPad Mini dummies. Triple Camera array on the pros. Central camera up top on iPad mini; slightly thicker. Hard to tell and different in screen size. pic.twitter.com/5Luizv1T2r
— Sonny Dickson (@SonnyDickson)
April 8, 2021
One of the easiest upgrades to predict is an upgraded chipset; it’s highly unlikely that Apple will ship a new Pro-level product using a last-gen chipset.
There have been whispers online that confirm the upgrade too, with Twitter leakers @l0vetodream and Jon Prosser along with Ming-Chi Kuo all suggesting that the iPad Pro 2021 range will sport the beefed-up Apple A14X chipset, an upgrade from the A12Z chipset available right now. It’ll likely be similar to the A14 Bionic chipset found in the iPad Air and iPhone 12, but with an extra CPU or GPU core for additional power under the hood.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman claimed in a recent YouTube video that the A14X, or A14Z, expected in the iPad Pro could be “on a par with the M1 chip in the latest Macs”, suggesting an incredibly powerful tablet could be released very soon.
Mini LED display
Another popular rumour doing the rounds online suggests that the iPad Pro 2021 collection could see an upgrade to Mini LED, a move that has been tipped for both the iPad Pro and MacBook ranges in 2021. Offering localised dimming and a wider colour gamut compared to the OLED displays currently in use, the Mini LED display could provide an unrivalled tablet display experience.
Ming-Chi Kuo seems to think that at least the 12.9in iPad Pro 2021 will feature the tech, but it’s unclear whether it’ll be available on the 11in variant. While the idea of differing the features of the Pro range may have sounded absurd a few months ago, Apple’s new iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max differ slightly, so the same could apply to next year’s iPad Pro range.
This backed up by DigiTimes claiming that Apple could “possibly” launch a 12.9in iPad Pro with a mini LED display in the Spring. However it’s not a certainty, appearing to be based on comments from Epistar president Fan Chin-Yung who claims that “shipments for mini LED chips will begin to contribute to consolidated revenues in first-quarter 2021”.
A more specific claim comes via Macotakara’s supply chain sources, citing that the 12.9in model is likely the only model that’ll get the Mini LED treatment. It’s not a given, but sources claim only the larger model is 0.5mm thicker than its predecessor, and the new display tech “may be an option”.
The iPhone 12 range was the first in the Apple portfolio to offer 5G connectivity, but now that it’s available on one, it’s likely we’ll see it slowly pushed out to the rest of the cellular-connected collection including the iPad Pro 2021 range. That theory is backed up by Jon Prosser, and more recently, Twitter leaker @l0vetodream has provided a few more details on the theory.
In true Twitter leaker style, there are few words mentioned, but there is a lot to go on here. According to the leaker, with a decent track record with Apple leaks, the iPad Pro range will feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X55 5G modem, allowing access to both sub-6GHz 5G as well as the faster mmWave 5G available in places like the US.
It’s a likely move, as it’ll not only speed up internet access on Apple’s Pro tablet range, but also makes sharing of large files quicker and easier, but we won’t know for sure until the range is revealed in full.
We’ll update this article as new information comes to light, so check back soon for the latest iPad Pro (2021) rumours.