Apple has finally launched the new iPad Pro 2021 and it’s packed with tech, including a mini-LED display on the 12.9-inch version, 5G connectivity and the use of the firm’s powerhouse M1 chip.
This is the most powerful tablet we’ve ever seen and here’s everything you need to know about it. We’ve been waiting for a big update to Apple’s flagship tablet for a while, with the previous model being a little light on new features. When Apple unveiled the 2020 iPad Pro, the new features mainly revolved around the LiDAR camera sensor and the addition of a new keyboard case.
That really can’t be said about the iPad Pro 2021. This year we’ve got a new screen, laptop-level chipset and plenty more. Could this be the best tablet of the year? Here’s a look at everything we know so far.
iPad Pro 2021 release date and price – The new iPad Pro is finally here
Pricing for the 11-inch model, which lacks the mini-LED display tech, will start at SGD$1,199. The more premium 12.9-inch model’s pricing starts at SGD$1,649, increasing to SGDS$3,519 for the 5G 2TB model. See below for full pricing:
iPad Pro 11-inch prices
Apple is restricting this new display tech to the 12.9-inch model, saying it can hit 1000 nits consistent and 1600 nits peak brightness. This should result in the screen generally looking more dynamic, and will really help HDR video pop. Like the iPhone 12 line and the Pro Display, there’s XDR branding for Extreme Dynamic Range.
The new iPad Pros keep many of the perks of previous generations, such as the 120Hz ProMotion tech, True Tone and support for the wide P3 colour gamut.
During the event, Apple said that the pixels here are 120x smaller than found in the previous iPad LCD.
The 11-inch model will retain the Liquid Retina Display of previous models, with a peak brightness of 600 nits, ProMotion, P3 support and True Tone.
Performance, features and 5G – Apple’s first 5G tablet also packs the M1 chip
Apple has said this chip offers a 75% faster CPU and 40% faster graphics than the previous iPad Pro. This is an 8-core CPU with an 8-core GPU. It still very much runs iPadOS though, so unless apps are specifically ported you won’t simply be able to run any Mac app here. Apple also didn’t announce it was bringing across any of its ‘Pro’ desktop apps to the iPad, so we’re a little in the dark about what exactly will be available to push this tablet to its limit.
This could all change with WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference) coming up, as that’s where Apple is expected to launch iOS 15.
It also boasts the 16-core neural engine, with Apple claiming the graphics are 1500x faster than the first iPad. Again, it’ll be interesting to see what games are ported to really push those graphics. Would we be able to, for example, get the full version of Football Manager 2021 running here as opposed to a ‘Touch’ version specifically built for lower-end devices.
As the rumours had suggested, there’s a 5G option (this comes at a premium and offers mmWave in the USA) and the USB-C port is now Thunderbolt 4-enabled for better connectivity. This port is capable of up to 40Gb/s speeds and can even drive the Pro Display XDR at full 8K resolution. This should really open up the iPad to more accessories, especially faster SSDs.
In terms of cameras, the iPad Pro 2021 features an ultra-wide 12-megapixel front camera with a 122-degree field of view that works alongside a new camera-tracking feature called Center Stage. This follows you around as you move; it appears to be ideal for video calls.
On the back of the device is a 10-megapixel ultra-wide and 12-megapixel wide camera, along with the LiDAR scanner introduced last year. This looks to be very much the same as the camera in the outgoing model, however it does now benefit from Smart HDR 3.
Rumours had suggested the iPad would come alongside an updated Apple Pencil; however, that isn’t the case. The previous model works, though, and there’s a fancy new white version of the Magic Keyboard if you want to turn the iPad into more of a laptop replacement.
This is clearly the most powerful tablet around and should be on par with the MacBook Air M1 in terms of pure speed. However, and this is the big question, will there be the software to really back up this glorious hardware? We’d really hope so.
Design – Very familiar, still looking good
You can see the design in the pictures below. It retains the flat edges and back, a full-screen look on the front, and a Smart Connector on the rear for accessories.
Trusted Take – iPad Pro 2021
The M1 is a fantastic chip, and if we can get apps on here to really take advantage of it then I might finally be able to ditch the laptop for good.
The screen on the 12.9-inch looks astounding, too, although I’m disappointed that Apple didn’t keep parity between both screen sizes. Is the 11-inch Pro really ‘Pro’ if it doesn’t have the mini-LED screen? I’m not so sure.