Apple has yet to announce any new products or updates in 2021, but that could all change in the coming months as we expect the iPad Pro 2021 to arrive. Here’s everything we know so far, including rumoured new features.
Apple’s previous two events at the end of 2020 were headlined by the iPhone 12, iPad Air 4 and Apple Watch Series 6 with no iPad Pro anywhere to be seen. However, there have been plenty of conflicting rumours about whether the next flagship iPad and we expect to hear a lot more about it in the coming months.
While the current iPad Pro is already a feature-rich device, big upgrades to a variant of the new 5nm A14 and exciting new display tech are expected to send the Pro from strength to strength.
The news around the next iPad Pro still remain just rumours and we can’t be certain when we’ll see this become official. However, the speculation has come with plenty of tidbits regarding price, release date, display, specs and more.
Here’s everything you need to know about what could possibly be the best tablet of the year.
New iPad Pro 2021 release date – is a March event on the cards?
Reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has followed up on his previous iPad Pro reporting with the news that mini-LED will debut on the next model.
Apple has often hosted events in March and we have seen these used to reveal new iPad products in the past. If Apple were to host one of these events, we’d expect a similar pre-recorded style to the events broadcast in the latter half of 2020.
The previous iPad Pro was announced in March 2020 through a press release, so there’s the chance this could be the route Apple takes. However, as this feels like a hefty upgrade Apple might want to save it for a big event. We could also see the iPad Mini 6 arrive around the same time.
Some rumours had pegged some sort of Apple event to take place on March 16. These claims were refuted by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman via Twitter.
There’s always the chance we don’t see a new iPad Pro. Unlike iPhones, Apple has a more flexible release schedule with its tablets.
If you can’t wait for these new iPad Pros, you can get the current models now. See below for up-to-date pricing.
Screen – A mini-LED display could be the big upgrade for the next iPad Pro
The most significant change for the iPad Pro 2021 looks to be a switch to mini-LED display; an alternative to OLED that offers improved contrast, darker blacks and more efficient lighting.
9to5Mac previously reported Apple would prefer to use mini-LED over OLED because of the similar wide gamut of colour, but the lesser risk of image burn. However, we now know Apple isn’t all that afraid to use OLED, with its inclusion for the entire iPhone 12 lineup.
The next iPad Pro model is heavily tipped to come with such a screen, and if it manages to hold onto features like the ProMotion 120Hz tech and add a higher quality panel then it would instantly make the upgrade worth it for many.
More rumours suggesting a switch to mini-LED have come from a DigiTimes report, which states that Ennostar will begin production of these panels in either the first or second quarters of 2021. It goes on to say these will be for a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which seems to suggest you’ll have to bag the biggest iPad Pro to benefit from this display tech.
This is set to be Apple’s first tablet with 5G, following on from iPhone 12
Apple introduced 5G for the first time on its iPhone 12 range and all signs point to it being an option for the iPad Pro 2021.
Apple has always offered a ‘cellular’ version of its iPad Pro so don’t expect all models to have this, with it instead coming at a premium.
One report has stated that, like the iPhone 12 range, the 5G support on the iPad Pro will be compatible with both the sub-6Hz and mmWave varieties of 5G.
The report from DigiTimes (via MacRumors) says: “The self-sufficiency in design and development of AiP modules also means that Apple’s next-generation high-end iPad products to be released in 2021 may also come with mmWave technology, said the sources.”
However, this news won’t mean much for Brits who will rely solely on the sub-6GHz bands for 5G connectivity for the foreseeable future.
Performance – Expect the iPad Pro 2021 to be powered by some form of the A14 Bionic chipset
Leaks from mid-2020 seemed to suggest the next iPad Pro would come with a slightly-souped up version of the A14 chipset, likely the A14X.
This is no surprise and considering the cheaper iPad Air 4 already has the A14 Bionic, it would make sense for the top-end model to improve on this in some way.
Since these rumours surfaced we’ve of course heard more about the M1 chips powering the latest MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, and rumours of faster versions coming to higher-end Macs, like a 14-inch MacBook Pro.
Design – Recent renders hint at a familiar design
If these recent renders are to be believed, the next iPad Pro won’t stray too far from the blueprint set by the 2018 model. Considering this is one of Apple’s best designs from the past decade this is hardly an issue for us.
These renders of the 11-inch model show a device with the same thickness as the current model, but a bit shorter. There could also be changes to the speaker design and a slightly thinner camera module.