The iPad Pro 2022 will need to bring something new to the table if it's going to successfully supplant the iPad Pro 2021 as the best tablet on the market while convincing customers to skip the iPad Air and spend more.
The 12.9-inch mini-LED Retina XDR display is one of the most notable advantages the current iPad Pro enjoys over its more affordable sibling, but early rumors suggest Apple has some surprises coming in 2022 that could make everyday consumers think twice about saving for the Air. Those could include increasing the screen size of both models as well as bringing mini-LED to the smaller model.
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After scouring all of the rumors and leaks regarding the forthcoming iPad Pro 2022, here’s a look at everything we know so far, including the potential release date, price, specs, features and more.
iPad Pro 2022 price
Pricing has held firm for the iPad Pro over the past few years with only minor adjustments made to account for more expensive components. One of those price changes was made with the most recent model when Apple added $100 to the price of the iPad Pro 12.9-inch, bringing the total to $1,099 for the 128GB Wi-Fi model.
We doubt Apple would raise the price much higher, so expect the 12.9-inch version to cost somewhere between $1,100 and $2,100 depending on the configuration and wireless support.
The 11-inch iPad Pro, however, could receive a minor price hike, which it avoided in the 2021 version. The current model starts at $799; if the current crop of rumors about a mini-LED panel holds true, we could see the iPad Pro jump to an $899 starting price and go up from there as you add storage and 5G connectivity. Of course, these prices exclude the Magic Keyboard ($299, $349) and Apple Pencil ($129)
iPad Pro 2022 rumors
We're several months away from an iPad Pro 2022 release date. In all likelihood, the next iPad Pro will arrive in May 2022, at around the same time as the current model. This year, the iPad Pro was released in April before going on sale a month later.
The iPad Pro launch is a tricky one to predict because it doesn't adhere to a strict release schedule. That said, the past two models dropped in the spring, so we have reason to believe the next version will do the same. It's possible minor updates will be made to a refreshed version this holiday season, but we wouldn't bank on it.
iPad Pro 2022 display
The little guy got left out. When Apple revealed the latest iPad Pro, its presentation was all about the 12.9-inch. That's because the bigger sibling got the upgrade to a Retina XDR (aka mini-LED) display while the 11-inch model was stuck with a standard Retina LCD panel.
Fortunately, a July 2021 rumor suggests Apple will treat its children fairly this year by bringing mini-LED to the 11-inch iPad Pro. This rumor comes by way of a research note from reliable analyst Ming-chi Kuo.
As a reminder, mini-LED technology consists of 2,500 local dimming zones that can illuminate during bright scenes or turn off completely during dark ones. This creates limitless contrast and perfect blacks. The bad news is that it also creates a blooming effect where bright light leaks into dark areas; it wasn't much of a problem during our testing, and we'd take minor blooming over burn-in.
Another downside of Apple's mini-LED implementation is that you need to be watching HDR content to get the best image quality. Otherwise, the Retina XDR display doesn't look much better than the standard Retina panel. That was quantified in our tests when the 12.9-inch iPad Pro reached 563 nits of brightness when showing non-HDR content and 1,582 nits when playing HDR video.
There is also some rumbling about Apple expanding the iPad Pro displays. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman claimed in June that Apple was exploring iPads with larger displays. As exciting as that might sound, Gurman said it would take at least a "couple of years" to ship if Apple does decide on using larger panels.
iPad Pro 2022 specs
Apple shifted its flagship tablet to the M1 CPU, the custom chip originally developed for the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. So what about the 2022 model? If Apple pushes out an M2 chip for the MacBook, we could see the iPad Pro 2022 adopt that processor.
If not, the iPad Pro 2022 could use the same M1 as the current model. We wouldn't mind. The iPad Pro is already the most powerful tablet on the market, and by a significant margin. There are few apps or programs on the iPad Pro, and in iPadOS 15, that the tablet won't run smoothly.
To give you an idea of how powerful the current model is, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro scored scored a 7,298 on the Geekbench 5.0 test, crushing the iPad Air (4,262, A14 Bionic), the previous iPad Pro (4,720, A12Z) as well as anything released by the competition including the Surface Pro 7+ (4,825, Core i5-1135G7).
The current iPad Pro has a single USB-C charging port on the bottom edge with Thunderbolt 3 and USB4 support. We could see Apple upgrade to a Thunderbolt 4 input next year.
And while we're on the subject of charging, the iPad Pro 2022 could come with a new reverse wireless charging technology. According to insiders speaking to Bloomberg, the tech giant's upcoming tablet is set to feature a glass back instead of the current iPad Pro's aluminum frame. This will enable wireless charging, similar to how Apple's MagSafe charger works with its latest iPhone 12.
We also expect the return of 5G though no changes are likely considering the current models already support sub-6Ghz and mmWave 5G bands. That means you get either the widest or fastest 5G speeds depending on your carrier and location.
iPad Pro 2022 outlook
We are several months away from Apple revealing its next batch of iPad Pro models and rumors are already trickling into our newsfeeds. So far, expected upgrades include a mini-LED display on the 11-inch model to match the 12.9-inch version as well as MagSafe wireless charging. It's safe to assume that, if there is a new M-series processor, it will be adopted by the upcoming iPad Pro models.
We'll keep a close eye on rumors and leaks regarding the iPad Pro models, which are set to arrive next year. In the meantime, see our 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro hubs for the latest info on Apple's upcoming laptops — who knows, maybe you spend your hard-warned cash on a laptop and skip the premium tablet altogether.