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iPad Pro 2021: Price, release date, specs, and more

iPad Pro 12.9 inch
(Image credit: Future)

The iPad Pro 2021 refresh will be Apple's chance to convince buyers that they need more than the closest thing we've ever seen to a true iPad Pro killer, the iPad Air (2020).

The ProMotion 120Hz refresh rate display is one of the most notable advantages that the current iPad Pro enjoys over its more affordable sibling, but rumors have shown us that Apple has quite a bit more in store for the 2021 update. This includes potential improvements to its connectivity, cameras and its display to name a few.  

After scouring all of the rumors and leaks regarding the forthcoming iPad Pro 2021, here’s a look at everything we know so far, including the potential release date, price, specs, features and more.

iPad Pro 2021 price 

Pricing rumors haven’t surfaced much yet with regards to the iPad Pro 2021. But based on what we know to date, it seems likely that Apple will hold steady with the base prices of $799 and $999 for the iPad Pro 11-inch and iPad Pro 12.9-inch, respectively.

While the iPad Air saw a price hike to $599 after holding at $499 through its first three iterations, there is no evidence to suggest that the iPad Pro will follow suit. The $200 price gap seems enough to account for the differences between the two tablets. And with continued pressure from high-end Chromebooks and the Galaxy Tab S7, there is at least some motivation for Apple to remain price competitive despite its market dominance.

iPad Pro 2021 release date

iPad Pro 2020 cameras

(Image credit: Future)

Apple's Spring event is coming on April 20 and the iPad Pro 2021 is a virtual lock to be shown off at the event.

While the reveal seems to be a certainty, the bigger question to follow is what will availability look like. Numerous rumors point to component shortages impacting the iPad Pro, suggesting that the new tablet could be exceedingly hard to come by immediately following the release. If you've honed your skills trying to buy a PS5 or a GPU this year that could definitely come in handy if you are eying an iPad Pro.

iPad Pro 2021 display 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The most anticipated update to the iPad Pro 2021 is the introduction of a mini LED display panel. It’s an eagerly awaited technology that should be making a splash on a wide range of Apple products across 2021.

The new display technology will allow the iPad Pro to deliver superior contrast ratios, black levels and higher brightness than its current LED panels. It will also avoid some of the problems, like burn-in, that can arise with OLED. We got a look at a mini LED laptop from MSI back at CES 2020, the MSI Creator 17. Although AMOLED and microLED may retain an edge for some, the new tech should represent a significant leap forward from Apple’s already solid Retina displays.

Beyond the visual benefits, mini LED displays are more energy-efficient. Apple could leverage this to boost the battery life on the iPad Pro or to slim it down and reduce the weight a bit, although most would probably prefer the former option.

Interestingly, there are several rumors suggesting the mini LED display will be either replaced or sold alongside an OLED iPad Pro in 2022. For this year, at least, expect only mini LED. 

iPad Pro 2021 specs 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

After the iPad Air 4 introduced the A14 Bionic processor, the current A12Z Bionic in the iPad Pro is feeling dated. Fortunately, rumors for a significant bump to the processor in the iPad Pro 2021 had already been swirling back in June with two often accurate leakers, @L0vetodream and @choco_bit, teaming up to deliver a few pieces of information regarding the internals of the forthcoming iPad.

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More recent rumors have indicated that the new iPad Pro will feature performance comparable to what we are seeing from the Apple M1 in the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. According to a leak from Apple's own iOS 14.5 update, the chip will be called the Bionic A14x. Regardless of the naming convention, that would be a massive leap from its current configuration and perhaps put a permanent end to the question of whether the tablet can be a laptop replacement.

And if the processor isn't enough to end that argument, perhaps the rumored introduction of a Thunderbolt port will do it. While the current iPad Pro and iPad Air have swapped Lighting ports for USB Type-C, the more robust Thunderbolt will deliver even more capabilities to the already powerful tablet.

While cameras aren't perhaps the first thing you think of with the iPad, particularly with the increased importance of AR to Apple the cameras on all of its devices are increasingly relevant. Rumors of improvements to the iPad Pro cameras include the lenses being more flush to the body of the tablet, something we've also heard about the iPhone 13, and the possible inclusion of a telephoto lens to match the Pro iPhone models as well.

Naturally, a 5G cellular option is expected as well, given that all four iPhone 12 models moved to 5G, it's very likely that this will be the only cellular option for the iPad Pros in 2021. 

iPad Pro 2021 outlook 

Apple Magic Keyboard review

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The iPad Pro 2021 isn’t likely to feature any major design changes. But between the display and the internal upgrades, it should once again reign supreme among the best tablets in the market.

The almost iPad-like MacBook Air (M1, 2020) may have won over some converts, but that same power with the flexibility of the iPad as a standalone tablet with the Apple Pencil, and as a laptop when paired with the Magic Keyboard, is a tough combination to beat.

The iPad Air 4 will remain a solid option even after the release of the iPad Pro 2021, but if the rumored updates hold true, the Pro will once again put distance between itself and its less expensive relative. If it does, the iPad Pro will again be the obvious choice for those who need high-end performance from a tablet.