iPad Pro: Apple will reportedly launch two in 2021 — what we know

iPad Pro 2020
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The new iPad Pro, equipped with a mini-LED display, is reportedly launching in early 2021, according to several reports. However, Korean news platform The Elec spilled the beans about a possible second iPad Pro release in late 2021 (via MacRumors).

The 2021 successor to the mini-LED iPad Pro is rumored to have an OLED screen which, according to The 8-Bit, offers better viewing angles and higher contrast compared to mini-LED displays.

Apple iPad Pro: Mini-LED vs. OLED display

If you were planning on purchasing the iPad Pro early next year, hold your horses. You don't want to suffer the same fate as the folks who purchased the new 13-inch MacBook Pro earlier this year — only to be hit with the soul-crushing realization that Apple is launching an enhanced 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 chip.

As mentioned, rumors are flying about Apple's alleged plans to launch a mini-LED iPad Pro in March and an OLED-equipped iPad Pro in late 2021. 

OLED displays feature the best contrast ratios among all display tech on the market. OLED screens benefit from pixel dimming — a technology that allows each pixel to be individually switched on and off. With this perk, the darkest parts of an image can offer perfect blacks because the pixels in that area are turned off. Conversely, each pixel in traditional LCD displays is not independently controlled.

Mini-LED displays offer excellent contrast ratios as well, though not as impressive as OLED screens. Unlike OLED displays (which allows each pixel to control its brightness individually), mini-LED screens sport thousands of LEDs that can be grouped into "dimming zones," which can be manipulated to produce more or less light.

The 8-Bit speculated that although Apple has equipped its smartphone line with OLED displays (since the iPhone X), the tech giant may have shied away from implementing OLED screens in larger devices (e.g. iPads and MacBooks) because it's expensive. As such, Apple may have opted for mini-LED displays because it's better than traditional LCD panels, but more financially feasible than OLED screens. However, if the rumors are true, Apple is changing its tune on OLED displays.

MacRumors predicts mini-LED displays will be limited to the top-tier 12.9-inch iPad Pro rolling out in March and the rest of the iPad Pro models will feature traditional LCD screens until they are updated with OLED displays in late 2021. 

Take all the speculation from The Elec and MacRumors with a grain of salt. Only time will tell if these rumors are true. If they are — and you're a stickler for stunning displays — you may want to wait for that late 2021 iPad Pro upgrade.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!