If the price of Apple’s latest iPad Pro already made your eyes water, then you’re unlikely to appreciate news coming from Korean electronics media group The Elec.
A recent report delved into the manufacturing cost of next year’s expected iPad release — covering both the price Apple is likely to pay for its premium OLED displays and how much the resulting iPad Pro will cost consumers on release.
The good news
Apple isn’t skimping out on the rumored OLED panel that’s set to appear in the next wave of iPads. The report claims that, similarly to the most recent lineup, 2024’s iPad Pro models will be available in two sizes 11-inch and 12.9-inch.
Both will be making the switch from mini-LED to premium OLED panels, with the smaller and larger panels costing $270 and $350 to manufacture respectively. That means the panel for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is alone worth more than the base price of 2021’s 9th Gen iPad.
The high cost of manufacturing is likely down to the tandem stack technology Apple is reportedly planning to make use of. Tandem stack, as the name implies, uses two emission layers (as opposed to a traditional single OLED layer), which doubles the brightness of the display and can quadruple its lifespan.
They also draw about 30% less power than traditional OLED panels, which suits Apple’s energy-efficient approach to tech nicely.
The result is a brighter, more colorful, battery-friendly, and long-lasting display. It’ll also be thinner than the mini-LED panel too, which could afford the iPad an even slimmer frame.
The bad news
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro released in 2021 reportedly cost around $510 to produce and had a recommended retail price (RRP) of $1,099. That’s a markup of over 50%, which is seemingly Apple’s general attitude toward the pricing of its products.
The Elec’s report indicates that the total costs of manufacturing Apple’s new OLED iPad could result in an RRP of $1,300 for the 11-inch model and $1,800 for the 12.9-inch model. In contrast, the current 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models had a launch price starting from $799 and $1,099.
That’s a price hike of about $500 to $700 just to get your hands on the base models. Factor in any accessories you may need such as keyboards, cases, or stands and the price becomes even more inflated — practically extortionate.
Paying up to $1,800 for a tablet might seem like lunacy to most — you’re better off investing in a mid-tier MacBook Pro M2 at that price. However, the iPad Pro has found a solid audience when it comes to professionals, artists, and designers.
If Apple’s latest firmware update (iPadOS 17) gives this audience even more ways to make the most of the iPad Pro’s impressive performance and features, then a fair number would still be willing to part with the cash.
The average person though? I don’t see those prices leaving the iPad Pro in quite as desirable of a position as it once may have been.
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Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.