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

iPad Pro 12.9 inch
(Image credit: Future)

The iPad Pro got some serious competition last fall from Apple itself with the release of the iPad Air (2020), the more affordable tablet picked up quite a few features that were formerly exclusive to the Pro lineup. 

The iPad Pros still retained some notable advantages, like a ProMotion 120Hz refresh rate display, but it was pretty clear that Apple must have some extensive upgrades in mind for the new iPad Pro. As we get closer to the release for updated iPad Pros some of those details are becoming clearer.

After scouring all of the rumors and leaks regarding the forthcoming iPad Pro, 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: all bets on April

iPad Pro 2020 cameras

(Image credit: Future)

Almost a year ago now, reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo projected an early 2021 launch for the new iPad Pro and this claim was mirrored by GF securities analyst Jeff Pu.

While Apple has yet to announce a Spring event, though early rumors pointed to a March special event that many believe will include at least one new iPad Pro. 

However, the expected date for that event, March 23, grew near without any press invites arriving. Then leaker Jon Prosser went back on his prediction, stating that the event would instead happen in April. That aligns with a Bloomberg report stating a new iPad Pro would debut in April

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. That would certainly 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.

Other upgrades include the introduction of a 5G cellular option. 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.