It’s been almost exactly 13 months since Apple last updated the iPad Pro line, but at its “Spring Loaded” event on Tuesday, we finally saw the next evolution of the company’s most powerful tablet. For years, Apple has been talking about how its iPad line could one day take the place of laptops, and they’ll come one step closer this year by gaining the same M1 chip that the company brought to the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini last fall.
The design of the new iPad Pro is virtually unchanged, but Apple packed the tablet with plenty of internal upgrades. Apple’s M1 processor is obviously the highlight, bringing unmatched performance back to the iPad Pro, which had lost some ground to the iPhone in recent years. The M1’s 8-core CPU is up to 50% faster than the CPU found in the A12Z Bionic, while the 8-core GPU on the new iPad Pro is up to 40% faster than its predecessor. The 2021 iPad Pro also supports up to 16GB of memory, 2 times faster storage, and up to 2TB of storage.
The screen has gotten a substantial upgrade of its own as well, as the new iPad Pro will be the first Apple device to have a Liquid Retina XDR display. Apple built the Liquid Retina XDR display with a mini-LED design that uses over 10,000 LEDs and features up to 1000 nits of full-screen brightness, 1600 nits of peak brightness, and a 1 million-to-1 contrast ratio. Plus, it supports ProMotion, True Tone, and P3 wide color support.
Those who live in regions where it is available will be pleased to hear that the new iPad Pro also supports mmWave 5G, so that you can download and upload files more quickly, stream higher-quality video, and FaceTime your friends in HD while on the go. Of course, you’ll need a 5G plan and to live in the right area.
As for connectively, the 2021 iPad Pro does have support for Thunderbolt and USB 4 through the USB-C port. Apple says this will allow for 40Gbps wired connections, which is four times more bandwidth than the previous generation allowed. This also opens the door to more accessories, like faster drives and better displays.
Finally, the TrueDepth camera system on the front of the iPad Pro is getting a 12-megapixel Ultra Wide camera that will enable a new feature called Center Stage. As Apple explains it, “Center Stage uses the much larger field of view on the new front camera and the machine learning capabilities of M1 to recognize and keep users centered in the frame.” As you move around the room, Center Stage will make sure you stay in the middle of the shot, and when more people enter the frame, the camera will zoom out to include everyone else.
Apple will charge $799 for the 11-inch iPad Pro, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will retail for $1,099. iPad Pro preorders are set to begin on April 30th, and the tablets will begin shipping in the second half of May.