The imminent release of the upcoming iPad Pro 2021 has set the rumour mill abuzz with speculations and leaks, including the likely price, release date and what kind of features to expect. News about small design updates and perhaps spec upgrades are now trickling out, giving tablets and iPad fans glimpses of what the next-generation iPad Pros are going to look like. Given that the current versions are already top of our list of the best tablets, we're really excited about what's to come next.
The previous iPad Pro models hit the shelves in early 2020, but while they did bring in some updates in terms of power and camera tech, they had very few key upgrades in other areas from their predecessors. And since then, the iPad Air (2020) has brought many of the iPad Pro's designs to a lower price point.
However, they were still impressive enough for the line to secure its place at the top of the tablet hierarchy, and the iPad Pro 2021 is undoubtedly going to do the same. Still, expectations are high, especially from folks who skipped the 2020 models and opted to wait for a more compelling product.
Will the iPad Pro 2021 give us the big upgrade we're hoping for? Here’s everything we know about it so far, from its rumoured release date to its biggest changes. And if you don't want to wait for the new one, be sure you check out our picks of the best iPad Pro deals!
iPad Pro 2021: Release date
At this time, Apple hasn’t shared any concrete information regarding the launch date of the iPad Pro 2021. That isn’t a surprise, however, as the company likes to keep information about its new products under wraps until the actual launch.
What we do know is that the 2020 iPad Pros saw a release date of March 25, 2020. The current leaks point to Apple holding another spring event this year, so right now we expect to see next generation iPad Pros getting another March launch and release.
Still, iPad Pro releases have been all over the place historically. The first generation was released on November 11, 2015, the second on June 13, 2017, and the third was back to November 7, 2018. Plus, 2020 was carnage, generally, so it’s a bit hard to base predictions on anything that happened in tech that year.
For now, know that most people are speculating spring release, but keep your expectations low so it won't be such a disappointment when it doesn’t happen.
iPad Pro 2021: Price
Apple decided to charge iPad Pro fans a premium for the upgraded design in the 2018 models, charging £969/$999/AU$1,529 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 64GB base and £1,869/$1,899/AU$2,869 for the 1TB kitted out configurations.
It also retired the 10.5-inch iPad Pro (2nd generation) and released the 11-inch iPad Pro (3rd generation) instead, which set consumers back £769/$799/AU$1,229 for the 64GB configuration and £1,519/$1,549/AU$2,349 for the top of the heap 1TB configuration.
For 2020, Apple changed course yet again. It kept largely the same price of entry (except in Australia) at £769/$799/AU$1,329 (11-inch) and £969/$999/AU$1,649 (12.9-inch) while doubling the base memory, charged a bit more for the 26GB and 512GB configurations, and dropped the price on the 1TB model down to £1,269/$1,299/AU$2,179 (11-inch) and £1,469/$1,499/AU$2,499 (12.9-inch).
We expect Apple to keep close to the same prices on the iPad Pro 2021 models, regardless of updates. Anything notably pricier might push iPad Pro users to switch to more affordable alternatives, or in some cases to spend a bit more for a full-fledged laptop like the MacBook Air M1.
iPad Pro 2021: Display and design
Like its release date and price, not much is known about the iPad Pro 2021’s design details. People are certainly hoping for more, especially because the only key design updates the iPad Pro 2020 brought were the new 10MP Ultra Wide camera and the LiDAR depth scanner. But, will Apple deliver this time around?
Based on the rumours and leaks we’ve seen so far, the answer might be somewhere in the middle. According to leaks, we're expecting the same dimensions as the current model – though some rumours have said there'd be a thinner camera bump, while others say thicker.
It should also have the same quad-speaker system, rear Smart Connector for its accessories, USB-C port, dual rear cameras with LiDAR sensor, and Face ID login feature.
That said, some early design leaks point to a reduction in the number of speaker holes, perhaps indicating a shift of components inside the case, even if the outside doesn't change very much.
One rumour that could very well happen is that the new iPad Pro 2021 models are getting thinner bezels. If this does happen, we’re confident it will make a lot of people happy.
Finally, with the iPad Air getting that great Touch ID sensor on its power button, we’re hoping that the new iPad Pros will follow suit and offer this as backup login feature as well as Face ID.
iPad Pro 2021: Specs and features
With the iPad Air 2020 launching with a brand new chip, the A14 Bionic, Apple’s most powerful tablet is certainly not going to take it lying down. After all, the 2020-launched chip is supposed to boast a 40% faster CPU, 30% faster graphics, and a Neural Engine that’s allegedly twice as fast. There’s absolutely no way that Apple is releasing the iPad Pro 2021 without this chip inside or a slightly more powerful variant of it. A14X? That would be a beast…
The iPad Pro could also be the first iPad to feature 5G connectivity as a cellular option – it would make total sense for the 'pro' model to debut the new, faster tech.
On the other hand, with the amount of fanfare and praise for the M1 chip, which now powers the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1), and Mac Mini, it’s entirely possible that Apple will insert a (perhaps slightly less powerful) variant of it in the iPad Pro. We suspect Apple will keep the M chips just for Macs, though.
iPad Pro 2021: Other Rumours and News
Finally, there’s a rumour going around that Apple might also unveil the next-generation Magic Keyboard alongside the iPad Pro 2021. TechRadar reports that the new iPad Pros could come with a redesigned Magic Keyboard, which originally launched last year. This redesign might feature a more solid build, a microphone, and vibration sensors. That’s, of course, on top of the trackpad that’s already in the current model.
Whether or not this holds water remains to be seen. After all, Apple isn’t really fond of upgrading its accessories and peripherals as often as it does its devices. We only hope that Apple doesn’t raise the price. The current model costs £299/$299/AU$499 (for the 11-inch) and £349/$349/AU$589 – considering that high price, we don't think it's likely.