iPad Pro


The iPad Pro, the most powerful tablet in the market has been updated on April 2021 with the M1 chip, thus sealing the fate of their competitors. It will be interesting how Samsung, Qualcomm and Microsoft is going to scramble to catch up to the iPad Pro. There is no doubt that this will be one powerful tablet, but the question is will Apple update the software so power users can unleash the power?

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Design

Design wise, nothing is changed on the exterior. It has the same camera system. The display at a glance looks similar, all Apple accessories that use this design will work seamlessly. For the details, you can view the iPad line up page to see it. Not that I’m complaining, but it still hold the same functional design that easy to hold and use. The 12.9" iPad Pro is slighly thicker but the difference is less than 1mm that one would hardly notice.


The Magic Keyboard is now available in off-white color. You'll have to get this one anyway since the new 12.9-inch does not fit on the old Magic Keyboard.

The new thing that Apple release is an updated Magic Keyboard. When I say updated, I meant it’s a new color: white. If you love the color white, this is the one for you.

Accessories

All previous accessories made for the iPad Pro works with the new iPad Pro. The new iPad Pro is 0.5 mm thicker than the previous version due to the new screen. There was initial concerns about the new thickness will mean that people will have to shell out $349 to buy a new Magic Keyboard. Now the iPad Pro has been on the market, reviewers found out that it can fit in the old Magic Keyboard but the fit is a little bit snug / tight. Otherwise, works as usual like the old iPad Pro.

The Magic Keyboard on the 11-inch iPad Pro still works as usual.

Internals

Now the internals where major changes has been made. One of the ads / intro video shows a guy who break into the Mac lab and stole the M1 and put it into the iPad Pro. That guy later revealed to be Tim Cook in a mask. The tagline is ‘M1 Chip. The power of Mac. Stolen for iPad Pro’.


M1 which powers the Mac and blew people minds away is now in the iPad Pro. Crazy.

The M1 chip, which many consider to be the most powerful chip on per watt basis has landed on the iPad Pro. The thing is, at the current iteration, the iPad Pro is already quite powerful for the 99% of use case out there. There’s not much users that can max out the iPad Pro potential, so to quite put it, M1 on the iPad Pro is overkill at this moment. That being said, it seems that Apple is playing chess in which laying out the pieces together before committing the gambit. Right now what is holding back the iPads in general is the iPadOS which to be honest, is closer to iOS than macOS. This M1 iPad Pro hopefully a signal of more macOS features that will be available on the iPadOS. Xcode. Logic Pro. Final Cut Pro. System call. Multi-user environment. We’ll see in WWDC 2021 what iPadOS 15 will bring.

Before this, Apple was cagey about telling anybody how much RAM it has on its tablets. The official response that it is sufficient to do the task at hand. Now it explicitly says that it has around 8GB or 16GB of RAM. The storage capacity will determine the amount of RAM at hand. Lower storage specs has 8GB while the 1TB or 2TB storage will have 16GB or RAM.


New Display is the headlining feature. That and the M1. A good HDR screen will handle the contrast between that black outline in the rear view mirror and the reflection of neon on the rear view mirror housing.

The next big change is the display for the 12.9" iPad Pro. It is now called the Liquid Retina XDR. And on paper, it is amazing. It is the first MiniLED screen by Apple. The 12.9" screen has over 10,000 MiniLED that act as the back light. It has over 2,500 dimming zones to make a better picture. The brightness can now be pumped to 1000 nits on a full screen app. On HDR video, local zone can go up to 1,600 nits, which is crazy. And the contrast ratio is now 1,000,000 to 1. Until people make reviews and confirms it, this could be the nicest display ever by Apple except for the $5,000 Pro Retina XDR Display.


MiniLED enables a lot of dimming zones to ensure that enable HDR images

The rear camera system is basically unchanged from the previous version. The front camera has been upgraded to new ultra wide with added new capabilities because of the more powerful M1 chip. It has a feature called Center Stage where during a video call like in FaceTime, the camera with the wide lens will pan, zoom and focus on your face like it has a gimbal. It will be cool to see it in action.

Center Stage demo. The front camera will crop, pan and focus as though it's on a gimbal. Look that range though.

With the advent of the M1, I/O has been upgraded on the new iPad Pro. The iPad Pro still sports a single USB-C port but this time there is support for Thunderbolt 4 which provide upto 40GB/s of bandwidth. Cellular connection is upgraded to 5G now. Wi-Fi 6 is standard. With the Thunderbolt 4 port, you can now connect your iPad Pro to the 6K Pro Display XDR monitor. If only iPadOS app utilize such feature better.


The sole USB-C port is now Thunderbolt 4.

Pricing

Introduction price for the 12.9" iPad Pro has increase by $100 to $1099 on the account of the game changing display, which in my opinion is a fair trade. The best option in my opinion is the $1199 where you’ll get double the base capacity for a $100 premium.

Pricing for the 11" iPad Pro remains the same at $799. All iPad storage starts at 128GB and can be configured up to 2TB.

Performance

What do you get for

Overall, it will be interesting to see how it will perform in real life, but judging by how M1 fared against top of the line Intel Core i9-11900K, this iPad Pro will without a doubt, be the most powerful tablet on the market. Too bad it is crippled by the iPadOS 14 that it is shipped with.


M1 vs Intel Core i9-11900K. The M1 is on macOS. It will be interesting the ratings on iPadOS.

As for the screen. Many reviewers praise the screen as the best screen on any Apple device at the moment. Blacks is blacker now while it does not completely eliminate blacklight issues like blooming, it does minimized to an extent since there are more local dimming zones available.


MiniLEDs does not eliminate blooming, but as you can see, it is minimized as there is more local zones available.

Conclusion

Since the introduction of the new form factor in 2018, the iPad Pro has been considered to be the top performing tablet on the market. With the 2020 release, it has widen the gap. Now with the powerful M1 chip that runs a MacBook Pro is now on the iPad Pro, it will considerably widen the gap so much that rival tablets might look clunky by comparison. Nevertheless, most iPad users is unable to utilize such power because the current iPadOS interface is geared for consumption, not production. Only time will tell if Apple will bring more productivity from macOS into the iPadOS.

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Accessories:-

  • USB-C charger - 100W - Amazon
  • Apple USB-C 20W charger - Amazon
  • Anker USB-C to Lighting Cable - Amazon
  • Apple Pencil
    • Version 2 for iPad Pro 2018 / 2020 or iPad Air 4 - Amazon
    • Version 1 for iPad - Amazon
  • Magic Keyboard
    • For 11" iPad Pro and iPad Air 4 - Amazon
    • For 12.9" iPad Pro - Amazon
  • Smart Folio
    • For 11" iPad Pro 2018 / 2020 or iPad Air 4 - Amazon
    • For 12.9" iPad Pro - Amazon
  • Smart Cover - Amazon
  • AirPods

Specification: Old vs New

Feature iPad Pro 2021 (11 and 12.9 inch) iPad Pro 2020 (11 and 12.9 inch)
General
CPU M1 A12Z
RAM (GB) 8 or 16 6
Storage (GB) 128, 256, 512, 1024 or 2048 128, 256, 512 or 1024
CPU cores 8 8
GPU cores 16 8
Screen
Size (inches) 11 or 12.9 11 or 12.9
Resolution 2388 x 1668 or 2732 x 2048
Max brightness (nits) 600 or 1000 if fullscreen 600
Max brightness HDR (nits) 1600 -
TrueTone? Yes
P3 gamut? Yes
ProMotion? Yes
Camera Systems (back)
Wide Camera 12MP f/1.8
Ultra Wide Camera 10MP f/2.4
LIDAR? Yes
Flash Yes, True Tone
Video Recording Up to 4K 60 fps; HDR upto 30fps Up to 4k 60 fps
Slow-Mo Recording Up to 1080p 240 fps
Camera Systems (Front)
Front Camera 12 MP True Depth UltraWide 7 MP True Depth
Potrait Mode Yes
Potrait Lightning Yes
Animoji / Memoji Yes
Center Stage Yes No
Video Recording 4K @ 60fps / HDR up to 30fps 4K @ 60fps
Audio
Speakers 2 speakers at top and bottom
Connections
Port Thunderbolt 4 USB-C
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
Smart Connector Yes
Dimensions and Weight
Height (mm) 247.6 / 280.6
Width (mm) 178.5 / 214.9
Depth (mm) 5.9 / 6.4 5.9 / 5.9
Weight (g) 466 / 682 471 / 641