Apple redesigned its iconic iPad Pro range in April 2021, replacing previous versions from March 2020 with a quicker M1 processor, a Liquid Retina XDR display, a Thunderbolt connector, and more.
ON THIS PAGE: Buyer’s Guide: iPad Pro 2020 vs. iPad Pro 2021
- Feature Comparison: iPad Pro 2020 vs. iPad Pro 2021
- Ideas that are still being considered
Feature Comparison: iPad Pro 2020 vs. iPad Pro 2021
Despite the fact that Apple has withdrawn the 2020 iPad Pro models, third-party vendors frequently make them available at reduced rates. Any consumers who still own the 2020 iPad Pro could be debating if it is worthwhile to update to the 2021 edition.
Should you save money by staying with or buying an older iPad Pro, or do you need the most recent model? Our guide will help you figure out which of these two iPad Pros is right for you.
- Since they are just a year apart, the 2020 iPad Pro shares more characteristics with its 2021 counterpart than it does with its predecessor, including the interface and rear camera configuration.
- Flat-edged industrial architecture.
- TrueDepth camera enables Face ID.
- P3 Wide Color, True Tone, and Liquid Retina monitor with 264 ppi, absolute lamination, oleophobic and anti-reflective coating, and P3 Wide Color.
- Rear cameras with LiDAR scanner: /1.8 12MP Wide and /2.4 12MP Ultra Wide.
- For images, there’s a 2x optical zoom out, a 5x visual zoom in, a lighter True Tone flash, and Smart HDR 3.
- 4K video recording at 24 frames per second, 25 frames per second, 30 frames per second, or 60 frames per second, 1080p HD video recording at 25 frames per second, 30 frames per second, or 60 frames per second, slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 frames per second or 240 frames per second, time-lapse video with stabilisation, and audio zoom are all available.
- Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting, Cinematic video stabilisation, 1080p HD video capture at 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, Animoji, and Memoji are all included in the TrueDepth front-facing camera.
- Recording in stereo with “studio quality” microphones.
- Audio is played by four speakers.
- “Every day” Battery life is 10 hours.
- Connectivity includes Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
- USB Type-C connector
- Magic Keyboard, Smart Keyboard Folio, and Apple Pencil are all compatible (2nd generation).
- Silver and Space Gray are also options.
- According to Apple’s specifications, the two iPad Pros share the vast majority of characteristics. Despite this, there are a host of significant variations between the 2020 and 2021 iPad Pros, including display systems, processors, and front-facing cameras.
- Liquid iPad Pro 2020 Retina LED show with a maximum brightness of 600 nits (typical).
- A12Z is a chip.
- Neural Engine is a kind of neural engine.
- 6 GB of RAM
- /2.2 7MP TrueDepth camera with storage configurations up to 1TB.
- For images, use smart HDR.
- USB-C is a kind of USB connector.
- The width is 5.9mm.
- 1.41 pound / 1.04 pound
2021 iPad Pro Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED monitor with full-screen brightness of 1,000 nits. HDR and 1,600 nits of total brightness (12.9-inch model only).
- M1 microprocessor.
- The Neural Engine of the Future.
- RAM options are 8GB or 16GB.
- Up to 2TB of storage configurations are available.
- 12MP TrueDepth sensor with Ultra Wide lens, 2x optical zoom back, and Center Stage at /2.4.
- For images, use Smart HDR 3.
- Extended dynamic range for content with a frame rate of up to 30 frames per second.
- Thunderbolt and USB 4 ports are available.
- thickness of 6.4mm (12.9-inch model only).
- 1.5 pound (1.03 pound)
Technology for Displays
The Liquid Retina LED monitor on the 12.9-inch 2020 iPad Pro, as well as the two iterations of 11-inch versions, has 120Hz ProMotion, absolute lamination, an anti-reflective coating, P3 wide colour, and True Tone.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has an entirely new Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display, according to Article 2021. The Liquid Retina XDR panel utilises over 10,000 LEDs around the back of the display to provide 1,000 nits of full-screen lighting, 1,600 nits of peak brightness, and a 1 million-to-1 contrast ratio, in comparison to the display features of the other iPad Pros. The end effect is a better viewing experience that captures even the darkest photographs’ strongest highlights and nuanced features.
ipad pro m1 view
On the iPad Pro, artistic professionals such as artists, videographers, and filmmakers will now access and edit true-to-life HDR material. HDR and Dolby Vision content also have a more cinematic user experience.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a simple improvement from the 2020 edition if you can take advantage of the current monitor by watching or making HDR media. If you’re considering the 11-inch model, the screens are similar, so this won’t be a consideration in your choice.
M1 Chip vs. A12Z Chip
When it comes to processors, the two generations differ significantly. The A12Z chip used in the 2020 iPad Pro models is an iteration of the previous A12X chip used in the 2018 iPad Pro, which was a version of the A12 chip used in the iPhone XS. The M1 chip from Apple’s new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac micro, and iMac is included in the 2021 iPad Pro.
bionic clean a12z
Both the A12Z and the M1 chip have eight cores, with four of them being high-performance and four being high-efficiency. For the GPU, all processors may use all eight cores.
The A12Z is manufactured using a 7-nanometer process, while the M1 is manufactured using a newer 5-nanometer process. The A12Z chip has a maximum clock speed of 2.49GHz, while the M1 chip has a clock speed of 3.2GHz.
fresh m1 processor
Benchmarks for the M1 in the iPad Pro aren’t available yet, but they’ll probably be identical to those for the MacBook Air, which is another passively cooled handheld computer with the M1 processor. The M1 in the MacBook Air achieves a single-core Geekbench ranking of 1700, while the A12Z in the iPad Pro achieves 1121. The MacBook Air has a multi-core ranking of 7374, while the iPad Pro’s A12Z has a score of 4655.
Although the M1 chip outperforms the A12Z, the difference is likely to be insignificant in most activities. The A12Z was already a strong and capable chip, but recommending the 2021 model over the 2020 model solely on the basis of processor is difficult unless you can clearly benefit from the extra performance.
The A12Z processor is combined with 6GB of RAM in the 2020 iPad Pro. Like Macs with the M1 processor, the 2021 iPad Pro can have either 8GB or 16GB of storage. 16GB of RAM is used in iPad Pro models of 1TB or 2TB of storage, while 8GB is included with all other storage configurations.
For casual users, 6GB in the 2020 iPad Pro would do, but 8GB will be more capable of managing several windows with the same programme and a variety of intensive background activities.
Finally, since iPadOS is so good at memory control, the volume of RAM in your iPad is unlikely to be a factor in most situations.
Keeping everything in storage
Both iPad Pro versions come with storage options of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB. For an additional $400 over the 1TB setup, the 2021 iPad Pro introduces a new 2TB storage option.
The limited 1TB of storage in the 2020 iPad Pro would be more than enough for most people, but the 2021 iPad Pro offers the choice for power users who choose to save a huge volume of data on their iPads.
In terms of hardware, all iPad Pro versions have the same rear camera configuration. Despite this, the 2021 model has Smart HDR 3 and expanded dynamic range for video at 30 frames per second.
On the front of the iPad Pro, there are further camera variations. The front-facing camera on the 2020 iPad Pro is a /2.2 7MP TrueDepth camera, while the 2021 edition has a /2.4 12MP TrueDepth camera with Ultra Wide camera.
The camera on the 2021 model has been upgraded to allow for a 2x optical zoom out and Center Stage for video calls.
11-inch modern iPad Pro
Center Stage recognises and keeps consumers focused in the picture thanks to the current front camera’s much wider field of vision and the M1 chip’s machine learning capability. Center Stage instantly pans to hold users in the shot while they step about. As more people join in, the camera senses them as well and smoothly zooms out to accommodate everybody.
Connectivity between cells
In cellular setups, the 2020 iPad Pro models have standard 4G LTE networking. The 2021 iPad Pros, on the other side, would be the first to have 5G networking, allowing for rates of up to 4Gbps.
While 5G is much better than 4G, it would only be worthwhile for users who have the cellular iPad Pro configurations with a carrier-specific package.
Ports are a kind of port.
The iPad Pro 2020 comes with a regular USB-C interface, while the iPad Pro comes with a Thunderbolt port. The iPad Air’s USB-C port can transmit data at a rate of up to 10 gigabits per second, while Thunderbolt can transfer data at up to 40 gigabits per second. Thunderbolt offers the possibility of connectivity with a much wider variety of Thunderbolt-only accessories, such as external hard drives and displays, in addition to being much quicker. Thunderbolt is also backwards compliant with USB-C, since the two ports have the same appearance.
Purple Cyan on the iPad Pro USB C
Even though Thunderbolt is much quicker than the regular USB-C port on the 2020 iPad Pro, most consumers are unlikely to have Thunderbolt adapters that will take advantage of these rates, so the 2021 edition would not be worth it for Thunderbolt alone.
The Apple Pencil 2, as well as Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio and Magic Keyboard, are compatible with all iPad Pro versions. When it comes to keyboards and trackpads, there’s no need to choose one or the other since they all carry the same accessories.
However, keep in mind that devices like the Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard must be bought separately from the iPad, which would increase the total price.
Apple upgraded its popular iPad Pro range in April 2021, offering a faster M1 processor, a Liquid Retina XDR display, a Thunderbolt connection, and other features, replacing the prior versions from March 2020.
Although Apple has already discontinued the 2020 iPad Pro models, they are often available at reduced rates through third-party sellers. Some customers who currently own the 2020 iPad Pro may be debating whether it is worthwhile to upgrade to the 2021 model.
In general, the improved features of the 2021 iPad Professional models are significant yet highly specific. It is only worth buying the 2021 model over its predecessor or upgrading from the 2020 model if you have a clear use case for extras like Thunderbolt, additional RAM or storage, or a better front-facing digicam.
The M1 chip outperforms the A12Z in terms of efficiency, but most customers are unlikely to have processes that would benefit from the extra energy. The mini-LED show on the 2021 12.9-inch iPad Professional is a significant improvement over the previous model, and may be a game changer for HDR video buyers or producers, but for 11-inch iPad Professional users, there may be little point in upgrading.
5G connection is the one other reason it may be worthwhile to purchase the 2021 iPad Professional, but once again, only a minority of customers who choose the mobile option will most likely be able to profit from it.
However, the M1 processor and larger amounts of memory will make the 2021 iPad Professional more future-proof. If you plan to use your iPad Professional for a number of years, it may be worth purchasing a newer model to ensure greater efficiency over time through consecutive upgrades and with more demanding applications.
Check out the iPad Professional section of our Apple Offers roundup for the most recent prices on 2020 and 2021 models.
As a result, if the $799 iPad Pro from 2021 is now out of your market range and you want an accessory like the $299 Magic Keyboard, you may have to settle for the older iPad Pro to save money overall. Users of the Magic Keyboard on the 2020 12.9-inch iPad Pro who wish to update to the newest edition can keep in mind that the 2021 model is significantly thicker, so you might want to buy a new Magic Keyboard as well.
While the 2020 Magic Keyboard is “functionally consistent” with the 2021 12.9-inch standard, Apple warns that due to the additional width, it does not match perfectly. Other iPad Alternatives If the iPad Pro is out of your price range or you believe you won’t be able to benefit from it, the iPad Air, which begins at $599, is a good alternative.
The iPad Air has much of the same features as the iPad Pro, including an all-screen interface, a powerful, capable processor, useful features like USB-C, and connectivity with the latest Apple accessories, all at a lower price point. 4 colour iPad Air The iPad Air is the best choice for the typical user unless you require iPad Pro features including a more sophisticated camera system, Face ID, more RAM, or stereo audio capture. See our iPad Air 2020 vs. iPad Pro 2021 Buyer’s Guide for more information about whether you can purchase the iPad Air or the iPad Pro. Last Thoughts Overall, the updated features of the iPad Pro models for 2021 are important, but they are quite unique.
Only if you have a simple use case for features like Thunderbolt, more RAM or room, or a stronger front-facing camera would it be worth having the 2021 model over its predecessor or upgrading from the 2020 model. The M1 processor has a noticeable efficiency benefit over the A12Z, but most users’ workflows would not be able to take advantage of it. The mini-LED monitor on the 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a significant improvement from the previous edition, which would be a game changer for HDR media fans and developers, but there is no need to upgrade for 11-inch iPad Pro users.
The only other incentive to purchase the 2021 iPad Pro is for 5G coverage, although only a small percentage of those who want the cellular configuration would actually be able to do it. Nonetheless, the M1 processor and more memory in the 2021 iPad Pro will make it more future-proof. If you plan on keeping your iPad Pro for more than a couple years, it might be worth it and upgrade to a newer model to guarantee improved results over time with upgrades and more challenging games.
Overall, the 2021 iPad Pro models’ improved features are substantial yet extremely specialized. Only if you have a clear use case for features like Thunderbolt, additional RAM or storage, or a better front-facing camera would it be worth buying the 2021 model over its predecessor or upgrading from the 2020 model.
The M1 chip outperforms the A12Z in terms of performance, but most users are unlikely to have workflows that can take use of the extra power. The mini-LED display on the 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a significant improvement over the previous generation, and will be a game changer for consumers or producers of HDR video, but there is little need to upgrade for 11-inch iPad Pro customers in particular.
The only other reason to purchase the 2021 iPad Pro is for 5G connection, but only a small percentage of customers who select the cellular option will likely be able to take use of it.
Nonetheless, the M1 processor and increased memory capacity will make the 2021 iPad Pro more future-proof. If you plan to use your iPad Pro for more than a few years, purchasing the latest model may be worthwhile to guarantee improved performance over time via subsequent upgrades and with more demanding applications.