The 2020 iPad Pro
Apple in March 2020 refreshed its iPad Pro lineup, introducing a faster A12Z Bionic processor, dual rear cameras, a new LiDAR scanner for improved augmented reality capabilities, improved audio, and an optional Magic Keyboard accessory that adds a trackpad to the iPad for the first time.
According to Apple, the 2020 iPad Pro is its most advanced iPad Pro to date, with a number of "pro" improvements for those who want an iPad that's able to replace a computer.
When it comes to design, the iPad Pro is unchanged, available in 11 and 12.9-inch sizes with an all-screen design and an edge-to-edge display that does not include a Home button. Like the 2018 iPad Pro models, the 2020 iPad Pro features a TrueDepth camera system with Face ID that uses facial recognition for biometric authentication and a 7-megapixel camera for selfies.
Both of the iPad Pro models feature an aluminum chassis in Silver or Space Gray with flat, rounded edges that wrap around the Liquid Retina display. The Liquid Retina display is unchanged from the 2018 model, featuring wide color support, True Tone for adjusting to ambient light, an anti-reflective coating, and ProMotion 120Hz refresh capabilities.
While the general design of the iPad Pro has remained the same, there's a new rear camera system. There are two cameras, including a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera and a 10-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera that can zoom out two times for a wider field of view.
Features like Smart HDR, Quad-LED True Tone Flash, wide color, and 4K video recording at up to 60fps are included.
Accompanying the two-camera setup is a new LiDAR Scanner that uses reflected light to measure the distance of objects up to five meters away in nano-second speeds. Apple says that new depth frameworks in iPadOS combine depth points from the LiDAR scanner with data from cameras and motion sensors for a whole new class of AR experiences on the iPad Pro.
Existing ARKit apps will benefit from instant AR placement, improved motion capture, and people occlusion. With new ARKit capabilities, developers can access a new Scene Geometry API that will result in new scenarios not possible without the LiDAR Scanner.
Apple has improved the Measure app using the LiDAR Scanner, and it can now automatically calculate a person's height. Object measurements are faster and more accurate thanks to automatic vertical and edge guides, plus there's a new Ruler View for more granular measurements.
Inside, the 2020 iPad Pro is equipped with an A12Z Bionic Chip that features an 8-core GPU, 8-core CPU, and enhanced thermal architecture and tuned performance controllers for faster than ever performance. The Neural Engine handles Core ML tasks and augmented reality features, and processes data from the LiDAR Scanner.
Like the 2018 iPad Pro models, the 2020 iPad Pro features a USB-C port for charging purposes and connecting to USB-C accessories including 4K and 5K displays. The USB-C port on the iPad can also be used to charge accessories like the iPhone and Apple Watch.
Apple has added five studio-quality microphones to the iPad Pro for capturing "super clean audio." There are four speakers included for an immersive sound experience in any orientation.
With the A12Z processor, the 2020 iPad Pro models feature up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge. Other iPad Pro features include WiFi 6 support, gigabit-class LTE for cellular models, and storage options ranging from 128GB to 1TB.
The 2020 iPad Pro works with the second-generation Apple Pencil that attaches to the iPad magnetically and charges from a direct physical connection.
Apple has designed a new Magic Keyboard for the 2020 iPad Pro, which is essentially a new version of the Smart Keyboard that's equipped with a trackpad, backlit keys, and a scissor switch mechanism with 1mm of key travel.
The full-sized Magic Keyboard attaches magnetically to the iPad Pro and features cantilevered hinges for smooth viewing angle adjustments up to 130 degrees. It features USB-C passthrough charging and features a folio-like design that folds and protects the iPad when it's not in use.
The new Magic Keyboard is accompanied by trackpad and mouse support for iPad in iPadOS 13.4. Trackpad support on iPad is designed as a touch-first experience, with the cursor appearing as a circle but shifting to highlight user interface elements like text fields, apps on the Home screen and Dock, and other items that can be tapped.
Gesture support lets the trackpad be used to swap between apps, edit text, access the app switcher, activate the Dock and Control Center, and more. Trackpad support works in both first and third-party iOS apps.
While the trackpad experience was designed primarily for the Magic Keyboard, other mice and trackpads connect to the iPad Pro, such as the Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2. Mouse and trackpad support is available for all modern iPads, and the new Magic Keyboard even works with 2018 iPad Pro models. Scrolling and gesture support requires a Magic Trackpad 2 or a Magic Mouse 2 and does not work with first-generation models.
Pricing on the iPad Pro starts at $799 for the 11-inch 128GB WiFi only model or $949 for the 128GB cellular model. The 12.9-inch model is priced starting at $999 for the 128GB WiFi model and $1,149 for the 128GB cellular model. Additional storage is available at higher prices.
The new iPad Pro is available for order from the online Apple Store with new order shipping out within a week or two.
The Apple Pencil is available from Apple for $129, and the new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro became available to order on April 15, 2020. It is priced at $299 for the 11-inch model and $349 for the 12.9-inch model. Apple has also released an updated Smart Keyboard Folio that fits the new iPad Pro, which is priced at $179 for the 11-inch iPad Pro and $199 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.Note: See an error in this roundup or want to offer feedback? Send us an email here.
How to Buy
The iPad Pro can be purchased from the online Apple Store and from third-party retailers like Best Buy and Amazon.
Pricing on the 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799 for 128GB of storage, with 256GB of storage available for $899, 512GB of storage available for $1099, and 1TB of storage available for $1299. Models with cellular connectivity are available for an additional $150 over the base price for each storage tier.
Pricing on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $999 for 128GB of storage. 256GB of storage is available for $1099, 512GB of storage is available for $1299, and 1TB of storage is available for $1499. Models with cellular connectivity are available for an additional $150 over the base price for each storage tier.
The Apple Pencil 2 that goes along with the iPad Pro is available for $129. The Smart Keyboard Folio for the 11-inch iPad Pro can be purchased for $179, and the Smart Keyboard Folio for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro can be purchased for $199.
Apple began taking orders for the Magic Keyboard with trackpad for the iPad Pro on April 15, with the 11-inch version priced at $299 and the 12.9-inch version priced at $349.
iPad Pro reviews have confirmed that while the 2020 iPad Pro update itself is minor in scale, the LiDAR Scanner paves the way for new augmented reality capabilities in the future.
The A12Z Bionic chip in the 2020 iPad Pro offers similar performance to the previous-generation A12X chip though it does have enhanced thermal architecture, and the main additions are an ultra wide-angle camera, the aforementioned LiDAR scanner, and improved microphones.
Reviewers were unable to test the LiDAR scanner in-depth because there are few apps that take advantage of it at the current time. The Verge even described it as a "powerful and interesting sensor" that is an "extra thing" some users may not even use.
In our opinion, the 2020 iPad Pro doesn't offer enough to entice 2018 iPad Pro owners to upgrade, but it is worth considering for those who have an older iPad Pro model due to the powerful processor, 6GB RAM, WiFi 6, and LiDAR Scanner for enhanced AR.
For a complete look at what reviewers thought about the 2020 iPad Pro, check out our roundup of reviews.
iPad Air vs. iPad Pro Comparison
The fourth-generation iPad Air is similar in design and functionality to the iPad Pro models that were updated in March 2020, featuring the same all-display design but lacking ProMotion technology. The iPad Air has an A14 chip that's faster than the A12Z used in the iPad Pro, and it uses Touch ID instead of Face ID. Make sure to check out our comparison article and video for a hands-on comparison.
The 2020 iPad Pro models have received no major design refreshes and continue to look like the 2018 iPad Pro models. There are two sizes: 11 inches and 12.9 inches.
Apple's 11-inch iPad Pro measures in at 9.74 inches long and 7.02 inches wide, while the 12.9-inch model measures in at 11.04 inches long and 8.46 inches wide, so it's over an inch wider and taller than the smaller model.
Both iPad Pro models are just 5.9mm thick. The 11-inch iPad Pro weighs in at 1.04 pounds and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro weighs 1.41 pounds. Apple offers the iPad Pro models in either a Silver or Space Gray aluminum.
The 2020 iPad Pro models continue to feature an edge-to-edge display with 6mm bezels at the top, bottom, and sides. Rather than smooth, tapered edges, the iPad Pro models feature a more industrial-like band around the sides reminiscent of the design of the iPhone 4 or the iPhone SE.
There is no Touch ID Home button, as the iPad Pro instead uses a TrueDepth camera system with facial recognition capabilities for biometric authentication. The TrueDepth camera is located in the top bezel of the iPad Pro.
At the top of the iPad Pro, there's a sleep/wake button along with two speakers. On the right side, there are volume up and down buttons, a magnetic connector, and a nano-SIM tray on cellular iPads. As with prior models, there is no headphone jack on the iPad Pro and Bluetooth headphones or headphones that work with USB-C are required.
The back of the iPad Pro is where the sole design change is, with 2020 models featuring a square-shaped camera bump housing a wide-angle camera, an ultra wide-angle camera, the new LiDAR Scanner, and a True Tone flash. The new square-shaped camera bump is larger than the prior vertical camera bump in the 2018 iPad Pro, which featured a single-lens camera setup.
At the bottom of the iPad Pro there's a USB-C port for charging and connecting accessories. USB-C allows the iPad Pro to be connected to 4K or 5K displays, cameras, and other USB-C devices. The USB-C port supports USB 3.1 Gen 2 transfer speeds and it can be used to charge an iPhone or Apple Watch with the appropriate cable.
Apple's 2020 iPad Pro models use the same "Liquid Retina" edge-to-edge display that was available in 2018 iPad Pro models, which Apple at the time called its most advanced display yet.
The 11-inch iPad Pro features a resolution of 2388 x 1668, while the 12.9-inch model has a resolution of 2732 x 2048, and both have 264 pixels per inch like prior models. The iPad Pro displays feature 600 nits brightness, 1.8 percent reflectivity, an antireflective coating, and a fingerprint-resistant coating.
Wide color support ensures rich, vivid colors that are true to life and accurate, while True Tone adjusts the display to match the white balance of the lighting in the room to make the screen easier on the eyes.
ProMotion display technology with a 120Hz display refresh rate is included, which makes motion content on the screen smoother, crisper, and more responsive for reading, gaming, watching movies, and more.
The iPad Pro's display refresh rate is dynamic and can change depending on what you're looking at as a battery-saving measure. If you're watching a movie or playing a game, the refresh rate is at 120 Hz, but if you're reading a web page or looking at a photo, you don't need a 120 Hz refresh rate, so it adjusts accordingly.
Face ID and TrueDepth Camera System
Instead of authenticating and unlocking through a Touch ID fingerprint system, the iPad Pro uses the Face ID feature that Apple has been adding to its products since 2017. Face ID does all of the same things that Touch ID does, like unlocking your iPad, allowing access to third-party passcode-protected apps, confirming purchases, and authenticating Apple Pay payments.
Face ID uses sensors and cameras built into the top bezel of the iPad Pro, and Apple calls its multi-component setup the TrueDepth camera. To create the scan of your face that's used for authentication purposes, a dot projector projects over 30,000 invisible infrared dots onto your face.
The dot map is read by an infrared camera and the structure of your face is relayed to the A12Z Bionic processor in the iPad Pro where it is transformed into a mathematical model.
It takes just a fraction of a second for the iPad Pro to scan your face, recognize you, and unlock the device. Face ID is more secure than Touch ID, and it is unable to be fooled by a photo, mask, or other facial imitation. An "Attention Aware" security feature makes sure your iPad Pro only unlocks when you look at it with your eyes open, so it knows not to work when there's not a live person in front of it.
Face ID data is encrypted and stored in the Secure Enclave of the A12Z chip. Authentication happens on device, with no data stored in the cloud, sent to Apple, or accessible by apps.
Apple has designed Face ID to work in the dark, when wearing sunglasses, and with the face partially obscured by beards, glasses, makeup, scarves, and other accessories. Face ID is also able to adapt to changes in the face, so if you're slowly growing out a beard or your hair, it continues to recognize you.
Face ID on the iPad Pro works in both landscape and portrait orientation, a feature unique to the iPad. With iPhones, the device must be held in portrait orientation for Face ID to work properly.
The front-facing TrueDepth camera system includes a 7-megapixel camera for selfies and FaceTime videos, plus it supports Portrait Mode, Portrait Lighting, and Animoji and Memoji.
A12Z Bionic Chip
The 2020 iPad Pro is equipped with an A12Z Bionic chip, which is an upgrade over the A12X chip featured in the 2018 iPad Pro models.
The A12Z Bionic features an 8-core CPU, an upgraded 8-core GPU, enhanced thermal architecture, and tuned performance controllers for what Apple says is the highest performance ever in an iPad.
The A12Z Bionic is faster than the chips included in many PCs, and it was built for demanding tasks like 4K video editing and designing 3D models.
Benchmarks of the new iPad Pro have suggested the A12Z's performance is close to identical to the performance of the A12X in the 2018 iPad Pro, there though is a small boost in GPU performance due to the inclusion of an 8-core GPU.
It's been confirmed that the A12Z is a re-binned version of the A12X with an extra GPU core enabled. The A12X has a 8-core GPU, but one of the cores is deactivated, so it is functionally a 7-core GPU. The A12Z is an A12Z with that extra GPU core available.
The A12Z includes a Neural Engine that's able to perform five trillion operations per second, allowing more than ever to be done in real time. The Neural Engine powers all of the machine learning features in the iPad Pro, like photo search, Face ID, and augmented reality experiences.
Apple's Neural Engine allows for faster Face ID facial recognition, faster plane detection for augmented reality apps, speed improvements for other tasks that use real-time machine learning, and it powers the LiDAR sensor in the 2020 iPad Pro.
All 2020 iPad Pro models feature 6GB RAM. With the 2018 iPad Pro, models with 1TB of storage had 6GB RAM, while the rest had 4GB RAM.
A12Z vs. A14
The fourth-generation iPad Air introduced in October 2020 has a faster A14 chip, but the iPad Pro's A12Z still wins out when it comes to GPU performance because of it's extra GPU core. Apple engineers said that the iPad Pro is optimized for pro workflows and experiences, "especially those that are more graphics-intensive."
There's a whole new dual-camera system available in the 2020 iPad Pro, featuring a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera with an f/1.8 aperture and a 10-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera with an f/2.4 aperture and a 125 degree field of view.
Apple says that the ultra wide-angle camera can be used to zoom out two times for a much wider field of view, doubling the photo and video possibilities and enabling different perspectives and multi-camera use.
True Tone Flash, 5x digital zoom, 63-megapixel panoramas, wide color capture, noise reduction, smart HDR, burst mode, Live Photos support, and auto image stabilization are all included features. Like the 2018 models, the 2020 iPad Pro models do not feature optical image stabilization.
As for video, the iPad Pro can record 4K video at up to 60 frames per second with either camera, plus it supports slo-mo video, time-lapse video, and cinematic video stabilization when recording at 720 or 1080p.
Next to the two cameras in the iPad Pro's square-shaped camera bump, there's a new LiDAR Scanner (Light Detection and Ranging) that Apple says "enables capabilities never before possible on any mobile device."
The LiDAR Scanner uses reflected light to measure the distance from the iPad Pro to surrounding objects that are up to five meters away (16.4 feet), either indoors or outdoors. The measurements are taken at the photon level at nano-second speeds.
Depth frameworks included in iPadOS combine depth points measured by the LiDAR Scanner, data from the two cameras, and data from motion sensors with computer vision algorithms handled by the A12Z Bionic to create a more detailed and complete understanding of a scene.
Apple says that the integration of all of these elements enables a new class of augmented reality experiences on the iPad Pro. Existing ARKit apps will get instant AR placement, improved motion capture, and people occlusion, while developers can take advantage of a new Scene Geometry API that uses the LiDAR Scanner for scenarios "never possible before." One example of what can be done was demonstrated by Complete Anatomy, an app that is using the technology to measure range of motion in people healing from injuries.
On the iPad Pro, the Measure app is able to take advantage of the LiDAR Scanner to make it faster and easier to automatically calculate a person's height.
There are also new vertical and edge guides that appear to help people more quickly and accurately measure objects, and Apple has added a Ruler View for more granular measurements.
The 11-inch iPad Pro has a 28.65-watt-hour battery while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a 36.71-watt-hour battery.
Both iPad Pro models offer up to 10 hours of battery life when surfing the web or watching video and can be recharged over USB-C and the included 20W power adapter that ships with them. (The iPad Pro originally shipped with an 18W adapter, but Apple upgraded it to a 20W version around October 2020.)
WiFi + Cellular models offer up to nine hours of battery life when surfing the web using LTE.
Other iPad Pro Features
Microphones and Speakers
There are five studio-quality microphones included in the iPad Pro for capturing super clean audio and the quietest details.
Apple has also equipped the iPad Pro with a four-speaker audio setup that adjusts sound to any orientation. There are two speakers at the top of the iPad and two speakers at the bottom, enabling stereo sound.
When an MFi compliant case such as the Magic Keyboard or Smart Keyboard is attached to the iPad Pro and closed, there's a hardware microphone disconnect feature that disables the microphone all together.
WiFi 6 Support
The 2020 iPad Pro models support WiFi 6, otherwise known as 802.11ax. The updated standard offers faster speeds, improved network capacity, better power efficiency, lower latency, and upgraded connectivity when there are multiple WiFi devices in the same area.
WiFi 6 devices also support WPA3, which is a security protocol that offers improved cryptographic strength.
The 2020 iPad Pro models support Bluetooth 5.0 technology. Despite rumors of a U1 chip in the iPad Pro, it has been confirmed that Apple did not include the U1 chip in the device. It remains limited to the new iPhone models.
Gigabit-class LTE is available in the cellular 2020 iPad Pro models, and Apple says that these new modem chips support the most bands ever in an iPad.
Support for bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 29, 30, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46, 48, 66, and 71 is included.
There are two SIM options in the iPad Pro: a physical nano-SIM slot at the side of the device and an eSIM, or digital SIM, which is designed to work without the need for a physical SIM card.
The physical nano-SIM slot supports the Apple SIM that is designed to let users swap between carriers without a hassle. Many carriers in the U.S. and other countries support the Apple SIM, but for those that don't, like Verizon, a physical SIM card is still required.
Apple's iPad Pro models start out with 128GB of storage, up from the previous 64GB storage that was available on the entry-level 2018 iPad Pro model. Storage on the iPad Pro can be upgraded to 1TB, and all storage upgrade options are $50 cheaper than they were for the 2018 iPad Pro storage upgrades.
The Smart Connector on the back of the iPad Pro is designed to allow it to communicate with and power accessories like the Smart Keyboard Folio. The Smart Connector interface is able to transfer both power and data, so accessories that connect to the iPad Pro through it do not need batteries.
Magic Keyboard and Trackpad Support
Alongside the new iPad Pro, Apple introduced the Magic Keyboard, which is a folio-style case that features a full backlit keyboard and, for the first time, a trackpad. The Magic Keyboard uses scissor mechanisms much like the keyboard of the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro.
The scissor mechanism provides 1mm of travel, for what Apple says is the best typing experience ever on iPad.
The Magic Keyboard attaches to the iPad Pro through a magnetic connection, and it features cantilevered hinges that works on a desk or on a lap. The hinges allow for adjustments of the viewing angle up to 130 degrees, so it can be tweaked for every usage situation.
The design of the Magic Keyboard allows the iPad to "float" in the air, with the bottom part of the case tilting backwards when used in keyboard mode.
When not in use, the keyboard's folio-style design keeps the iPad Pro safe, covering the front and back of the iPad. A USB-C port is included on the Magic Keyboard for passthrough inductive USB-C charging capabilities, leaving the iPad Pro's USB-C port free for accessories like external drives and displays.
iOS 13.4 brings trackpad and mouse support to the iPad Pro, and the trackpad was "completely reimagined for the iPad" and its touch-first interface, though it should still be familiar to Mac users. The cursor on the iPad displays as a circle that highlights various user interface elements, text fields, and apps on the Home screen or dock, making it clear what can be clicked on.
Gestures on the trackpad are designed to let users switch between apps, access the app switcher, and activate the Dock, Control Center, and apps in Slide Over. Multi-touch gestures on the trackpad allow for quick and easy navigation through iPadOS.
Apple designed trackpad support to integrate into both first and third-party apps. Scrolling through web pages in Safari and photo libraries in Photos is supported, for example, as is precisely editing text in notes and other apps, viewing and organizing email in Mail, and more.
Apple says that most third-party apps will work with no changes at all, and developers will be able to take advantage of new APIs for deeper trackpad support.
While the iPad Pro was designed to work with the Magic Keyboard for iPad, it also supports the Magic Mouse, Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad, Magic Trackpad 2, and third-party mice options using Bluetooth or USB.
Apple has also introduced a new standard Smart Keyboard Folio that is compatible with the 2020 iPad Pro models.
Some Magic Keyboard owners have had trouble charging the keyboard using a third-party charging cable or power adapter, which is something to be aware of. Apple's iPad Pro charging cable and power adapter may be required.
2020 iPad Pro models work with the second-generation Apple Pencil that was introduced in 2018. Priced at $129, the Apple Pencil connects to the iPad Pro using magnets, and when attached magnetically, it charges inductively. Pairing is also done through the magnetic attachment.
Gesture support is included with the second-generation Apple Pencil, and with a tap, you can change brushes or quickly switch from a brush to an eraser without having to pick up the pencil and select a new tool.
The Apple Pencil works across the iPad Pro, with first and third-party apps, though it is designed primarily for use in writing and sketching apps. It features advanced palm rejection, extreme precision, and imperceptible lag for a paper-like writing experience that's unmatched by third-party styluses.
Pressure support allows thinner and thicker lines to be drawn by increasing the amount of pressure on the iPad's screen, and side nib detection allows for shading when the Apple Pencil is tilted.
2018 iPad Pro Models
iPad Pro vs. MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro
We compared Apple's 2020 MacBook Air, 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro, and the 2020 12.9-inch iPad Pro, all of which have similarities when it comes to performance and functionality. If you're trying to decide which one to purchase, make sure to watch the video below and read our guide.
What's Next for the iPad Pro
Apple is working on an updated version of the iPad Pro, which could launch as soon as April. Both the 12.9-inch and 11-inch models are expected to be refreshed, and there are no major design changes expected. The display size and housing are expected to remain the same, but new, faster processors are coming.
While the design is expected to remain the same size, the 12.9-inch model will feature a mini-LED display. Both models will feature upgraded rear cameras that will protrude less, and there may also be some design changes to the speakers, with the overall number of speaker holes on the sides reduced by two-thirds and the positions of the speaker holes changed compared to existing models.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has said that Apple the new iPad Pro models will be coming in April, and will have an updated A14X processor that is "on par" with the M1 chip in the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini, along with better cameras.
Evidence of an A14X chip has been spotted in iOS 14.5 Beta code, with the processor being based on the T8103, the code name for the M1 chip used in the Apple silicon Macs. This hints that the A14X will be comparable to the powerful M1 chip from Apple's first Macs with custom silicon, and lines up with Bloomberg's prior speculation.
Apple has also reportedly tested iPad Pros with a Thunderbolt connector that would make them compatible with additional external monitors, hard drives, and peripherals, plus it brings faster data syncing speeds, but it is unclear if the feature will be included on the final 2021 models. Apple's Mac machines have featured Thunderbolt technology for years now, but current iPad Pro and iPad Air models have standard USB-C ports.
Dummy models of the new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro surfaced in April, showing that the new models will feature the same design as the current models. Despite some minor changes that are present, such as the camera bump on the 12.9-inch model appearing to protrude less than on the 11-inch model, no major design changes expected.
Apple is accelerating adoption of mini-LED in its iPad and Mac notebook lineups, and the iPad Pro is expected to be the first product to get a mini-LED display.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that production will begin on mini-LED displays for the iPad Pro in the fourth quarter of 2020, with a launch expected in the first half of 2021. DigiTimes also believes the a mini-LED iPad Pro will launch in early 2021, as does Korea's ETNews.
DigiTimes has said that we can expect component production to begin in the late first quarter or second quarter, and indications are now pointing to a late March or early April launch. Kuo has now said that Apple's 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a mini-LED display will enter mass production in "mid-to-late April," but it is not clear if the global chip shortage will lead to delays.
Multiple sources have suggested Apple is planning to release a high-end 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a mini-LED display supplied by Innolux in 2021. There has been no mention of an 11-inch model. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman believes a mini-LED display will be included with "at least" the larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro may be in short supply when it comes out due to production issues of the mini-LED display being used in the device. Apple suppliers are believed to be experiencing poor manufacturing yields of the display, and at least one mini-LED maker has had to pause production as a result of these issues.
Apple's mini-LED displays are expected to use approximately 10,000 LEDs, with each one below 200 microns in size. Mini-LED technology will allow for thinner and lighter product designs that also offer impressive wide color gamut performance, high contrast and HDR, and local dimming, which dims the backlight behind black areas of the screen while keeping bright parts lit for blacker blacks and improved contrast.
Leaked CAD Renderings
Alleged leaked factory CAD images depict the fifth-generation 11-inch iPad Pro with no major visual design changes included.
There have been rumors that the protrusion of the individual lenses in the camera module will be reduced, the the camera itself is still expected to protrude.
Mini-LED and OLED Rumors
One rumor from Korean site The Elec suggests Apple will introduce an iPad Pro model with a mini-LED display in early 2021, followed by an iPad Pro with an OLED display in late 2021. Given that Apple probably doesn't want to make a major shift in technology twice in one year, this could potentially be a rumor that reflects Apple's efforts exploring both display technologies.
It's also possible that just the high-end 12.9-inch model will use a mini-LED display, with the others upgraded to OLED technology.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo clarified that mini-LED display technology will remain exclusive to the iPad Pro while the iPad Air transitions to an OLED display in 2022, mirroring DigiTimes' claim that a 10.9-inch OLED iPad will be released next year.
5G iPad Rumors
DigiTimes believes Apple is working on a 5G iPad with mmWave support, which would be positioned as a high-end iPad Pro, and 5G support could be released alongside the new mini-LED display following the release of 5G iPhones. The new 5G iPad Pro will allegedly support mmWave speeds.
A New Apple Pencil?
Images of a next-generation Apple Pencil surfaced in March, with a design that's quite similar to the current Apple Pencil but with a glossy finish. The leaked pencil also appears to have a larger tip component, but purposes is unknown. There's a chance that this new Apple Pencil could have new functionality.
If a refreshed Apple Pencil is in the works, could could debut alongside new iPad Pro models in the spring. The leaker who shared the photos, also previously said that a black Apple Pencil color option is in the works.
Other iPad Pro Rumors
Other rumors have suggested that Apple is working on an OLED iPad set to launch in early 2022. The first iPad expected to adopt an OLED display is said to be a 10.9-inch model, presumed to be an updated version of the iPad Air, but Apple is also reportedly considering using OLED for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
OLED displays could bring benefits like increased brightness, deeper blacks, better contrast, faster response times, and sharper colors, as well as thinner devices since OLED panels are slimmer than LCDs.
A sketchy rumor suggested Apple was working on an iPad with a foldable display to be launched in 2020, which was presumed be an iPad Pro.
Jeff Lin, the IHS Markit analyst who made the claim, said that the foldable iPad will feature a display in the 12-inch range with 5G connectivity. UBS also predicts Apple will introduce a foldable iPhone or a foldable iPad by 2021, though this is just speculation.