Should You Buy the iPad Pro?
The iPad Pro is Apple's high-end tablet computer. The latest iPad Pro models introduced the M2 chip, Apple Pencil hover, ProRes video recording, Bluetooth 5.3, and Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, adding to existing features like the Thunderbolt port, a Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display on the larger model, and up to 16GB of RAM and 2TB of storage. Apple typically updates the iPad Pro every 12 to 18 months.
There are two different iPad Pro models currently available. One has an 11-inch LED Liquid Retina display and a price starting at $799, while the other has a better 12.9-inch mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR display and a price starting at $1,099.
Announced in October of 2022, the M2 iPad Pros are at the start of their product cycle, meaning that now is a good time to buy them. There are as yet no concrete rumors about what the next-generation model will feature, but a new chip seems likely.
The 2022 iPad Pro
Apple in October 2022 refreshed its iPad Pro lineup, introducing a range of small improvements including the M2 chip, Apple Pencil hover, ProRes video recording, Bluetooth 5.3, and Wi-Fi 6E.
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, 2020, and 2021 iPad Pro models, the 2022 iPad Pro features a TrueDepth camera system with Face ID that uses facial recognition for biometric authentication and offers a 12-megapixel front-facing camera for selfies and Center Stage during video calls.
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 12.9-inch model features a Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display, bringing extreme dynamic range to the iPad Pro. The Liquid Retina XDR uses more than 10,000 LEDs across the entire back of the display and can deliver up to 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness, 1,600 nits of peak brightness, a 1 million-to-1 contrast ratio, and true-to-life HDR to enhance creative workflows for a "stunning" visual experience.
On the 11-inch model, the Liquid Retina display is again unchanged from the 2021 model, featuring wide color support, True Tone for adjusting to ambient light, an anti-reflective coating, and ProMotion 120Hz refresh capabilities.
The rear camera system remains the same with 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, as well as a LiDAR Scanner for AR experiences. The rear camera can now record ProRes video for the first time in up to 4K at 30 fps.
Inside, the 2022 iPad Pro is equipped with the M2 chip, featuring an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU. The M2 chip in the iPad Pro delivers up to 15 percent faster CPU performance than the M1 chip in the previous model. The 10-core GPU similarly delivers up to 35 percent faster GPU performance.
Thanks to the M2 chip, the iPad Pro features 100GB/s of unified memory bandwidth, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 2TB of storage.
The 2022 iPad Pro continues to feature a Thunderbolt port, allowing for much faster data transfer and support for Thunderbolt peripherals.
With the M2 chip, the 2021 iPad Pro models continue to feature an all-day battery life on a single charge. Other iPad Pro features include WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 support, Gigabit-class LTE for cellular models, and storage options ranging from 128GB to 2TB.
The 2022 iPad Pro works with the second-generation Apple Pencil that attaches to the iPad magnetically and charges from a direct physical connection, and the Magic Keyboard for iPad.
The new iPad Pro models support Apple Pencil hover, a new feature that allows users to see a preview of their mark before they make it, allowing for more precise illustration in apps.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, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $1,099. Models with cellular connectivity are available for an additional $200 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, while the Smart Keyboard Folio for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro can be purchased for $199.
The Magic Keyboard with trackpad is available for $299 for the 11-inch model and $349 for the 12.9-inch version.
Reviews of the latest iPad Pro models focused on the M2 chip and Apple Pencil hover. The new iPad Pro is able to detect the second-generation Apple Pencil while it hovers up to 12mm above the display, allowing users to see a preview of their drawing before they make it. Federico Viticci at MacStories called the feature a "very nice surprise," as he found it useful for interacting with iPadOS as a whole:
I'm here to tell you, however, that Apple Pencil Hover goes beyond enhancing the typical iPad drawing experience: it's also a neat way to control the iPadOS UI, adding a new dimension to touch interactions. I was not expecting to use Apple Pencil Hover at all because I'm no artist; its native integration with interface elements across the system turned out to be one of my favorite additions to iPadOS this year – definitely more so than Stage Manager.
For example, Viticci said Apple Pencil hover can be used to preview and scrub through videos on the YouTube website in Safari.
Jason Snell of Six Colors expressed disappointment that the iPad Pro still has a 2018 design and said the device would benefit from some features that the new 10th-generation iPad received, such as a landscape FaceTime camera and a Magic Keyboard with function keys:
That makes the fourth revision for this design without any substantial exterior changes. It's a good design, yes, but it's a little frustrating that it's been in stasis for four full years. The 10th-generation iPad's repositioned FaceTime camera would be welcome on a new iPad Pro. A revised version of the Magic Keyboard introduced in April 2020 with that extra row of function keys like the Magic Keyboard Folio would also be nice. But while the low-end iPad points the direction to the future, the M2 iPad Pro remains in stasis. The display is unchanged from the M1 generation, meaning only the 12.9-inch model gets the excellent Liquid Retina XDR display, and the 11-inch model remains left out. There are several iPads available at the 11-inch size, so it would be nice if the iPad Pro were a bit better differentiated from (for example) the iPad Air. It's not.
Apple says the new iPad Pro has up to 15% faster CPU performance and up to 35% faster GPU performance compared to the previous model with the M1 chip. Engadget's Nathan Ingraham said the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the M2 chip was "far more responsive" in his initial testing than his 11-inch iPad Pro with the A12Z chip from 2020:
In the short time that I've been testing the latest 12.9-inch iPad Pro, I can say that it's far more responsive than my personal 11-inch iPad Pro from 2020 as well as the new iPad I've also been testing. Those other devices aren't slow by any stretch of the imagination, but the M2-powered iPad Pro responds to everything almost instantaneously. Of course, the same can be said about the M1 iPad Pro, especially given my modest workflow.
Mac Otakara shared Geekbench 5 results for the new iPad Pro that confirm about a 15-16% increase in multi-core performance over the previous model (8,516 score for 12.9-inch model with M2 chip vs. 7,326 for the 12.9-inch model with M1 chip):
Mashable's Stan Schroeder said iPadOS 16's new Stage Manager feature remains "buggy" on the new iPad Pro and is "far from perfect":
Stage Manager was also buggy. For example, invoking it with the Keyboard's trackpad, which you do by moving the cursor to the left of the display, occasionally wouldn't work. Some apps, including Facebook and Apple's own Weather (which is new to the iPad) would sometimes look messy when resized inside Stage Manager. Having the app windows stubbornly cling to a certain size when you need them to be just a little bit bigger or smaller is annoying. I do think it's better than both Slide Over and Split View as a multitasking tool, but it's still far from perfect.
The 2022 iPad Pro models received no major design refreshes and continue to look like the 2018, 2020, and 2021 iPad Pro models. The 11-inch iPad Pro measures in at 9.74 inches (247.6 mm) long and 7.02 inches (178.5 mm) wide, while the 12.9-inch model measures in at 11.04 inches (280.6 mm) long and 8.46 inches (214.9 mm) wide, meaning that it is over an inch wider and taller than the smaller model.
The 11-inch iPad Pro is 5.9 mm (0.23 inches) thick, while the 12.9-inch model is 6.4 mm (0.25 inches) thick. The 11-inch iPad Pro weighs in at 1.03 pounds (466 grams) and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro weighs 1.5 pounds (682 grams), with the cellular versions of both models adding just a few grams to the weight. Apple offers the iPad Pro in either a Silver or Space Gray aluminum finish.
The 2022 iPad Pro models continue to offer an edge-to-edge display with 6 mm bezels at the top, bottom, and sides. Rather than smooth, tapered edges, the iPad Pro models have industrial flat sides like the iPhone 12 and later. There is no Touch ID Home button, as the iPad Pro instead uses a TrueDepth camera system with facial recognition capabilities for Face ID 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 previous models, there is no headphone jack on the iPad Pro and Bluetooth headphones or headphones that work with USB-C are required.
The square-shaped camera bump housing a wide-angle camera, ultra wide-angle camera, LiDAR Scanner, and True Tone flash remain unchanged from the 2021 model.
At the bottom of the iPad Pro there's a Thunderbolt/USB-C port for charging and connecting accessories. Thunderbolt allows the iPad Pro to connect to new Thunderbolt-only peripherals and transfer data at faster speeds, while still supporting standard USB-C accessories and cables like previous models. The back features a Smart Connector for accessories.
Mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR Display
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a mini-LED display that Apple calls the "Liquid Retina XDR display" with a resolution of 2732 x 2048 at 264 pixels per inch. The Liquid Retina XDR display brings extreme dynamic range to the iPad Pro, offering a "stunning visual experience" with more true-to-life details and HDR, and it is the same as the 2021 iPad Pro display.
Apple's mini-LED display on the iPad Pro uses more than 10,000 LEDs across the entire back of the display, creating up to 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness, 1,600 nits of peak brightness, and a 1 million-to-1 contrast ratio. This captures the brightest highlights and subtle details in even the darkest images, allowing creatives to view and edit true-to-life HDR content on a large, portable display.
The Liquid Retina XDR display continues to feature display technologies from the previous iPad Pro, including 120Hz ProMotion, True Tone, and P3 wide color support.
LED Liquid Retina Display
The 11-inch iPad Pro also continues to feature the same LED "Liquid Retina Display" as the 2021 model.
The 11-inch iPad Pro has a resolution of 2388 x 1668 at 264 pixels per inch. The display can deliver up to 600 nits brightness with just 1.8 percent reflectivity. It has an antireflective and fingerprint-resistant coating, standard iPad display features.
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 content in motion on the screen smoother, crisper, and more responsive for scrolling, gaming, watching movies, and more.
The iPad Pro's display refresh rate is dynamic and can change depending on what is on screen as a battery-saving measure. When watching a movie or playing a game, the refresh rate is at 120Hz, but when reading a web page or looking at a photo, a 120Hz refresh rate is not needed, 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 can be used for 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 is 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 M2 chip 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 is not a live person in front of it.
Face ID data is encrypted and stored in the Secure Enclave of the M2 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 are 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.
The front-facing TrueDepth camera system includes a 12-megapixel camera for selfies and FaceTime videos, and it continues to support Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting, and Animoji and Memoji.
An Ultra Wide front camera allows for Center Stage, a feature that automatically keeps users perfectly framed during video calls. Center Stage uses the wide field of view and the machine learning capabilities of the Apple silicon chip to recognize and keep users centered in the frame.
As users move around, Center Stage automatically pans to keep them in the shot. When other people join in on the call, the camera detects them too, and smoothly zooms out to fit everyone into the view and make sure they are part of the conversation. Center Stage works with FaceTime as well as third-party apps.
The 2022 iPad Pro models are equipped with Apple's next-generation M2 Apple silicon chip, which was previously introduced in the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. The M2 chip features an 8-core CPU that's up to 15 percent faster than the M1 chip, offering improvements for both the performance and efficiency cores.
There is a 10-core GPU in the M2 chip that provides up to 35 percent faster graphics performance than the M1 chip.
The 16-core Neural Engine, the CPU, and GPU are able to process a combined 15.8 trillion operations per second, a 40 percent improvement over the M1. The M2 chip also features 100GB/s unified memory bandwidth, 50 percent more than the M1, and it supports up to 16GB unified memory.
Apple says there is a new media engine and a new image signal processor that allow for ProRes video for the first time, with ProRes footage transcoded up to 3x faster.
Rear Cameras and LiDAR Scanner
The iPad Pro has the same camera system as the previous model, featuring a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera with an ƒ/1.8 aperture and a 10-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera with an ƒ/2.4 aperture and a 125 degree field of view.
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, 2020, and 2021 models, the 2022 iPad Pro models do not feature optical image stabilization.
Next to the two main cameras is a LiDAR Scanner (Light Detection and Ranging), which 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 M2 chip to create a more detailed and complete understanding of a scene, allowing for instant AR placement, improved motion capture, and people occlusion.
The ISP and Neural Engine in the M2 make the iPad Pro's camera system more capable, bringing support for Smart HDR 4 for the first time. In low-light conditions, the ISP and LiDAR Scanner can quickly and accurately focus images and videos to capture details with almost no light at all.
As for video, the iPad Pro can record 4K video at up to 60 frames per second with either camera, extended dynamic range for video up to 30 fps, slo-mo video, time-lapse video, and cinematic video stabilization when recording at 720p or 1080p.
The M2 chip supports ProRes video capture, which is new to the 2022 iPad Pro models. With 256GB of storage or more, 30fps 4K video recording is available, with the 128GB iPad Pro model limited to 1080p ProRes recording. ProRes recording requires a third-party camera app as it is not supported by the built-in Camera from Apple.
Both iPad Pro models offer "all-day battery life" with up to 10 hours of battery life when surfing the web or watching video, thanks to the power efficiency of the M2 chip. WiFi + Cellular models offer up to nine hours of battery life when surfing the web using 5G connectivity.
The 11-inch iPad Pro is equipped with a 28.65 watt-hour battery, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is equipped with a 40.88 watt-hour battery.
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 the sound to any orientation. There are two speakers at the top of the iPad and two speakers at the bottom, enabling stereo sound.
Cellular iPad Pro models offer 5G connectivity to deliver even faster wireless speeds when on the go, and more bands are available this year. iPad Pro models in the U.S. support millimeter wave, the higher frequency version of 5G, allowing iPad Pro to reach incredibly fast wireless speeds up to 4Gbps. In other countries, slower sub-6GHz 5G connectivity is available.
iPad Pro also offers support for eSIM, making it easy to find a network and sign up for a 5G data plan on the spot.
WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.0 Support
The iPad Pro models support WiFi 6E for up to 2.4GB/s downloads, which is 2x faster than WiFi 6. WiFi 6E is also known as 802.11ax, and Apple's implementation supports 2x2 MIMO and 2.4 and 5GHz simultaneous dual band. Bluetooth 5.3 is also supported.
Storage and RAM
Apple's iPad Pro models start out with 128GB of storage and can be upgraded up to a maximum of 2TB.
RAM is variable, so iPad Pro models with 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage come with 8GB of RAM, while iPad Pro models with 1TB or 2TB of storage feature 16GB of RAM.
The 2022 iPad Pro models have a combination Thunderbolt and USB 4 port that offers transfer speeds up to 40Gbps. Thunderbolt supports 10Gbps Ethernet and opens up an ecosystem of high-performance accessories, like faster external storage and higher resolution external displays, including the Pro Display XDR at full 6K resolution. The iPad Pro can now support more peripherals and accessories than ever before and at much faster speeds.
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 and Magic Keyboard. 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.
There are two standard configuration of the iPad Pro available from Apple:
- $799 - 11-inch LED Liquid Retina display, Wi-Fi only, M2 chip, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage.
- $1,099 - 12.9-inch mini-LED Liquid Retina display, Wi-Fi only, M2 chip, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage.
Configuration OptionsWhen purchasing the iPad Pro, it is possible to upgrade the storage and add 5G cellular connectivity:
- 256GB SSD - +$100
- 512GB SSD - +$300
- 1TB SSD - +$700
- 2TB SSD - +$1,100
- 5G Cellular - +$200
iPad Pro models with 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage come with 8GB of RAM, while iPad Pro models with 1TB or 2TB of storage feature 16GB of RAM.
2022 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 achieved 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.
With the 2022 iPad Pro models, the Apple Pencil supports Hover Mode, which allows the Apple Pencil's tip to be detected up to 12 mm above the display.
Apple says that users are able to see a preview of their mark before they make it, and that sketching and illustrating can be done with greater precision.
It also allows features like Scribble text fields to expand when the Apple Pencil gets near the screen, and handwriting is able to be converted to text faster. Third-party drawing apps can incorporate the hover feature.
Magic Keyboard and Trackpad Support
Apple offers the Magic Keyboard to accompany the iPad Pro, which is a folio-style case that features a full backlit keyboard and a trackpad. The Magic Keyboard uses scissor mechanisms much like the keyboard of the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro to provide 1 mm of travel.
The Magic Keyboard attaches to the iPad Pro through a magnetic connection, and it features cantilevered hinges that allow it to work 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 pass-through USB-C charging capabilities, leaving the iPad Pro's Thunderbolt port free for accessories like external drives and displays.
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.
Originally available only in black, a white color option for the Magic Keyboard was added in 2021.
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 mouse options using Bluetooth or USB.
Apple also offers the standard Smart Keyboard Folio for the 2021 iPad Pro models as a lower-cost alternative to the Magic Keyboard, without backlighting, trackpad, or scissor-mechanism.
What's Next for the iPad Pro
Apple is rumored to be working on OLED technology for future Macs and iPads. Apple could add an OLED iPad to its lineup in 2024, and the iPad Pro could perhaps be the first iPad to adopt an OLED display.
Display analyst Ross Young believes that Apple will release 11.1-inch and 13-inch iPad Pro models with OLED displays, with a launch coming in 2024. As of now, we're expecting to see the first iPad Pro models next year.
Apple may adopt a hybrid OLED technology for its future iPads, which would combine both rigid and flexible OLED panel materials. The information comes from The Elec, and the site says that Apple is reluctant to rely solely on flexible panel technology for larger screen sizes. The Elec believes that hybrid OLED iPads could come out sometime around 2024, a rumor also echoed by DigiTimes.
Larger-sized iPads could also be in the works, according to multiple sources. The Information believes Apple will launch a 16-inch iPad in late 2023. The 16-inch iPad would likely be aimed at creative professionals like graphic artists and designers who need a larger size. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has also said that Apple is exploring bigger sizes for future tablets.