As we’re closing in on the release of Apple’s 2021 iPad Pro line-up, there’s already plenty of information available on the upcoming tablets, giving us a good idea of what to expect.

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Apple iPad Pro (2021) release date

Apple hasn’t been as consistent with its iPad Pro release dates as it is with iPhones, but for reference, the the 2021 iPad Pro’s predecessor was released on March 19.

Apple iPad Pro (2021) price

As of right now, there’s no information to suggest that the 2021 iPad Pro line-up will sell for prices different from the 2020 iPad Pro series. The 2021 iPad Pro models are expected to cost as follows:

  • 11-inch iPad Pro (2021) starting at $799
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2021) starting at $999

WiFi + Cellular models:

  • 11-inch iPad Pro (2021) starting at $949
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2021) starting at $1,149

The storage options are again expected to start at 128GB, followed by 256GB, 512GB and a maximum storage option of 1TB. As usual, there will be no expandable storage via microSD.

Apple iPad Pro (2021) design and display

The 2021 iPad Pro is expected to be virtually unchanged from its predecessor in terms of design, although some rumors have claimed that it could be slightly thicker due to its switch to mini-LED technology. In any case, we will be getting the same modern build, with minimal symmetrical black bezels surrounding the display. It will once again feature quad speakers, two on each side, a USB Type-C port for charging, keyboard and Apple Pencil connectors, the same camera module with slightly improved dual cameras, and the same LiDAR sensor.

And although 2021 likely won’t see a major redesign for the iPad Pro, we do have information to suggest changes in its display technology, as mentioned earlier. A November 2020 rumor coming from trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, based on information by an electronics supplier, has suggested that the entire iPad line-up of 2021 is going to feature mini-LED display technology. Mini-LED would deliver improved contrast ratios and image quality that may even rival the quality of OLED displays. Simultaneously, this leak confirms that iPads will not be switching to OLED technology, the kind of which we often see on flagship Samsung tablets.
On January 15, alleged leaked iPad Pro (2021) renders suggested that the iPad Pro will not be getting a noticeable redesign over it’s 2020 iteration. The few notable changes that the leak hinted at were smaller bezels, slightly smaller overall size and 5G support.
Later in early April, photos claiming to show model dummies of the upcoming 2021 iPads also confirmed that the 11-inch iPad Pro will remain the same as last year, although interestingly, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro might be getting its Smart Connector moved to the side. The leaked photos shown below (courtesy of Sonny Dickson) show us that the Smart Connector is no longer on the back of the 12.9-inch iPad, leading us to assume that it has been moved to one of its sides.

If the 2021 iPad Pro’s size indeed changes even slightly, or the iPad Pro 12.9-inch’s Smart Connector has really been moved, it would mean that those new models will not be compatible with prior iPad Pro cases or accessories like Apple’s Magic Keyboard for iPad, and thus will be getting new ones.

Apple iPad Pro (2021) specifications

Here are the main specs we expect to see on the 2021 iPad Pro models:

  • 11-inch / 12.9-inch 120Hz Mini-LED display
  • A14X Bionic chip (name may differ slightly, e.g. “A14Z Bionic”)
  • 6GB of RAM
  • Two main cameras (wide and ultrawide) + LiDAR sensor
  • Face ID (the return of Touch ID is unlikely)
  • USB Type-C port
  • Stereo speakers (two on each side, four in total)
  • 5G connectivity

Apple iPad Pro (2021) software

The 2021 iPad Pro models will be coming with iPadOS 14 out the box, to be updated to iPadOS 15 likely in November of 2021. iPadOS 14 introduced better homescreen widgets (Today View) to all iPads that support it, and a notable new feature called Scribble. If the user owns an Apple Pencil (2nd-gen, in the case of the iPad Pro), Scribble lets them handwrite into any text field with the Pencil itself, instead of having to rely on the on-screen keyboard. Thus, iPad users can now use their Apple Pencil for almost anything they may wish to do on the iPad.

With iPadOS 14 also came new security features, with the most notable ones surrounding the Safari internet browser for iPad. Safari can now inform the user of weak passwords, while the App Store now shows privacy information to the user, such as what permissions an app requires, before downloading it. Small interface changes were also made to built-in apps such as Files, better adopting the use of sidebar menus for better navigation on the large screen, thus making the iPad feel more like a computer, instead of just a larger iPhone.