iPad pro 5. Photo: Youtube
iPad pro 5. Photo: Youtube

A new iPad Pro 2021 model is expected to be revealed quite soon. But how will Apple entice shoppers to spend over $1,000 on a new iPad? The big changes, we're hearing, are on the inside, with Apple expected to introduce a mini-LED display iPad Pro that provides a huge boost to color quality on the tablet screens.

These changes may include new screen technologies that will enable much better image quality. Plus, there's a chance the iPad Pro could adopt the Apple M1 chip and faster cellular connectivity. If so, the next iPad Pro would easily keep its spot on our best tablets list.

New iPad Pro 2021 release date

The new iPad Pro is expected to be revealed in April 2021, according to a new report from Mark Gurman at Bloomberg.

Previous leaks, including a story on Japanese news site Macotakara, had suggested a date of March 23 — but that now looks unlikely. Indeed, noted leaker Jon Prosser has also tweeted that the event was always due to be in April.

An April date is somewhat surprising, given that March is one of Apple's primary iPad release windows and that the company has launched new iPads in that month since 2016. The most recent example was the previous iPad Pro, which added the LiDAR camera and the A12Z Bionic processor.

However, the Bloomberg report was fairly definitive on the April announcement and we are now more than halfway through March without any word from Apple, so it does seem likely that it will be pushed back this year.

New iPad Pro 2021 price

Photo: CellPhoneS
Photo: CellPhoneS

Expect Apple's pricing for the 11-inch iPad Pro ($750) and 12.9-inch iPad Pro ($999) to stay put. The last two generations of iPad Pro tablets stuck to this pricing, and everything we're seeing suggests that will continue.

The introduction of the mid-range iPad Air gives Apple no reason to lower the iPad Pro's price. Similarly, Apple doesn't seem to be adding much to this year's iPad Pro that would give them an excuse to charge more, as reported by Tomsguide.


There’s one rumor that we’ve heard more than any other about the iPad Pro 2021, and that’s that it will have a Mini LED screen.

This is a type of LCD screen, but one that offers improved contrast ratio and color reproduction over standard LCD displays. It’s also less likely to suffer screen burn-in than OLED, which is currently the display type of choice on high-end phones.

We first heard that the iPad Pro 2021 might have a Mini LED display back in April 2020, and that rumor has popped up multiple times since then, with one source saying this display tech will enter production either at the end of the first quarter of 2021 or in the second quarter.

This then, is looking very likely. However one source reckons that while there will apparently be both 12.9-inch and 11-inch iPad Pro 2021 models, only the larger of them will use Mini LED. That's a claim we've now heard more than once.

We’ve also heard though that following these Mini LED slates another iPad Pro could land before the end of the year with an OLED screen. Putting out that many iPad Pros in one year though would be an odd move, and other sources have suggested that Mini LED is the end goal rather than a stepping-stone on the road to OLED.

One other source does mention OLED, but suggests that these models won’t land until 2022, which seems more likely if it happens at all. That claim has now been echoed elsewhere too, with a source saying the 2021 iPad Pro will have a Mini LED screen, with Apple considering OLED for 2022, as reported by Techradar.

New iPad Pro 2021 rumors and leaks

The latest report from Mark Gurman at Bloomberg claims that the iPad Pro will have a Mini-LED screen, a new chip that is "on a par" with the M1 silicon inside the MacBook Air M1 and Macbook Pro M1, and Thunderbolt connectivity. Scroll down for more on those details.

Meanwhile, MacOtakara reports that Apple is leaving most of the new iPad Pro "housing design unchanged." That means we should expect it to look like the previous iPad Pro, just with tweaks such as slightly slimmer bezels and fewer speaker holes. The camera bump may also protrude less.

A recent Apple Pencil 3 leak shows Apple could be moving back to a shiny design, and offer larger, interchangeable or replaceable tips.

Patents also suggest Apple may be considering a new Magic Keyboard as well. A close reading of the patents suggests that the Magic Keyboard could feature microphones, which could be used for better audio when video conferencing. A lot of the similarities between 2020 iPad Pros and the iPad Pro 2021 are traced to leaked renders of the new iPad Pro's design.

The 12.9 inch iPad Pro 2021 will be 0.5 mm thicker, which may be hard for the untrained eye to notice. That said, it could let Apple switch out its current display technology for mini-LED screens.

New iPad Pro 2021 Design

Photo: 24hStore
Photo: 24hStore

While there might be significant changes to the display for the iPad Pro 2021, it sounds like the design might not be undergoing such an overhaul.

The renders below may provide a crude look at the design. These were supplied to 91Mobiles by a “trusted source” and show thinner bezels than the iPad Pro 2020 has, along with squared-off edges, a squarish camera module on the back, and a power button on the top edge.

The source also suggests that the slate has quad speakers and a magnetic port to charge the Apple Pencil, just like its predecessor

So from this it sounds like the design is being tweaked but nothing more, and another source has suggested similar, stating that the lens glass will now be flush with the camera protrusion and that the number of speaker holes has been reduced by two thirds, but that the design will otherwise be similar.

The lack of a design change is something that new leaks are specifically stating.

Though they additionally claim that the iPad Pro 12.9 2021 will be 0.5mm thicker than its predecessor, which would make it 6.4mm thick.

New iPad Pro 2021 Mini-LED screen

The iPad Pro has been rumored to be going into production with mini-LED panels since last summer.

This change would move Apple away from LCD displays and deliver improved contrast ratios, truer black tones and improved brightness. This would be made possible thanks to smaller LEDs, as the mini-LED name implies.

As well as Bloomberg's report stating that the iPad Pro 2021 will have Mini-LED, we've previously had confirmation in a supply chain report, which said a vendor is about to start producing these displays for Apple.

You can read more here about why Mini-LED on the iPad would be a big deal.

New iPad Pro 2021 specs

The big rumors about the iPad Pro 2021 tell us that Apple is focusing on the tablet's internal components. Since last year, we've seen speculation that the iPad Pro will be the first of Apple's iPads with 5G. Now that 5G is in the iPhone 12, it's logical that Apple would want to use those components in its iPad Pro as well.

Bloomberg's most recent report also claimed the new iPad Pro 2021 will have Thunderbolt connectors rather than the USB-C that is found on the existing models. If true, this would give the iPad Pro 2021 faster data syncing plus additional connectivity with external monitors and hard drives, for instance.

New iPad Pro 2021 M1 chip

The latest iPad Pro rumor, from the reliable Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, posits that Apple will be packing the new iPad Pro with a processor that's "on par" with the M1 chip in the most recently released Macs.

Deep inside a post from case-maker and render-publisher Pigtou, which mostly focuses on renders of the iPad Pro, there's more chatter of internal upgrades. The post notes the same thing Gurman heard, a possibility we're starting to hear in whispers: the new iPad Pro may rock a version of the Apple Silicon chip seen in the MacBook Air with M1. The company could also just go with an upgraded version of the A12Z chip in the current iPad Pro, and call it the A13Z.

Apple is also planning to update its cheapest iPad with a new design that’s thinner and lighter at some point this year, Bloomberg reports. Apple last refreshed the base iPad in September.

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