How New iPad Pro 2021 Differs From Last Year’s iPad Pro 2020

How New iPad Pro 2021 Differs From Last Year’s iPad Pro 2020

On the April 20 presentation of Apple one of the main novelties was the updated iPad Pro .

All of a sudden, the Cupertinos have moved the line to the M1 processors, which debuted in three Mac models last fall .

Now let’s figure out all the differences between the new “firmware” from the 2020 models and see if it’s worth updating.

1. Display


Here in the 2021 iPad Pro we are greeted by the only difference between tablets with different display diagonal . The 11-inch version, as before, is equipped with a Liquid Retina IPS matrix with a resolution of 2388 × 1668 pixels and a density of 264 pixels per inch .

The older model received a completely new Liquid Retina XDR screen . It is made using IPS technology with mini ‑ LED backlighting. The diagonal here is the same 12.9 inches, the resolution of 2732 × 2048 pixels has not changed either .

This innovation allows the large screen display to deliver 1000 cd / m² and 1600 cd / m² peak brightness when playing HDR content.

The smaller tablet of the new ones boasts only a standard brightness mode of up to 600 cd / m².

Display iPad

The 2020 iPad Pro models have similar resolution and picture density. The 12.9-inch tablet outputs 2732 x 2048 pixels at 264 pixels per inch .

The 11-inch iPad has a resolution of 2388-by-1668 pixels and a density of 264 pixels per inch . For both devices, the maximum brightness is limited to 600 cd / m² .

The rest of the parameters also converge: the display has a laminated coating, supports ProMotion, True Tone and a wide color gamut (P3).

As a result, we have absolutely identical screens for 11-inch iPads of 2020 and 2021, as well as different backlight technology and maximum matrix brightness for 12.9-inch models.

2. Iron and performance


The main feature of the new iPad Pro 2021 was the transition to Apple M1 processors . This is a rather unexpected step, and at the presentation during the demonstration of the chip, many viewers expected to see the new MacBook model.

Both modifications of the new tablet will work under the control of this particular 64-bit chip. An 8-core processor and an 8-core graphics chip will be responsible for performance. There is support for the next generation Neural Engine (compared to previous models).

The amount of RAM has also increased. The new models will get 8 to 16 GB of RAM. By the way, the Cupertinians first announced this at the presentation and on the official website. This brings the line of tablets even closer to Apple computers and hints at the imminent merger of Apple operating systems .

A different amount of RAM will be required primarily for the most demanding applications, including Procreate and Lumafusion. For ordinary users consuming content, the standard 8 GB of RAM will be more than enough.

The available options for the built-in memory have also changed. To the already familiar 128GB / 256GB / 512GB and 1TB, the “royal” version will be added with a disk volume of as much as 2TB . She and the 1TB model will get 16GB of RAM instead of the standard 8GB for new tablets.


The 2020 iPad Pro models still have top-end performance and in the next couple of years will be inferior to new products exclusively in synthetic tests. The 64-bit A12Z Bionic chip with the Neural Engine system is responsible for the performance here .

All models of last year’s tablets have 6 GB of RAM, which will be enough for most tablet users in the next few years.

The choice of available models with storage capacity 128GB / 256GB / 512GB and 1TB .

Both iPad models (last year and new) will deliver good performance, however, at the presentation they said that the increase in power of the new item will be 50%. It will be possible to notice this only with a very high load, the installation of heavy rollers or the processing of multi-layer photos.

3. Other differences

◎ We upgraded the front camera in the 2021 model . Now it 12MP fisheye sensor ƒ / 2.4 (in place of 7-megapixels ƒ / 2.2 ) with optical zoom to decrease. When shooting video, it produces all the same 1080p with a maximum frequency of 60 frames per second.

◎ Both camera modules (front and main) in the new model received an extended dynamic range when shooting video with a frequency of up to 30 frames per second. It’s so-so, especially on the iPad.

◎ iPad Pro 2021 received support for fifth generation networks , which is not very relevant for our country yet.

◎ The USB ‑ C port on newer products is Thunderbolt / USB 4 certified . This gives a higher data transfer rate and the ability to connect a wider range of peripherals.

4. What has not changed


◉ The dimensions of the models remain the same: 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4 mm for the 12.9-inch version and 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9 mm for the 11-inch tablet. Only the weight is slightly different.

◉ The main camera block is the same for all models. On the back is a dual module with a 12MP-/ 1.8 wide-angle sensor and a 10MP ƒ / 2.4 ultra-wide sensor. This allows you to shoot 4K at up to 60 frames per second, use optical 2x zoom or 3x digital zoom. In place and LiDAR.

◉ To identify the user, exactly the same Face ID module with the TrueDepth camera is used, which works in any screen orientation.

◉ The set of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless modules has not changed. These are the same Wi-Fi 6 (802.11a / b / g / n / ac / ax) and Bluetooth 5.0.

◉ Both old and new devices support the 2nd generation Apple Pencil . Fortunately, the rumors about a new pencil have not been confirmed, this accessory will not have to be changed when the tablet is updated.

◉ All devices support proprietary Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio . There is full compatibility of similar accessories.

◉ According to the manufacturer, the battery in the iPad Pro 2021 has not changed. The battery still allows you to get 10 hours of video watching or surfing over Wi-Fi, or 9 hours of work over a mobile connection.

◉ For sound reproduction, similar 4 speakers are responsible, spaced along the two ends of the tablet.

◉ Like last year, there are only two color options available: Silver and Space Gray.

5. Prices and availability

With the release of the new iPad Pro models, old tablets have disappeared from Apple’s official website. Along with this, the entire professional line has risen decently . Prices for basic models are as follows:


If you want the larger 12.9-inch version, that is set to cost you a lot more than the 11-inch version. Below are the prices for the Wi-Fi only variant of the upcoming tablet.


Pre-orders for the new models will be open from April 30th, with sales starting in May.

All differences are brief

All differents

▶ The display of the 10 “versions is identical. The only difference is the screen in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2021. The change concerns matrix technology ( Liquid Retina XDR with mini-LED backlighting ) and a maximum brightness of up to 1600 cd / m² in peak mode for HDR content.

▶ New stuffing is better. There is a more modern M1 processor , which is being rolled out on Mac computers, and an increased amount of RAM ( 8-16 GB versus 6 GB ) and a version with a 2 TB drive. Another thing is that this potential can only be revealed in a limited range of tasks.

▶ The main camera module is the same for the models. The 2021 tablets have the best front camera (12 megapixels versus 7 megapixels).

▶ The wireless modules are the same, the new iPads only added 5G support.

▶ The Type-C port on the new iPads is Thunderbolt / USB 4 certified , which theoretically gives support for more peripherals and better data transfer speeds.

▶ The appearance of the models is identical, the dimensions are the same up to a millimeter, the weight is slightly different.

▶ Covers, cases, stylus and accessories are completely interchangeable.

It turns out that the main difference between the models of this year is hidden “under the hood”. Not everyone needs the increased power of the new M1 processor, and more RAM will be barely noticeable in everyday tasks.

Only the older 2021 model has changes in the matrix, and only a narrow circle of professionals need it.

Given the modest set of differences, the lineup update can be called minor. At the same time, there was a tangible increase in the cost of gadgets, which can only be justified in the 12-inch version due to a fundamentally new display.

It is definitely not worth updating the 2020 model to a new one, and we will not recommend buying a fresh “firmware”. If you’re looking to grab a professional iPad or swap out an outdated tablet, take a look at last year’s model while it’s still in stock.


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