Mini-LED iPad Pro is official: 5G, powerful M1 chip, familiar design, Thunderbolt port

Mini-LED iPad Pro is official: 5G, powerful M1 chip, familiar design, Thunderbolt port
After months of rumors and speculation, today Apple has announced the new iPad Pro (2021) series with a much faster M1 chip and a bunch of added features like 5G support, a better selfie camera, a Thunderbolt connector, and an upgraded display on the 12.9-inch model.

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Apple's 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a Liquid Retina XDR display


The new iPad Pro looks a lot like the old one. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is up for debate, but it means Apple has retained the sleek aluminum construction and all-screen design that lots of customers have come to love.

The smaller 11-inch device keeps the 120Hz ProMotion LCD panel that’s been used since late 2018, while the 12.9-inch sibling is receiving a big upgrade in the form of a mini-LED display dubbed Liquid Retina XDR.

In a nutshell, the new tech mimics many of the features that are typically associated with OLED. Customers can expect deeper blacks on the mini-LED iPad, as well as higher contrast ratios and increased brightness. The Silicon Valley-based company says it supports extreme dynamic range, bringing a visual experience with more true-to-life details.

The 5G iPad Pro (2021) inherits the M1 MacBook Pro’s speed & ports


One upgrade coming to both iPad Pro tablets is the Apple M1 chip. It's the company's most advanced chipset thus far and can also be found inside the latest iMac and MacBook Pro models.

Compared to the previous iPad Pro, which was only launched last year, the new 8-core CPU design delivers up to 50% faster performance. The 8-core GPU is in a class of its own, per Apple, and introduces a 40% performance bump over the A12Z Bionic. 

That's now all coupled with optional 5G connectivity as well. The 5G versions of the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2021) support sub-6GHz networks as standard. In the US, customers also gain access to the faster mmWave 5G networks for the fastest speeds possible. 

Sitting alongside that impressive setup is 128GB of storage as standard. The internal storage is now twice as fast. Also available are the usual 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB models, in addition to a 2TB version with 16GB of RAM.

To ensure iPad Pro owners can take full advantage of the extra horsepower, the USB-C connector is receiving an upgrade. Apple is adopting the Thunderbolt standard, so syncing data with the new iPad Pro will be even faster.

Additionally, it enables support for even higher resolution external displays, including the Pro Display XDR at full 6K resolution, and tons of extra peripherals that previously wouldn’t have worked. Importantly, Thunderbolt doesn’t require a new charger.

Apple has also updated the selfie camera on the iPad Pro 


If all of that wasn’t enough, Apple has announced improvements in the camera department too. These aren’t instantly visible because the overall design remains unchanged, but they're definitely there. 

The so-called TrueDepth selfie camera on the front now uses an upgraded 12-megapixel sensor that's been designed specifically for iPad. It enables a new feature dubbed Center Stage in video calls.

Center Stage takes advantage of the new camera's larger field of view and the M1 chip's machine learning capabilities to recognize users during calls and keep them centered in the frame at all times. As users move around, Center Stage adjusts the shot to keep them in view. And when others join in, the camera detects them too and zooms out to fit everyone in.

Apple iPad Pro (2021) price, colors, and release date


Pre-orders for the iPad Pro (2021) series start next Friday, April 30. The tablets can be picked up in two colors — Space Gray and Silver — and begin shipping in the second half of May.

Apple's 11-inch iPad Pro (2021) prices are as follows:

  • 11-inch iPad Pro (128GB, Wi-Fi) — $799
  • 11-inch iPad Pro (256GB, Wi-Fi) — $899
  • 11-inch iPad Pro (512GB, Wi-Fi) — $1,099
  • 11-inch iPad Pro (1TB, Wi-Fi) — $1,499
  • 11-inch iPad Pro (2TB, Wi-Fi) — $1,899

  • 11-inch iPad Pro (128GB, 5G) — $999
  • 11-inch iPad Pro (256GB, 5G) — $1,099
  • 11-inch iPad Pro (512GB, 5G) — $1,299
  • 11-inch iPad Pro (1TB, 5G) — $1,699
  • 11-inch iPad Pro (2TB, 5G) — $2,099


Mini-LED 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2021) prices are as follows:

  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (128GB, Wi-Fi) — $1,099
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (256GB, Wi-Fi) — $1,199
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (512GB, Wi-Fi) — $1,399
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (1TB, Wi-Fi) — $1,799
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2TB, Wi-Fi) — $2,199

  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (128GB, 5G) — $1,299
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (256GB, 5G) — $1,399
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (512GB, 5G) — $1,599
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (1TB, 5G) — $1,999
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2TB, 5G) — $2,399

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