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Apple's new iPad Pros are powered by M1 chip, 12.9-inch model gets mini-LED display

By Kenny Yeo - on 1 May 2021, 9:26am

Apple's new iPad Pros are powered by M1 chip, 12.9-inch model gets mini-LED display

Note: This article was first published on 21 Apr 2021.

The iPad Pros are now powered by Apple's M1 chip. (Image source: Apple)

The rumours were mostly right on this one.

Alongside the new 24-inch iMac, Apple also updated the iPad Pro.

There will be two versions –11-inch and 12.9-inch – and the design is largely unchanged. The big news is that they are now powered by Apple’s M1 chip. That’s right, the same chip that’s used in the 24-inch iMac, MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini. Downright incredible.

According to Apple, by switching to M1, the latest generation iPad Pro will deliver up to 50% faster CPU performance and up to 40% graphics performance compared to last year’s iPad Pro. There’s also a new 2TB configuration so there’s more space for your files.

Speaking of files, the new iPad Pros’ USB-C port now supports Thunderbolt 3 / USB 4. This enables the quicker transfer of files and also the ability to pair the iPad Pro will high-performance Thunderbolt accessories like external SSD storage and docks. Users will also be able to drive the Pro Display XDR at full 6K 60Hz.

5G will give users greater download speeds. (Image source: Apple)

Another huge update is 5G connectivity. This will enable faster internet speeds when you are not on a Wi-Fi network. Users in the USA will also get support for mmWave with peak speeds reaching 4Gbps in ideal conditions.

The front-facing TrueDepth camera has also been improved. It still supports Face ID but it now has a new 12MP sensor with an ultra-wide 122-degree field of view and a new feature called Center Stage. With Center Stage, the iPad Pro uses machine learning to automatically pan (digitally) as you move and even zoom in and out. The idea is to give users more freedom to move and to make FaceTime calls and meetings more lively and interactive without being concerned if you're within the shot or if you're in focus. This feature might sound familiar if you're following the mobile phone development scene because Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 2 was the first to debut this feature, last year.

The rear cameras are the same, so you get a 12MP main wide camera and a 10MP ultrawide camera, as well as a LiDAR scanner.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a mini-LED display with much higher brightness and a significantly better contrast ratio. (Image source: Apple)

The larger 12.9-inch model also gets a significant update to its display. It now has a Liquid Retina XDR display, which is really a mini-LED display that Apple says rivals its Pro Display XDR. Resolution is unchanged at 2732 x 2048 pixels but thanks to over 10,000 mini-LEDs in the display, brightness is now up to 1,000 nits while peak brightness is a whopping 1,600 nits. Contrast ratio is an amazing 1,000,000:1. This makes the 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s display uniquely suitable for showing HDR content. And it still supports ProMotion technology, TrueTone, and the P3 colour space. To accommodate the new display, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be 0.5mm thicker.

As for the 11-inch model, it still has a Liquid Retina display. Sure, it’s probably not as impressive but it’s no scrub. It has a 2388 x 1668 pixels resolution with a maximum brightness of 600 nits. It supports ProMotion technology, TrueTone, and the P3 colour space.


Availability and pricing

The new iPad Pros will be available to order starting 30 April 2021 with general availability beginning in “the second half of May”.

Prices of the 11-inch iPad Pro will start at S$1,199 for the Wi-Fi model and S$1,419 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. The base model comes with 128GB of storage.

As for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, prices will start at S$1,649 for the Wi-Fi model and S$1,869 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. Again, 128GB of storage comes as standard.

Prices are the 11-inch model are unchanged. For the 12.9-inch model, it has gone up by S$150. I guess those 10,000 tiny LEDs cost more.

There's a new white Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro to match your new silver iPad Pro. (Image source: Apple)

And finally, Apple is releasing a new white version of the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro to go with the new silver colourway. Prices of the Magic Keyboard are the same: S$419 for the 11-inch iPad Pro and S$519 for 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

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