iPad Pro 2021: 10 things you need to know

Apple has just introduced its brand new iPad Pro for 2021. Although it looks similar to last year’s model, the new iPad Pro comes with significant upgrades under the hood. Not only it’s the first iPad to run on the Apple M1 chip with support for 5G, it is also the first iOS device to come with a Liquid Retina XDR display which boasts extremely high brightness and contrast ratio.

To bring yourself up to speed, here are 10 things you need to know about the 11″ and 12.9″ iPad Pro for 2021.

50% faster CPU with Apple M1 chip

Instead of having an A14 or A14X chip, Apple has plonked in its desktop grade ARM-based M1 chip into the new iPad Pro. The 5nm chip with 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU and a 16-core neural engine, offers 50% faster CPU and 40% faster graphics performance compared to the previous Apple A12Z powered predecessor.

Mini-LED display for 12.9″ model

The most anticipated upgrade is its Mini-LED based Liquid Retina XDR display on the 12.9″ model. It uses 10,000 tiny LEDs versus just 72 LEDs on the previous generation model. According to Apple, this is the world’s most advanced mobile display.

It offers up to 1000 nits in full screen brightness and up to 1600 nits of peak brightness along with 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Similar to its predecessor, it also gets a fluid 120Hz ProMotion refresh rate and True Tone for comfortable viewing.

Do note that the smaller 11″ iPad Pro is still using a Liquid Retina IPS display that has 600nits of peak brightness. The smaller model also retains ProMotion and True Tone technology. Both iPad sizes still get a quad-speaker setup with Dolby Atmos support.

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Super fast 5G connectivity

The iPad Pro 2021 is the first iPad to support high-speed 5G connectivity for its WiFi + Cellular model. In select markets like the US, it supports mmWave connectivity but for Malaysia, the new iPad Pro only supports sub-6GHz 5G networks.

The cellular version supports both eSIM and a physical nano-SIM. There’s also support for 802.11ax WiFi 6 with MIMO as well as Bluetooth 5.0.

USB-C with Thunderbolt

Just like the previous iPad Pro, the new model still comes with a USB-C port for charging and data transfer. For 2021, the new model gets Thunderbolt USB 4 support which provides 4x higher bandwidth up to 40Gbps. This offers faster file transfers and you can also hook it up to a Pro Display XDR monitor at full 6K resolution.

In case you’re wondering, Apple is still including a 20W USB-C Power Adapter in the box along with a USB-C to USB-C charging cable.

12MP Ultra-wide camera with Centre Stage

The new iPad Pro still doesn’t come with Touch ID and it relies on its TrueDepth camera for face unlock. The front camera has been upgraded from 7MP to a 12MP ultra-wide-angle shooter. With the utra-wide-angle camera, Apple has introduced a new Centre Stage feature for video calls where it will keep your face centred in the field of view as you move around in the shot. If there are more people in the frame, it will detect them and zoom out to include everyone.

The rear cameras remain unchanged with a 12MP wide camera, 10MP ultra-wide-camera and a LiDAR sensor. Because of its new and powerful M1 chip, the new iPad Pro supports Smart HDR 3 for video recording.

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Up to 16GB RAM and 2TB of storage

Similar to the new M1 powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13, the latest iPad Pro can be configured with up to 16GB RAM and 2TB of storage which is a huge deal for power users. According to the spec-sheet, the lower 128GB, 256GB and 512GB storage options are equipped with 8GB of RAM, while its higher 1TB and 2TB options get double the RAM at 16GB.

Same 10 hour battery life

Despite having greater power efficiency with up to 20 hours of battery life on the MacBook Pro 13, the new iPad Pro still retains the same up to 10 hours of battery life like its predecessors. The 10 hour rating is given for web browsing and video playback on WiFi and you’ll get up to 9 hours when connected to a mobile network.

Magic Keyboard now available in White

The 2021 model supports the same Magic Keyboard which offers a full-sized backlit keys and a multi-touch trackpad. The only thing that’s new is that it is now available in White. The 11″ version costs RM1,349 while the 12.9″ variant is going for RM1,549.

Same 2nd gen Apple Pencil support

Despite the earlier rumours, Apple didn’t introduce a new Apple Pencil. The iPad Pro 2021 continues to use the 2nd gen Apple Pencil which is currently going for RM549. The Pencil can charge wirelessly and it attaches to the edge of the iPad Pro via magnets.

Malaysian Pricing and availability

The iPad Pro 2021 will be available for pre-order in first wave countries from 30th April with stocks expected to be available in the 2nd half of May. For Malaysia, the new iPad Pro is still listed as coming soon but Apple has already revealed the local pricing.

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The 11″ WiFi model retains the same starting price of RM3,499 for 128GB of storage while the 12.9″ WiFi is now costs RM400 more at RM4,799 for the base 128GB option. If you want the ultimate iPad Pro, the 12.9″ 5G version with 2TB of storage is listed for RM10,399. You can check out the full price list here.

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Alexander Wong