12.9-inch iPad Pro

12.9-inch iPad Pro

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro blurs the line between laptop and tablet with its M1 processor and Magic Keyboard. The standout feature of this flagship tablet is its Liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion and wide color. Apple promotes this top-of-the-line iPad as a proper laptop replacement.

● Mini-LED backlit display with ProMotion
● M1 processor
● Face ID
● Apple Pencil support (second-generation)
● USB 4/Thunderbolt port
● Liquid Retina XDR Display
● LiDAR for improved AR
● Starts at $1,099

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The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is Apple's most premium iPad, which the company built to help users complement a Mac or replace it entirely. Featuring ProMotion and Liquid Retina XDR display technology, Apple wants this model to offer the best tablet experience available for experts and prosumers alike.

The fifth-generation model introduced mini-LED and the M1 processor to the iPad Pro, which is a big jump over the A12Z Bionic.

Despite changes to iPadOS, including cursor support and external storage drive compatibility, the iPad still lacks access to many of Apple's professional software platforms like Logic Pro, Xcode, and Final Cut Pro. The iPad Pro is Apple's vision of the future but still has plenty of minor limitations to iron out before many users can consider it over a MacBook Pro.

With Apple updating the processor to a Mac-class chipset, software enhancements and new professional apps are expected to follow. Expect changes in iPadOS to reflect the new chipset when the new version is announced during WWDC in June.

Design

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro launched in 2015 in an almost comical size class compared to previous iPads. Its large forehead, chin, and Touch ID surrounding the enormous display made for a colossal tablet.

The slimmed-down design of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro greatly changes its physical footprint The slimmed-down design of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro greatly changes its physical footprint

Apple's introduction of edge-to-edge displays in the iPhone X pointed to a future tablet with a similar design. The 2018 iPad Pro's LCD display technology and Face ID allowed the 12.9-inch display size to stay the same, but in a much smaller and thinner device. The latest generations of iPad Pro measure less than a quarter-inch thick, making them the thinnest iPads ever.

The iPad Pro also has flat sides, making it easier to grip. It also allows for the Apple Pencil magnetic charging mount to sit flush on one side. The Smart Connector is now on the iPad Pro's back, along with over 90 magnets. The magnets support cases that snap onto the tablet's rear.

The Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro turns the tablet into a laptop-like computer The Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro turns the tablet into a laptop-like computer

This also means that previous-generation Smart Connector accessories don't work with the latest iPad Pros, and we likely won't see third parties adopt the new design. Accessory companies have resorted to clips, cases, and Bluetooth for their peripherals rather than using the Smart Connector.

Starting with the 2018 models, Apple replaced the Lightning connector with a USB-C port. This standard allows for an easy connection to many accessories without proprietary cables. USB-C was an essential change if Apple was ever to convince professionals to switch to iPad, and iPadOS furthers the port's usefulness. The connector's versatility and ubiquity allow external drives, monitors, cameras, and other USB-C devices to plug into the iPad Pro directly.

The fourth-generation and fifth-generation iPad Pros have a dual-camera system with built-in LiDAR. A 12MP wide-angle and 10MP ultra-wide-angle camera allows for improved photography and depth capture. The camera system uses a similar sensor to those found in the iPhone XR series of phones, falling short of iPhone 11 photo quality. It also lacks Night Mode.

The LiDAR sensor supports 3D environmental mapping, allowing for improved AR. The scanner works from up to 5 meters away and gets results instantly, making AR apps more accurate and easier to use.

The Liquid Retina XDR Display

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a mini-LED backlit display for improved OLED-like contrast The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a mini-LED backlit display for improved OLED-like contrast

Apple's 12.9-inch iPad Pro differs from the 11-inch update using a new display using mini LED technology. Housing 10,000 mini LEDs behind the Liquid Retina XDR display, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro uses considerably more light sources than the 72 LEDs used in the previous model.

The advantage of the technology is similar to the Pro Display XDR's system of local dimming zones, but the iPad Pro goes further still. Using the sheer number of mini LEDs, it has 2,596 local dimming zones, enabling it to have a 1-million-to-1 contrast ratio.

The display can output 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness and 1,600 nits of peak brightness.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a higher resolution than the 11-inch iPad Pro. The 12.9-inch display has 2,732 by 2,048 pixels, giving it a pixel density of 264ppi.

Apart from the addition of mini-LED, the larger iPad Pro has the same display features as the 11-inch model, including ProMotion, True Tone, and P3 wide color support.

The M1 processor

After launching in the late 2020 Mac lineup, the M1 chip arrives on the iPad Pro in 2021 After launching in the late 2020 Mac lineup, the M1 chip arrives on the iPad Pro in 2021

Apple has upgraded the iPad Pro from an A-series processor to an M-series processor. The 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU M1 is present in each of Apple's latest Macs and represents the next-generation in computing. The ramifications for including a Mac processor in the pro tablet hasn't been fully realized and will depend mostly upon what Apple does next with the iPad's software support.

The M1 is 50% faster in CPU performance and 40% faster in GPU performance over the A12Z Bionic. Customers can purchase an iPad Pro with 8GB of RAM when configured with 512GB or less of storage or 16GB of RAM when configured with 1TB or more.

Center Stage

Center Stage uses the new iPad Pro's wider front camera and M1 chip to automatically keep everyone in the frame during video calls Center Stage uses the new iPad Pro's wider front camera and M1 chip to automatically keep everyone in the frame during video calls

The latest iPad Pro models include a feature called Center Stage that uses a new 12MP Ultra Wide front camera that Apple designed for the newest iPad. Center Stage combines the wider field of view with the M1's machine learning capabilities to keep users in the shot even when moving around.

When users move around during a video call, Center Stage pans automatically to keep them in the frame. If others join in, the camera detects them and zooms out smoothly to fit everyone into the frame.

5G

The cellular 2021 iPad Pro models support speedy 5G wireless The cellular 2021 iPad Pro models support speedy 5G wireless

The cellular variants of the 2021 iPad Pro now support 5G wireless connectivity. It joins the iPhone 12 series as the first Apple devices with 5G cellular.

5G speeds are theoretically faster than LTE, although many users won't see much of a real-world difference today.

U.S. variants of the 2021 iPad Pro support millimeter-wave technology, the higher-frequency version of 5G. It can reach speeds as fast as 4Gbps. Apple describes the 5G-equipped iPad Pro as offering "the most 5G bands on any device of its kind" and "the broadest 5G coverage worldwide."

The 2021 models include the Apple SIM, allowing users to sign up for or transfer 5G service without inserting a physical SIM card.

Previous cellular iPad Pro models maxed out at LTE speeds. However, older LTE versions running on the AT&T variant use a misleading "5GE" logo to denote optimized 4G technology.

12.9-inch iPad Pro accessories

Due to the smart connector's location on the current-generation iPad Pro, Apple is the only company with accessories compatible with the connector: the Smart Keyboard and Magic Keyboard. Other keyboards connect over Bluetooth or USB-C, typically attaching to the iPad Pro directly to form a clamshell design.

The latest keyboard from Apple makes the 12.9-inch iPad Pro appear to float The latest keyboard from Apple makes the 12.9-inch iPad Pro appear to float

The second-generation Apple Pencil is the only model that works with the latest iPad Pros. The first-generation Apple Pencil pairs through a Lightning port, which the current models don't have. The second-generation Apple Pencil uses a magnetic mount on the iPad Pro for charging, pairing, and convenience.

The Logitech Crayon also works with the iPad Pros since Apple included the proprietary pairing tech in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

The USB-C port offers various accessory options like external drives, monitors, keyboards, controllers, and hubs. Many devices use this standard, opening the door to iPad owners using accessories they already own. The USB-C port also lets users charge an iPhone via the iPad's battery.

The Magic Keyboard launched in May 2020 with an all-new design. The iPad sits on a magnetic mount, hovering above the keyboard and trackpad. The keyboard works with both the third- and fourth-generation iPad Pro models. A USB-C port in the keyboard's base allows for pass-through charging while the iPad is connected, leaving the iPad's port free for accessories. The keyboard's port does not support data transfer.

The Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro released in 2020 wasn't designed with the new 12.9-inch model in mind. The iPad Pro with mini-LED is 0.5mm thicker, so Apple warns the older Magic Keyboard model may not fit as snugly around the new iPad.

12.9-inch iPad Pro (fourth-generation)  Review

The 2020 refresh of the iPad Pro was more about spec bumps than new features or redesigns. We think the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is still the best tablet you can buy, but maybe hold off on this one if you've already purchased the 2018 iPad Pro.

Apple didn't change much about this iPad — it has a slightly improved processor, LiDAR, and a new ultra-wide camera. It also has Wi-Fi 6, 6GB of RAM, and the base storage is 128GB instead of 64GB. For most users, these changes are not significant and don't warrant an upgrade from the 2018 models.

If you're new to iPad or have one pre-redesign then these are an amazing upgrade. Apple made this hardware release all the more exciting by releasing the Magic Keyboard for iPad and iPadOS 13.4.

The Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro is an amazing accessory that transforms the iPad Pro into a small laptop, complete with a trackpad. The iPadOS 13.4 update brought full-fledged cursor support as well, making this an even more compelling upgrade.

The 2020 model was an iterative update over its 2018 predecessor The 2020 model was an iterative update over its 2018 predecessor

The hardware itself doesn't stand out, however, as the A12Z is just a re-binned A12X. The improved graphics performance, addition of LiDAR processing, and 6GB of RAM are not enough for 2018 iPad Pro owners to upgrade.

That being said, the iPad Pro was already at a sort of performance ceiling for its paired software without the A12Z. App Store games, professional apps, and system functions already ran flawlessly on the older chip generation so the small processor bump may be justified.

The LiDAR scanner provides a unique experience for Augmented Reality applications. This system was a precursor to the iPhone 12 LiDAR and gave developers a chance to develop apps for the platform ahead of time.

LiDAR is a novel feature you'll likely not use on a day-to-day basis, but it is impressive nevertheless. It allows developers to create apps that allow users to place objects in environments without scanning first, and even make use of walls for the first time.

We believe the 2020 iPad Pro is the best iPad yet. While the updates are incremental they add an all-new dimension to the device. While owners of the 2018 model won't need to upgrade new customers will find this to be a worthy purchase.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard may well be the device that replaces your aging laptop. At the very least it will augment your workflows with its portable nature and Apple Pencil support.

Pros

  • Still a great-looking tablet
  • Better graphics, albeit not by much
  • Wi-Fi 6 support
  • Both the 2018 and 2020 will support Magic Keyboard
  • iPadOS 13.4 is a great update for iPads across the board
  • Revamped Measure app is much better
  • LiDAR is a game-changer, but only if you use AR
  • Ultra-wide lens is great for those who need the camera

Cons

  • Incremental update
  • Smart Keyboard Folio still has problems
  • LiDAR has no user-facing app and relies on developers to use
  • No notable speed improvements

12.9-inch iPad Pro Pricing

You can purchase the 12.9-inch iPad Pro in space gray or silver and configure it with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB of storage. These models cost $1,099, $1,199, $1,399, $1,799, $2,199 respectively. Add $130 to the total if you want to add cellular to any model.

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M1 iPad Pro 12.9 inch in Space Gray

M1 iPad Pro 12.9-inch

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Configurations           Discount
Apple Pencil (2nd Gen)
 
$129.00
 
$129.00
 
$124.98
 
$129.00
 
$129.00
$4.02
Apple Magic Keyboard for 12.9" iPad Pro 5th Gen (Black)
 
$349.00
 
place order
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
$349.00
 
pre-order
 
n/a
$14.00
Apple Magic Keyboard for 12.9" iPad Pro 5th Gen (White)
 
$349.00
 
$335.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
$349.00
 
pre-order
 
n/a
$14.00
128GB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi) Space Gray
 
$1,099.00
 
$1,055.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
preorder
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$44.00
128GB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi) Silver
 
$1,099.00
 
$1,055.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
preorder
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$44.00
256GB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi) Space Gray
 
$1,199.00
 
$1,135.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
preorder
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$64.00
256GB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi) Silver
 
$1,199.00
 
$1,135.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
preorder
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$64.00
512GB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi) Space Gray
 
$1,399.00
 
$1,335.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
preorder
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$64.00
512GB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi) Silver
 
$1,399.00
 
$1,335.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
preorder
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$64.00
1TB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi) Space Gray
 
$1,799.00
 
$1,715.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
preorder
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$84.00
1TB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi) Silver
 
$1,799.00
 
$1,715.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
preorder
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$84.00
2TB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi) Space Gray
 
$2,199.00
 
$2,099.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
preorder
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$100.00
2TB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi) Silver
 
$2,199.00
 
$2,099.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
preorder
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$100.00
128GB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi + 5G LTE) Space Gray
 
$1,299.00
 
$1,235.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
preorder
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$64.00
128GB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi + 5G LTE) Silver
 
$1,299.00
 
$1,235.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
sold out
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$64.00
256GB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi + 5G LTE) Space Gray
 
$1,399.00
 
$1,335.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
preorder
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$64.00
256GB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi + 5G LTE) Silver
 
$1,399.00
 
$1,335.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
preorder
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$64.00
512GB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi + 5G LTE) Space Gray
 
$1,599.00
 
$1,515.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
sold out
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$84.00
512GB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi + 5G LTE) Silver
 
$1,599.00
 
$1,515.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
sold out
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$84.00
1TB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi + 5G LTE) Space Gray
 
$1,999.00
 
$1,899.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
sold out
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$100.00
1TB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi + 5G LTE) Silver
 
$1,999.00
 
$1,899.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
sold out
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$100.00
2TB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi + 5G LTE) Space Gray
 
$2,399.00
 
$2,299.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
sold out
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$100.00
2TB 12.9" iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi + 5G LTE) Silver
 
$2,399.00
 
$2,299.00
Coupon Icon Coupon
 
sold out
 
place order
 
sold out
Coupon Icon Coupon
$100.00

 

 

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