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iPad Pro 2021 vs iPad Pro 2020: What’s new and improved?

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  • 4 min read

In its Spring Loaded event, Apple announced the next-gen iPad Pro Series, which is now powered by the M1 chip, as part of the transition to their silicon.

While we know the new tablets pack a lot of power, what other changes has Apple made since last year and are they enough to consider an upgrade? Read this article to find out.

Among other news, the Cupertino-based company also unveiled Air Tags, the next-generation Apple TV 4K with a redesigned Siri Remote, Apple Podcast Subscriptions, and Purple colour iPhone 12 and 12 Mini.

Also read: iPad Air 2020 vs iPad Pro 11-inch 2020: Is the 11-inch model worth considering?


While the display played a significant role in modernising the iPad Air, with the new models, you will not notice much of a difference, especially in the case of the 11-inch iPad Pro.

The 2020 models — 11-inch and 12.9-inch — share the same display technology as the smaller 2021 iPad Pro, while the 2021 12.9 inch model implements the heavily rumoured Mini LED display.

The latest 12.9-inch iPad Pro sports 10,000 LEDs in its panel compared to the 72 LEDs present in the other three devices, allowing the display to achieve 2500 local dimming zones, a million-to-one contrast ratio and a peak brightness level of up to 1600 nits.

Also read: How to mute your iPad Pro?


When comparing camera hardware amongst the generations, the rear sensor array remains identical with a 12MP Wide shooter, a 10 MP Ultra-wide and a LIDAR scanner. Although, due to computational photography, one may see better results from the new devices.

While the hardware is similar on the back, the front-facing camera system has changed on the 2021 models, as they now feature a 12MP shooter with a wide field of view — which allows the implementation of the Centre Stage.

This feature uses a wide field of view to capture more information and change the frame of a shot to deal with the movement of a subject within it — whether this wide camera will improve Face ID performance is unknown.

Also read: How to fix the ‘iPhone not sending pictures’ issues?


Talking about processors, this where the iPad Pro series from last year lose ground in front of the new generation since they adapt the M1 chip, known for its high performance to efficiency ratio.

While there is no official metric on how powerful the M1 is over A12Z, the new models will be capable of doing more, provided Apple begins developing software to take advantage of all the available power — looking at you WWDC 2021.

In terms of RAM, while the 2020 series maxed out at 6GB for all storage variants, the 2021 lineup will offer 8GB of RAM if buying a device with 128GB, 256GB or 512GB of internal storage; when getting a tablet with 1TB or 2TB, users will receive an M1 chip with 16GB of on-board memory.

Also read: How to fix the ‘Screen Recording Not Working’ issue on iPhone and iPad?

Other Hardware Changes

Among other changes, the singular USB C port from previous models has been replaced with a single Thunderbolt USB 4 port, connecting to an external display of up to 6K resolution.

The new cellular models also feature 5G connectivity and can achieve claimed download speeds of 3.5Gbps; mmWave versions in the US can reach up to 4Gbps.

Apart from these changes, the devices are pretty identical.

Should you consider an upgrade?

Unless an iPad is your only computer, these new devices are in the region of what one may term overkill. I am still content with the performance by 2018 iPad Pro offers.

So if you already have an iPad Pro or even an iPad Air 2020, an upgrade may be unnecessary unless announcements at this year’s WWDC change the scope of an iPad workflow, which can make use of the extra power available.

Also read: Top 7 accessories that you can use with an iPad

Aryan Surendranath

Aryan Surendranath

Has an interest in technology and video games. When not doing anything related to either of these you will find him with his books, educational or not.