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2021 11-inch iPad Pro: Here’s why it’s lacking the mini-LED display

By Nadeem Sarwar May 21, 2021, 4:20 pm
ipad pro display

The new iPad Pro launched earlier this year by Apple introduced some key upgrades such as 5G, Thunderbolt port, and of course, the powerful M1 chip that also ticks at the heart of recent Mac hardware. However, one major upgrade that is exclusive to the larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the mini-LED display, or Liquid Retina XDR display in Apple lingo. Wondering why?

Well, the reason has more to do with day-to-day usability aspect rather than some mind-bending technical limitations with fitting a mini-LED display in a smaller chassis. Scott Broderick from Apple’s iPad Product Marketing team recently sat for an interview (via MacRumors) and revealed that the company nixed a mini-LED display for the 11-inch iPad Pro to retain its thin-and-light appeal.


“What we know about the 11-inch user is that they just love bringing a super powerful iPad with them in a portable one-pound design. They just love the form factor of that. Whereas the user who is embracing the 12.9-inch display, they were looking for the largest canvas to do their most creative work on that product, and that made sense to bring that XDR technology to the 12.9-inch display for the iPad Pro,” Broderick said.

The target audience of 11-inch iPad Pro prefers it small and light

In other words, Apple had to keep the weight in check when it comes to the smaller 11-inch iPad Pro because its target audience prefers the portable and light-weight form factor. The larger 12.9-inch model is favored by folks who push its limits with demanding tasks and want the best from its screen for creative work.

And that’s where the benefits of a mini-LED display on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro outweigh aspects such as a slight gain in weight. While Apple’s decision does make some sense, the reception of its new iPad Pro points towards an interesting observation. From the early reviews that we’ve come across so far, the biggest highlight of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is its beautiful Retina XDR display.

Yes, the machine is plenty powerful. Thunderbolt port and 5G are useful additions too, but these are present on both the models and won’t enhance the overall user experience to the same magnitude as a noticeably better display for a section of buyers. Taking that into consideration, the 11-inch iPad Pro appears to have missed out on one key upgrade that its 12.9-inch sibling is winning laurels from all directions, and that is something buyers will definitely ponder about before dropping a minimum of $800 for the smaller 2021 iPad Pro refresh.

View 11-inch iPad Pro (2021) at Best Buy

View 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2021) at Best Buy


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