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Apple iPad Pro 2021 rumor roundup: All we know so far

By Prakhar Khanna March 24, 2021, 7:00 am
12.9-inch iPad Pro size cropped for featured image

Apple is tipped to be working on a successor for the 2020 iPad Pro lineup. It is rumored that the next iPad Pros could be launched as soon as this month, alongside the AirPods Pro and AirTags. While the previous one was an iterative update, this time around it is being touted that Apple will bring a whole new display tech to the tablet segment. The upcoming iPad Pro series is said to feature mini-LED displays, offer better performance, and sport an updated design. Here’s all we know about the iPad Pro 2021 lineup so far.

New Display Tech!

We have been hearing rumors about Apple devices with mini-LED displays for quite some time now. It is tipped that the company will first bring this tech to its iPad Pro lineup. It was first reported in July 2020 when DigiTimes reported that Apple has added Taiwan’s Zhen Ding Technology and Flexium Interconnect to its supply chain to make parts for its future mini-LED iPad Pro and MacBook Pros.


Since then, we have been getting leaks that are reiterating the fact that the iPad Pro 2021 lineup will come with Mini-LED displays.

iPad Pro 2020
iPad Pro 2020

But what is a Mini-LED display, anyway?

Mini-LED is essentially an LCD panel trying to emulate an OLED panel. Here, a large number of Mini LEDs – where each diode measures 0.2mm or less – are used to light up the LCD panel. These also serve as local dimming spots, which offer better control over backlighting rather than a single large local dimming spot.

A mini-LED panel tries to emulate the good traits of an OLED panel but at a lower price tag

Hence, you get deeper blacks, higher brightness, and improved contrast. Hence, a mini-LED panel tries to emulate the good traits of an OLED panel but at a lower price tag. That said, OLEDs still offer a better viewing experience as backlighting is controlled at a pixel level.

More Powerful Than Ever

Another big update that could arrive on the iPad Pro 2021 is a new chipset. According to Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, the next Pro lineup of Apple’s tablets will get a new processor, which could be similar to the M1 Silicon introduced last year on the MacBook Pro 13, MacBook Air, and the Mac mini.

A chipset as powerful as the Apple M1

If this comes true, you are looking at the most powerful tablets in the world. Moreover, this shift could allow Mac interoperability, which means you’d be able to run some macOS apps on the iPadOS.

A new report has found evidence of “A14X” chip in the iOS 14.5 code. The new beta of iOS 14.5 includes references to a GPU from a chip called “13G. “For reference, every Apple chip is referred to internally by a codename, and “13G” is not used by any of the currently available devices. Hence, it is being speculated that the chip is the A14X SoC, a variant of the A14 Bionic chip.

5G connectivity

Apple boarded the 5G train with its iPhone 12 lineup, and it is likely to bring the new connectivity feature to its iPad Pro lineup. According to a report, the iPad Pro 2021 lineup will have 5G mmWave support. The 12.9-inch variant is most likely to come equipped with 5G antennas, and there is a possibility for this technology to extend to the smaller 11-inch model.

ipad air pocketnow

A Thunderbolt port

Apple is rumored to be working on including a Thunderbolt port on its next iPad Pro. As of now, the 2020 iPad Pro employs a USB Type-C port. But how does it matter? It’s important because a Thunderbolt port does everything a USB-C port can do, but a LOT faster. Your file transfer, charging and everything will be speedier. Moreover, it is made for driving high-resolution models and transferring heavy video signals. 

And what about the design?

Apple is prepping to launch two iPad Pro models – 11-inch and 12.9-inch. As per the leaks and rumors, you shouldn’t expect a design overhaul. The Cupertino company might shave off a couple of millimeters, but that’s about it. Both the variants are likely to retain the dual rear camera setup with LED flash, a LiDAR sensor, and a microphone.

iPad Pro 2021

As per previous reports, the 11-inch iPad Pro will come with the same thickness as the current version. However, it might be a bit smaller in overall size. We might also get some audio changes as Apple is rumored to change the internal speaker system, reduce the number of speaker grilles, and relocate them. It could get the same squared-off edges in the 12.9-inch model, but with thinner bezels.

iPad Pro 2021 launch date

We don’t have an official launch date of the iPad Pro 2021 lineup yet. The devices were previously tipped to be launched on March 16, but the rumor was later dismissed. However, the new devices are rumored to launch sometime this month.


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