Learn about pros and cons of choosing the latest-generation iPad Pro 12.9. Maybe the 2020 model is better-suited for your needs.
Do you consider getting the top-shelf iPad this year? Do you hesitate between the 11 and 12.9-inch variant? Do you need the latest generation iPad Pro 12.9 at all?
In this short and brief overview, you will be able to look at the decision from different angles.
I assume that you have decided to go for a larger screen estate, and that it matters to you to have the display that’s almost the size of the 13-inch MacBook Air.
Now, the question is to choose not only the storage & connectivity combination, but the iPad Pro 12.9 generation as well.
iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) at a glance
The 5th-generation iPad Pro 12.9 released in May 2021 is by far the most advanced iPad model ever offered.
▸ It is the only iPad that’s equipped with the mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR. The display sports a breathtaking 1000 nits of full‑screen brightness and 1600 nits of peak brightness, offering 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio.
▸ It is the first iPad ever to sport the revolutionary M1 chip, borrowed from MacBook computers. Compared to previous iPad Pro with A12Z Bionic chip, it offers up to 50% faster CPU performance and up to 40% faster graphics.
▸ It is the first iPad ever to come with Thunderbolt / USB 4. The new port is compatible with USB-C connectors and is the fastest connection ever on the iPad, with up to 40 Gbps bandwidth for wired connections, support for 10Gbps Ethernet, and compatibility with top shelf external displays, including the Pro Display XDR at full 6K resolution.
▸ It comes with 5G cellular connectivity and offers the broadest 5G coverage worldwide. iPad Pro models in the US support millimeter wave, the higher frequency version of 5G, allowing iPad Pro to reach speeds up to 4 Gbps.
▸ All the above benefits have their price. The entry-level version (128 GB of storage, Wi-Fi only) costs $1,099, compared to $999 for the previous-generation model.
iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) prices
• 128 GB / WiFi – $1,099
• 128 GB / WiFi + Cellular – $1,299
• 256 GB / WiFi – $1,199
• 256 GB / WiFi + Cellular – $1,399
• 512 GB / WiFi – $1,399
• 512 GB / WiFi + Cellular – $1,599
• 1 TB / WiFi – $1,799
• 1 TB / WiFi + Cellular – $1,999
• 2 TB / WiFi – $2,199
• 2 TB / WiFi + Cellular – $2,399
Do I need iPad Pro 12.9 released in 2021?
▸ Yes, if you are looking for the ultimate display performance and possibility to work with top-shelf external monitors.
▸ Yes, if you don’t want to sacrifice the speed and performance. The 2021 is the fastest iPad you can get. The ultimate speed is provided by both the M1 chip (and its configuration) and the Thunderbolt port.
▸ Yes, if the wireless connectivity is crucial to you, and you want to get the most of the 5G network.
▸ Yes, if you want to get the best video-call performance available. The 2021 iPad Pro is equipped with 12 MP ultra-wide front camera with Center Stage – a new feature that uses the much larger field of view to recognize and keep users centered in the frame.
▸ No, if you need the large-display iPad Pro with incredible speed and breathtaking display – the 2020 iPad Pro also meets this requirement.
▸ No, if you don’t want to spend extra money on the Magic Keyboard. The 2021 iPad Pro 12.9 is incompatible with the 2020 Magic Keyboard, so if you have one, it won’t fit the new device.
▸ No, if you need an iPad for professional work but don’t use the most performance-intensive apps.
What about the earlier-generation iPad Pro 12.9?
▸ iPad Pro 12.9 (2020) is still one of the fastest tablets in the world, beating other iPads, even the ones released afterwards. The A12Z Bionic chip is still more powerful than most Windows PC laptops.
▸ The 2020 iPad Pro 12.9 comes with the LiDAR Scanner, the feature that measures the distance to surrounding objects up to 5 meters away. The scanner, combined with data from cameras and motion sensors, enables a whole new level of AR experience.
▸ The display – Liquid Retina LED-backlit Multi‑Touch display with ProMotion and True Tone – has the same resolution as the 2021 model (2732 × 2048 px), as well as the same pixel density (264 ppi).
▸ Studio-quality microphones – the 2020 iPad Pro has three built-in microphones, and they offer professional studio quality. You can use them to capture even the quietest sounds and record super clean audio.
▸ The 2020 iPad Pro 12.9 is fully compatible with the 2020 and 2021 Magic Keyboards, including the white version.
▸ You can get the 2020 iPad Pro 12.9 at a reduced price already. The tablet is not available in the Apple online store any longer, but you can find it on Amazon. The prices are on average by $100 lower than list prices, so, for instance, for the $256 version you will pay $999 instead of
▸ The renewed iPad Pro 12.9 (2020 model, 128 GB, Wi-Fi) costs right now $819 on Amazon. It’s $180 less that a regular price of this version. You won’t be able to see such huge price drops on the 2021-generation iPad Pro 12.9.
Keep exploring. Here are other tips and lists for iPad users:
[gu-archive number=5 tag=”ipad”]