Apple’s 2021 iPad Pro lineup is a major upgrade over the 2020 lineup. At first glance, the new iPad Pro might not look that different from its predecessor, but there are a lot of improvements to improve the overall experience. Here are all the differences between the 2021 iPad Pro and the 2020 iPad Pro.
Thanks to all the improvements that Apple has made in the 2021 iPad Pro, the device is now one step closer to acting as a full-fledged laptop replacement for many. If you are looking to upgrade from the 2020 iPad Pro to the 2021 iPad Pro and wondering what the differences are between the two models, read below.
Also, check out the best features of the 2021 iPad Pro lineup here.
2021 iPad Pro vs 2020 iPad Pro: What’s the Difference
Design and Display
- 2020 iPad Pro 11-inch – 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm, 471/473gms (Wi-Fi/LTE)
- 2021 iPad Pro 11-inch – 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm, 466/470gms (Wi-Fi/LTE)
There are no differences in the dimensions of the 2021 iPad Pro vs. the 2020 iPad Pro. There’s a slight reduction in weight, but it is too little to be noticeable.
When it comes to the display, there’s no difference in the panels of the 2020 and 2021 11-inch iPad Pro. This means you are still getting an excellent fully laminated Liquid Retina display with a max brightness of 600 nits, ProMotion technology, and Wide color display support.
- 2020 iPad Pro 12.9-inch – 280.6 x 214.9 x 5.9mm, 631/633gms (Wi-Fi/LTE)
- 2021 iPad Pro 12.9-inch – 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4mm, 682/685gms (Wi-Fi/LTE)
The 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro is heavier and thicker (5.9mm vs. 6.4mm) than the 2020 model. This can likely be attributed to it featuring a Liquid Retina XDR display.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro features a Liquid Retina XDR display, which offers a peak brightness of 1,600 nits. It also offers a contrast ratio of 1 million-to-1. This is the same display technology that Apple uses on its Pro Retina XDR display.
The Liquid Retina XDR display on the 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a major step up from the Liquid Retina display of the 2020 iPad Pro.
- 2020 iPad Pro – A12Z Bionic chip, 8-core GPU, Neural Engine, Embedded M12 coprocessor
- 2021 iPad Pro – M1 chip, 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 16-core Neural engine
Apple is using the same M1 chip on the 2021 iPad Pro as on the M1 MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and redesigned iMac. This means the new 2021 iPad Pro is a performance beast, with Apple claiming a 50% boost in CPU performance and a 40% boost in GPU performance.
The 2020 iPad Pro already offered great performance, and with the 2021 iPad Pro lineup, Apple is only taking things to the next level.
RAM and Storage
- 2020 iPad Pro – 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB; 6GB RAM
- 2021 iPad Pro – 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB; 8GB and 16GB unified memory
Apple is using 2x faster storage on the 2021 iPad Pro. To go along with it, the company is now offering the iPad Pro with up to 2TB of storage. More importantly, Apple has bumped the RAM across the lineup as well.
The iPad Pro variants with up to 512GB storage feature 8GB of unified memory, while the 1TB and 2TB models feature 16GB of unified memory. The 2020 iPad Pro topped out at 6GB RAM. The additional memory will help in memory-intensive applications and editing large photos and videos.
- 2020 iPad Pro – 12MP f/1.8 wide angle, 10MP f/2.4 ultra wide angle, Brighter True Tone flash, 7MP TrueDepth camera, LiDAR scanner
- 2021 iPad Pro – 12MP f/1.8 wide angle, 10MP f/2.4 ultra wide angle, Brighter True Tone flash, Smart HDR 3, 12MP TrueDepth camera, LiDAR scanner
The rear camera setup of the 2021 iPad Pro is similar to the 2020 iPad Pro. However, thanks to the M1 chip, Apple is able to bring Smart HDR 3 to the new iPad which should lead to better dynamic range and details in photos and videos.
More importantly, the 2021 iPad Pro features an ultra-wide 12MP TrueDepth camera on the front. The 122-degree field of view allows for Center Stage, a new feature that automatically tracks you while on a video call. The camera can also automatically zoom out when it detects other people in a frame.
- 2020 iPad Pro – Wi-Fi 6, Speeds up to 1.2Gbps, Supports up to 30 bands
- 2021 iPad Pro – Wi-Fi 6, Speeds up to 1.2Gbps, Supports up to 30 bands, 5G, mmWave 5G in the US, Thunderbolt/USB 4
The 2021 iPad Pro features 5G connectivity allowing it to offer faster download speeds. In the US, Apple sells the iPad Pro with mmWave 5G connectivity, which promises download speeds of up to 4Gbps.
The 2021 iPad Pro features Thunderbolt/USB 4 connectivity. This means the USB-C port on the 2021 iPad Pro has enough bandwidth to support 6K external monitors like the Pro Retina Display XDR. It also supports other Thunderbolt accessories, including high-speed storage devices and more.
Speaker and Microphone
- 2020 iPad Pro – Four speaker audio, five-array microphones
- 2021 iPad Pro – Four speaker audio, five-array microphones
The speaker and microphone system on the 2021 iPad Pro is the same as the 2020 iPad Pro.
- 2020 iPad Pro – Face ID
- 2021 iPad Pro – Face ID
Both generations of the iPad Pro feature Face ID that even works horizontally.
- 2020 iPad Pro – Smart Keyboard Folio, Magic Keyboard, Apple Pencil (2nd gen.)
- 2021 iPad Pro – Smart Keyboard Folio, Magic Keyboard, Apple Pencil (2nd gen.)
The 2021 iPad Pro is compatible with the same set of accessories as the 2020 iPad Pro. This also means that the new white Magic Keyboard with trackpad will also work with the 2020 iPad Pro.
- 2020 iPad Pro – 11-inch iPad Pro: 28.65-watt-hour battery, 12.9-inch iPad Pro: 36.71-watt-hour battery, Up to 10 hours of internet browsing
- 2021 iPad Pro – 11-inch iPad Pro: 28.65-watt-hour battery, 12.9-inch iPad Pro: 40.88-watt-hour battery, Up to 10 hours of internet browsing
Apple’s official battery life figures for the 2020 and 2021 iPad Pro are the same. Both iPads are rated to last for 10 hours on a single charge while on Wi-Fi and up to 9 hours on cellular connectivity. The 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro does feature a bigger battery, but that’s negated by the power-hungry display.
- 2020 iPad Pro – Starts from $799/$999
- 2021 iPad Pro – Starts from $799/$1,099
The 2021 11-inch iPad Pro carries the same price tag as the 2020 model meaning you can get it for $799. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is now slightly more expensive due to the addition of the Liquid Retina XDR display. It is now available for $1,099 making it $100 more expensive than the outgoing model.
The 2021 iPad Pro is a major leap over the 2020 iPad Pro. The faster M1 chip, Thunderbolt support, and improved front camera make it an ideal device for content consumption and attending meetings in this WFH (Work from Home) era. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro with its Liquid Retina XDR display is an even bigger upgrade, especially if you use your iPad Pro for content creation purposes.