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In April 2021, Apple updated its popular iPad Pro lineup, introducing a faster M1 chip, a Liquid Retina XDR display, a Thunderbolt port, and more, replacing the previous models from March 2020.


Although the 2020 iPad Pro models have now been discontinued by Apple, it is common to find them available at discounted prices with third-party retailers. Some other users who already have the 2020 iPad Pro may also be considering if it is worth the upgrade to the 2021 model.

Should you consider sticking with or purchasing the older iPad Pro to save money, or do you need the latest model? Our guide answers the question of how to decide which of these two iPad Pros is best for you.

Similarities

Being only a year apart, the 2020 iPad Pro has more in common with its 2021 successor than it has in contrast, including key features such as the design and rear camera setup.

  • Industrial design with flat edges.
  • Face ID enabled by TrueDepth camera.
  • Liquid Retina display with 264 ppi, full lamination, oleophobic and anti-reflective coating, P3 Wide Color, and True Tone.
  • ƒ/1.8 12MP Wide and ƒ/2.4 12MP Ultra Wide rear cameras with LiDAR scanner.
  • 2x optical zoom out, 5x digital zoom in, brighter True Tone flash, and Smart HDR 3 for photos.
  • 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps, time-lapse video with stabilization, and audio zoom.
  • TrueDepth front-facing camera with Retina Flash, Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting, Cinematic video stabilization, 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, Animoji, and Memoji.
  • Stereo recording with "studio quality" mics.
  • Four speaker audio.
  • "All-day" 10 hour battery life.
  • Wi‑Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity.
  • USB‑C connector.
  • Compatible with Magic Keyboard, Smart Keyboard Folio, and Apple Pencil (2nd generation).
  • Available in Silver and Space Gray.

Apple's specification breakdown shows that the two iPad Pros share an overwhelming majority of features. Even so, there a number of meaningful differences between the 2020 and 2021 iPad Pros that are worth highlighting, including their display technologies, processors, and front-facing cameras.

Differences


2020 iPad Pro
  • Liquid Retina LED display with 600 nits max brightness (typical).
  • A12Z chip.
  • Neural Engine.
  • 6GB RAM.
  • Storage configurations up to 1TB.
  • ƒ/2.2 7MP TrueDepth camera.
  • Smart HDR for photos.
  • USB-C.
  • 5.9mm thickness.
  • 1.04 pounds / 1.41 pounds.

2021 iPad Pro
  • Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display with 1,000 nits max full-screen brightness. 1,600 nits peak brightness, and HDR (12.9-inch model only).
  • M1 chip.
  • Next-generation Neural Engine.
  • 8GB or 16GB RAM.
  • Storage configurations up to 2TB.
  • ƒ/2.4 12MP TrueDepth camera with Ultra Wide camera, 2x optical zoom out, and Center Stage.
  • Smart HDR 3 for photos.
  • Extended dynamic range for video up to 30 fps.
  • Thunderbolt / USB 4 port.
  • 6.4mm thickness (12.9-inch model only).
  • 1.03 pounds / 1.5 pounds.


Read on for a closer look at each of these aspects, and see what exactly both iPad Pro generations have to offer.

Click here to read more...

Article Link: iPad Pro 2020 vs. iPad Pro 2021 Buyer's Guide
 
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GuruZac

macrumors 68000
Sep 9, 2015
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Honestly, the only thing that remains is the design and rear cameras/LiDAR. Otherwise, a new device inside and out. Whether or not those with 2018/2020 iPad Pro feel it’s worth it to upgrade depends on their usage.
 
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edgonzalez32

Suspended
Jul 21, 2011
653
1,189
I was really considering getting the new one but saw an open box for a 2020 model for a really good price. I figured with me planning on buying an M2 MacBook Pro, I wouldn’t necessarily need an M1 enabled iPad as I just need the iPad to be my secondary device. My MacBook Pro is where I still need the power.
 
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Drogba11

macrumors 6502
Jan 29, 2018
264
626
I only picked up my iPad PRO 2018 256GB model last March for $629 brand new and I think it’s still a beast! Bought the folio keyboard and the pencil 2. Easily my fav gadget, don’t think I’ll need to upgrade any time soon…I’m just a casual user. The specs of the new one look amazing though, especially that screen!
 
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jlocker

macrumors 6502a
Jun 20, 2011
972
1,152
Lake Michigan
I want to see a Mac Mini Pro Tower with a couple of PCI slots, a couple of M.2 slots, at least 4 thunderbolt 4/5 interface ports, ram upgradability, PCI video card slot or at least a working EGPU thunderbolt support. Everything else has a limited shelf life and replacing a computer ever 2 to 3 years is not as appealing to me than doing my own upgrading. Yes, I understand SOC but I think Apple still needs room for external Communications on the chip. Yes locking in hardware on a iPhone and iPad is all fine and dandy but I am still a computer engineer that has the brains to do some upgrading.

Just had to spend $750 on a external thunderbolt 3 4TB SSD because the internal 2TB on the MacBook Pro ran out in a year and a half.
 
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Darth Tulhu

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2019
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It’s never going to replace a laptop until Apple enables it to run a full OS, either virtualized or otherwise. Putting an M1 into fart app machine is like outfitting a trike with a V12.
You mean it's not going to replace a laptop for you.

Plenty of people have put their MacBooks down in lieu of iPads, especially recently.

This new model will only increase the amount of folks who do so, even if it's not everyone who switches.

All that said, it is not Apple's intent to replace a Mac with an iPad. They have different strengths, even if they overlap in several areas.
 
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Juen

macrumors newbie
Jul 25, 2017
7
6
on the apple website it says about the 12,9 iPad Pro 2021:

  • 600 nits max brightness
  • 1000 nits max full-screen brightness;
  • 1600 nits peak brightness (HDR)
So it's the same 600 nits brightness for everyday stuff just like the 11" 2021?
1000 nits for "approved" apps and peak brightness only for a short duration?

Am I wrong?
I need MKBHD reviews hahah
 
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stlredbird

macrumors 6502a
Feb 24, 2009
521
399
Honestly until they make an iPad that can at least run the full Adobe Suite let alone just running full MacOS I don't see needing to upgrade my 2020 model. And even then I only upgraded my gen 1 12.9 for the Ram increase. It still ran everything lightning fast, though the new pencil performance was a nice improvement.
 
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GuruZac

macrumors 68000
Sep 9, 2015
1,675
3,515
You mean it's not going to replace a laptop for you.

Plenty of people have put their MacBooks down in lieu of iPads, especially recently.

This new model will only increase the amount of folks who do so, even if it's not everyone who switches.

All that said, it is not Apple's intent to replace a Mac with an iPad. They have different strengths, even if they overlap in several areas.
Yeah my 2018 12.9/Magic Keyboard combo has replaced my 2017 MBP for just about everything. I still need macOS so still need a laptop/desktop but after school, I’ll easily get by with an iPad Pro 12.9 and Magic Keyboard.
 
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FireFish

macrumors regular
Sep 12, 2007
156
89
While I 'respect the diplomatic process' that you guys hold dear about reporting the new Apple hardware improvements, I wonder if you could (or even if you would) share your true thoughts on the possibilities of other upgrading in this economy.
 
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deebinem

macrumors 6502
May 7, 2017
307
641
Putting an M1 into fart app machine is like outfitting a trike with a V12.
Uhhhh, they kind of already do...

af9f394d-6a10-4592-a5b3-8b2d3053970a.jpeg
 
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Darth Tulhu

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2019
1,396
2,145
Honestly until they make an iPad that can at least run the full Adobe Suite let alone just running full MacOS I don't see needing to upgrade my 2020 model. And even then I only upgraded my gen 1 12.9 for the Ram increase. It still ran everything lightning fast, though the new pencil performance was a nice improvement.
The full macOS running on an iPad is unlikely, but WWDC is around the corner and I don't think Apple put an M1 in an iPad without having a killer app to showcase.

We'll see.
 
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Darth Tulhu

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2019
1,396
2,145
Uhhhh, they kind of already do...

View attachment 1770116
Hahaha.

I think his/her point was that it's overkill to do so, but referring to the iPad as a "fart app" machine is disingenuous at best.

People are using iPad Pros in a very professional capacity and pushing the device to it's limits already in many different computing scenarios, but some people lack imagination and/or still see the iPad as a "big iPod Touch".

I don't see the point in berating a product you don't have faith in when the product you do so still exists.
 
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jcshas

macrumors 6502a
Oct 8, 2003
707
780
It’s never going to replace a laptop until Apple enables it to run a full OS, either virtualized or otherwise. Putting an M1 into fart app machine is like outfitting a trike with a V12.
I agree. Apple needs to take a giant leap forward with iOS for iPad. It’s about 50% of the way there, but I’m holding out to see what they announce at wwdc.
 
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awer25

macrumors 65816
Apr 30, 2011
1,085
289
I don't like their use of "2x Optical Zoom". It's two fixed lenses, and any zoom in between is not optical.
 
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fdanna

macrumors newbie
Jan 19, 2012
16
15
I think it's possible, and likely, that the next iteration of iPadOS will have changes that take advantage of the M1 processing power. I have no inside information, but historically it seems that the iPadOS generally trails the hardware in the update cycle. So you introduce this new model, sales go up, then as they start to slow or plateau, you give people another reason to upgrade with new OS features.
 
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stlredbird

macrumors 6502a
Feb 24, 2009
521
399
The full macOS running on an iPad is unlikely, but WWDC is around the corner and I don't think Apple put an M1 in an iPad without having a killer app to showcase.

We'll see.
Well they have been loading these things up on RAM and really never had any apps that utilized it other than Procreate and possibly some Adobe apps. I just think the pro hardware has never been close to fully utilized. We'll see indeed.
 
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Mr. Dee

macrumors 68040
Dec 4, 2003
3,026
4,753
Jamaica
I still have a 2017 iPad Pro and it does just about everything I need. Apple pumps people up when they show woke 20 somethings editing videos on an iPad with a 6k display connected. But we all know in reality, we are just gonna use this to browse the web and post on Macrumors and social media. We like the potential of what it can do. We might even download and launch LumaFusion just to feel good about ourselves. Our spirit knows deep down a basic iPad 9.7 is more than enough. But yes, we just like nice things.

For those still in impulse buy mode, wait a little bit more and you might think differently.
 
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FightTheFuture

macrumors 68000
Oct 19, 2003
1,583
2,179
that town east of ann arbor
In hindsight, the 2020 model was really not a worthwhile upgrade from 2018 considering what the 2021 updates bring.
I was really considering getting the new one but saw an open box for a 2020 model for a really good price.
This is a good time to check on Amazon warehouse deals for 2020 iPad Pros. Sometimes the disclosures will note that there’s a scratch or imperfection, and it’ll look brand new when shipped.
 
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BigMcGuire

Contributor
Jan 10, 2012
7,323
9,032
the Alpha Quadrant
I still have a 2017 iPad Pro and it does just about everything I need. Apple pumps people up when they show woke 20 somethings editing videos on an iPad with a 6k display connected. But we all know in reality, we are just gonna use this to browse the web and post on Macrumors and social media. We like the potential of what it can do. We might even download and launch LumaFusion just to feel good about ourselves. Our spirit knows deep down a basic iPad 9.7 is more than enough. But yes, we just like nice things.

For those still in impulse buy mode, wait a little bit more and you might think differently.
Yeah, I was going to say... I used a 2018 iPad Pro 11 for years, heavily, until early this year (sold it to family). That was a mistake. I didn't realize how much an iPad 11' was engrained into my workflow/personal usage. After 5 months of trying to live without one, I've decided to come back. But I only use it for a light consumption device and didn't want to spend $1k+.

The 2020 iPad Pros are going for a heavy $150+ discount at Costco. I know professors still using the 10.5 pro daily for class work/presentation work.

I just picked up a 2020 iPad Pro 11 yesterday (256GB for $750).
 
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Darth Tulhu

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2019
1,396
2,145
I still have a 2017 iPad Pro and it does just about everything I need. Apple pumps people up when they show woke 20 somethings editing videos on an iPad with a 6k display connected. But we all know in reality, we are just gonna use this to browse the web and post on Macrumors and social media. We like the potential of what it can do. We might even download and launch LumaFusion just to feel good about ourselves. Our spirit knows deep down a basic iPad 9.7 is more than enough. But yes, we just like nice things.

For those still in impulse buy mode, wait a little bit more and you might think differently.
I think this is limited thinking. Yes, many of us (myself included) will not do any real "pro" work on these.

But I'm typing this on a 10-year-old MacBook Pro.

These new iPads now have the RAM, external connectivity, and horsepower to take whatever I throw at them for the next 10 years, if the last 10 are any indication.

My need for a Mac is now obsolete, because Apple has addressed my biggest one: hardware longevity.
 
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