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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

The new iPad Pro has now replaced the previous model from 2021 in Apple's tablet lineup, but how different are the two successive iPad Pro generations?


In April 2021, Apple unveiled new iPad Pro models, adding the M1 chip, a Thunderbolt port, 8GB or 16GB of RAM, up to 2TB of storage, an upgraded front-facing camera with Center Stage, Smart HDR 3, and extended dynamic range video, as well as a mini-LED display on the 12.9-inch model. These iPad Pro models have now been discontinued by Apple and prices for the devices at third-party resellers are falling. As such, some customers may be weighing up whether to buy the 2021 iPad Pro or the new, 2022 models.

The iPad Pros from 2021 and 2022 share the overwhelming majority of their features, so should you consider buying or sticking with the older model to save money? This breakdown also serves as a way to clearly see all the differences that the new iPad Pro brings to the table.

iPad Pro 2021
  • M1 chip with 8-core, 3.2GHz CPU and 8-core GPU
  • 68.25GB/s memory bandwidth
  • Neural Engine
  • Media engine for hardware-accelerated H.264 and HEVC
  • Video encode and decode engine
  • Image signal processor (ISP)
  • Smart HDR 3
  • Wi‑Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.0

iPad Pro 2022
  • M2 chip with 8-core, 3.49GHz CPU and 10-core GPU
  • 100GB/s memory bandwidth
  • 40 percent faster Neural Engine
  • Media engine for hardware-accelerated H.264, HEVC, ProRes, and ProRes RAW
  • Higher-bandwidth video decode engine
  • Video encode and decode engine
  • ProRes encode and decode engine
  • "New" image signal processor (ISP)
  • Smart HDR 4
  • ProRes video recording up to 4K at 30 fps
  • Wi‑Fi 6E
  • Bluetooth 5.3
  • Apple Pencil hover

Most of the advantages of the new iPad Pro come from the M2 chip, which offers a 15 percent faster CPU and a 35 percent faster GPU. The chip's 16-core Neural Engine can process 40 percent more operations per second, while offering almost double the memory bandwidth to aid multitasking and working with large assets. With a new media engine, the iPad Pro can capture ProRes video for the first time, and encode the footage up to three times faster. While this may be beneficial to some users, very few people have professional workflows that can take advantage of the iPad Pro's power and most prospective customers do not need more than the 2021 model's M1 chip.

Apple Pencil hover provides a new way to interact with the iPad Pro, with the pencil being detected up to 12mm above the display, allowing users to see a preview of their mark before they make it. This makes sketching and illustrating more precise, and text fields and icons automatically expand below the Apple Pencil. While this is likely to be useful to illustrators and Apple Pencil fans, it is unlikely to be a major motivation to buy the latest model.

Overall, the ‌2022 iPad Pro‌ is a very minor upgrade over the 2021 model, with the M2 chip and Apple Pencil hover being the only significant changes, meaning that it is difficult to recommend upgrading. Many 2021 iPad Pro users will likely not be able to justify upgrading to the latest model, but some customers coming from an older version of the iPad Pro could still have good reason to preference the latest models, especially those who need maximum performance and use the Apple Pencil for note taking and illustration heavily. The ‌two iPad Pro models are very similar, so customers who have an older iPad and are looking for an upgrade may prefer to look for a discounted 2021 model.

Article Link: iPad Pro 2021 vs. iPad Pro 2022 Buyer's Guide: Should You Upgrade?
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macrumors 6502
Jul 29, 2019
Stupid question - should you upgrade year-over-year. Of course not.

The real question is should you buy a 2022 iPad Pro at all, if you don't have one or have a much older model iPad. Any USB-C based iPad Pro generally speaking will do what an iPad needs to do for 99% of users.

I haven't had an iPad in years, and planned to buy the new 11" Pro, hoping for more serious updates. What the current gen models compared to the new base iPad tell me is that next year the 11 and 12.9 iPad Pro models will be a significant update. The camera will be moved, likely some screen tech changes etc.

The 2022 iPad Pro's value will tank 12 months from now with these significant changes coming. It's kind of like the iPhone 14 vs. 13 Pro issue. They're the same device, so get a used 13 Pro instead or wait for the 15 which will have USB C and possibly even the dynamic island leaving the notch for the SE.

So - my plan as a new iPad buyer is to get a used 3rd gen 11" Pro at 50-75% of the cost of the 4th gen model and see what happens 12 months from now. Or possibly a used current generation Air.


macrumors 68040
Aug 7, 2013

My goodness a cursor?, Am I reading this right?

I must be missing something. There a LOTS of programs that could use this, but it probably means it has to be implemented, which may be an issue.

I watched this video and indeed there's some kind of cursor, but the video isn't helpful. We shall see. This functionality effectively would double the Pencil's usefulness. It's a significant advancement.
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macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2009
I've been using a 12.9, and have wanted to add an 11" to the mix for more traditional iPad/tablet usage.

Wish I had grabbed the 2021 11" during the education discount + gift card this past summer. Would have saved ~$300 CAD by doing so. Damn.

Love-hate 🍏 relationship

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2021
14" iPad
Under Display True-depth
OLED Technology...

These are the upgrades I'm waiting for and would love to see.

Are you ready to pay the price for it though? And it may not come until 2025 for all we know


Nov 8, 2007
I have two 2018 iPad Pros. They both feel fresh and are very responsive with their A12Z CPUs. While the newer ones have some advantages, iPadOS and iPad software doesn't really harness the extra power. Mini-LED would be nice, but it's not as if the older screen tech sucks - most people wouldn't notice or care.

iPads have always had a long shelf-life and the devices are mature enough that regular upgrades are no longer necessary. A new form factor or extra functionality would pique my interest, but at this point, I really don't know what they could add to make the new one a 'must buy'.
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macrumors 6502
Jul 28, 2007
I do appreciate how this article breaks down the iterative changes year over year but I wish at times MR would do guides like this for users coming from older versions. Not everyone on here upgrades every apple product year over year. What about users coming from 2,3 or 4 gens behind?


macrumors 6502
Apr 24, 2014
My 2017 10.5" iPad Pro can live to fight (at least) another 1.5 years.

Hopefully in this 1.5 years, iPadOS will be able exploit all the amazing power the 10.5 iPad Pro has. 🙄
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macrumors 65816
Feb 4, 2012
I definitely do not recommend upgrading. Personally upgraded from a 2018 iPad Pro 11 inch to the 2021 12.9 inch pro because I wanted the bigger screen and I don’t need a laptop so it’s my “laptop” replacement and it will be plenty powerful for years to come.
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