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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Aside from the M1 chip, Apple's 12.9-inch 2021 iPad Pro models have one other standout feature - the new mini-LED display. It's the best ever display used in an iPad, and there's such a stark difference between the mini-LED display and the display of the 2020 iPad Pro that we had to show it off.

The iPad Pro's mini-LED display, which Apple calls Liquid Retina XDR, features more than 10,000 LEDs with 2,500 local dimming zones, allowing for much deeper blacks and higher contrast depending on the content that you're viewing.

As you can see in the video up above, with a black background displayed, the 2020 iPad Pro is more of a dark gray with light bleed from the LEDs, while the M1 iPad Pro essentially has the mini-LEDs turned off thanks to local dimming, resulting in a much darker display that's more of a true black.

The difference is easy to see with an all black background, but the increase in display quality is also noticeable in day to day usage, though the disparity between the two displays is not as stark.

Watching HDR content is a much more immersive experience with the 2021 M1 iPad Pro, and it's a much nicer tablet for editing HDR photos and videos. In fact, you're going to see the most improvement with HDR content.

It's worth noting that some users have complained of a blooming effect caused by the extreme brightness of LEDs. Apple says that the design of the iPad Pro is meant to minimize this, but there are situations where more blooming than expected is visible. Blooming is an unavoidable consequence of local dimming technology. When one zone is lit up and one zone is dimmed for a truer black, the light from the lit zone can bleed over.

Right now, blooming seems to vary somewhat from iPad Pro to iPad Pro, and it's something that bothers some users more than others. It's highly apparent in images and less extreme in person, but it is something to be aware of before making an iPad Pro purchase.

Did you get a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro? Let us know what you think about the Liquid Retina XDR display in the comments below.

Article Link: See the Dramatic Improvement Mini-LED Brings to the M1 iPad Pro's Display


macrumors regular
Jul 21, 2014
The attack on the XDR display's apparent blooming seems to be a coordinated one. If you look at an OLED iPhone's boot screen in the complete darkness, your EYES will see blooming around the Apple logo. Everything about this has been highly exaggerated.


macrumors regular
Jul 6, 2010
Mine is great in daylight. Using at night with the brightness all the way DOWN with Kindle background set to black with white text, watching Netflix, writing in Notes or Dark Mode Home Scteen, the blooming and random square and rectangular shadows darker than the already dark background too distracting FOR ME. I’m returning. Not surprised Apple loosened acceptance criteria from suppliers due to chip shortage (dont want to send back panels that wouldn’t normally cut it), hence the variability, to meet demand and make shareholders happy.


macrumors 6502
May 7, 2017
How often are you going to using a iPad Pro to watch widescreen movies as a example?

Every time I am traveling on a plane, especially since it seems I can only get red eyes back to JFK from the West. I am certainly not leaving my entertainment choices to chance by relying on the Airline's collection. Not to forget the less-than-ideal seat back video screen.


macrumors 68040
Oct 22, 2010
I am expecting some blooming when mine arrives but I hope it won't be too crazy.
My SONY tv has blooming effect and in all honesty, I something feel that it would be better to not have local dimming at all. As having uniform screen is less distracting than having those random patches that show up during a movie.
So in a way, the 2020 looks better because its uniformed and therefore less distracting than the 2021, however, I will see when I get mine and will make a call then.
If there is a tiny blooming than I won't care as ones eyes will create a 'blooming' effect anyway but if its too much then I guess I might have to think hard what to do.

Excited nevertheless. Just little worried about the weight and battery life (read somewhere that it could be annoying)


macrumors 68030
Apr 21, 2010
Yeah, I can't imagine the blooming is all that bad in almost all use cases. I'll take a spin on one in an Apple Store and see how it looks for the way I typically use my iPad and decide from there.


macrumors regular
Apr 25, 2021
The blooming is a non-factor unless you're looking for it in non-practical situations

The Brightness, contrast and blacks on this display are 100% worth upgrading for. In my opinion.
Yeah I can for sure reproduce the blooming and make it look pretty bad, but that's when I have a black background with bright white lines at full brightness in the dark. All of that is stuff I never do.

In a dark room I have the iPad dimmed quite a lot. It's very bright.


macrumors 68000
Oct 5, 2011
San Francisco, California
My iPad Pro 11" fits into my Peak Design 6 litre sling bag, along with my camera and five lenses.

I already have a 13" M1-powered Apple device that requires a backpack - it's called a 'Macbook'.
I bought the 11” iPad Pro this time, and I am also jealous that it doesn’t have the new display. I tried the 12.9” size before and it just wasn’t a fit for me personally holding it as tablet or for easy travel. And that’s ok. Let’s let the 12.9” buyers enjoy their new toy. :)
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