Apple plans biggest iPad Pro update since 2018

by owner

iPad Pro 2022 attached to a Magic Keyboard
Enlarge / The 2022 iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard.

Kevin Purdy

Apple’s iPad Pro is set to get its biggest redesign since 2018, according to a new report. Slated for a launch next year, it will seek to turn around recent years’ slow tablet sales.

The information comes from Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman—as you probably could have guessed by now. Gurman claims to have knowledge of Apple’s plans, stating that the new iPad Pro will have everything from a new chip to a new screen technology, a different design, and a revamped keyboard accessory.

The new chip is obvious—that has been the standard minimum for any new iPad Pro refresh. The current iPad Pro has the M2 chip, and the new one will predictably have the M3 chip. Expect some notable performance gains—not that the M2 was too slow for most people using the iPad Pro already.

Things get a little more interesting beyond the chip upgrade, however. Gurman claims the new iPad Pro will ship with an OLED display, the same tech seen in the excellent screens on iPhones. OLED offers deeper blacks, better contrast, and richer color than the LCD screens currently in Apple’s iPad and MacBook lineups.

Gurman writes that the OLED screens are “crisper and brighter” than LCD screens, which seems odd—crispness is about resolution, which has little to do with the type of screen involved. The iPhone 14 Pro’s OLED screens are substantially brighter than the LCD screens found on most iPads, but the 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s Mini LED screen is about equally as bright as the OLED on an iPhone 14 Pro.

Apple previously brought Mini LED tech to the largest iPad model, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. But even that can’t quite touch a great OLED screen, and it has not been available in any of the smaller tablets Apple sells.

Gurman writes that the new iPad Pro will come in 11- and 13-inch sizes. The current iPad Pro is available in 11.2- and 12.9-inch variants, so you might assume Gurman is just rounding here, but he goes out of his way to note that 13 inches is different from the current 12.9, which suggests a slight redesign.

In the past, Apple has slightly increased screen sizes in its refreshes without changing the device dimensions much by reclaiming space previously taken up by the bezels along the edges. Something closer to a true edge-to-edge screen could explain the 13-inch iPad Pro, but it doesn’t explain why the smaller iPad’s screen would actually get slightly smaller. We’ll have to wait to see how these sizes pan out.

There’s one more change of note in Gurman’s report: the iPad Pro redesign is said to bring with it a major redesign of the Magic Keyboard peripheral. The report claims that “the new accessory makes the iPad Pro look even more like a laptop than the current setup and adds a larger trackpad.” Other than price, the small trackpad was the only major complaint I had about the iPad Pro’s Magic Keyboard when I reviewed it back in 2020, so this redesign could be welcome.

Gurman doesn’t specify whether the new iPads will continue to support the old Magic Keyboard peripheral, though, so that’s something to keep an eye on if you’re thinking about upgrading. $300 is a lot of money to spend on something that won’t work with your next machine, after all.

The new iPad Pro is slated to arrive in the spring or fall of 2024, leaving plenty of breathing room for new iPhone, Watch, and Mac machines through the end of 2023.

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