Apple last updated the iPad Pro line in April 2021, bringing the M1 processor to the platform for the first time and Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED technology to the 12.9-inch model. Development of the next model is well underway, but when will the new iPad Pro launch, and what design changes, new features and tech specs can we expect?
Reports suggest that an M2 processor is on the way. Other changes could bring a glass back and MagSafe charging. Here’s everything you need to know about a new iPad Pro that could arrive in just a few weeks.
iPad Pro release date: When will the next iPad Pro arrive?
We expect new iPad Pro models to be launched in fall 2022, possibly at an Apple event in October or released as an update to Apple’s website. The iPad Pro doesn’t really have much of a predictable release schedule, but we’re due for an update as it’s been about 18 months between releases. Apple has never gone a full two years between iPad Pro releases:
iPad Pro (5th generation): April 20, 2021 (11-inch and 12.9-inch)
iPad Pro (4th generation): March 18, 2020 (11-inch and 12.9-inch)
iPad Pro (3rd generation): October 30, 2018 (11-inch and 12.9-inch)
iPad Pro (2nd generation): June 5, 2017 (10.5-inch and 12.9-inch)
iPad Pro (1st generation): September 9, 2015 (12.9-inch); March 21, 2016 (9.7-inch)
In March, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman suggested that a fall 2022 launch for a new iPad Pro is likely – he actually predicted a launch between September and November 2022. He claimed it would be the most significant update since the all-screen redesign in 2018.
Logitech seems convinced that two new iPad Pro models are launching soon, accidentally publishing product listing page for Logitech’s Crayon stylus were updated to include compatibility with two new tablets: the “iPad Pro 11-inch (4th gen)” and the “iPad Pro 12.9-inch (6th gen).”
iPad Pro price: How much will the new iPad Pro cost?
If a new larger screened, 14- or 15-inch model is launched then we anticipate a higher price for that model. As for the rest of the iPad Pro line up, we expect pricing will change in the US, but pricing in the UK and elsewhere is likely to be adjusted for inflation.
We can use pricing for the last few generations as a guide. Here’s how the baseline models lined up at launch:
iPad Pro 11-inch (2021): $799/£749
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2021): $1,099/£999
iPad Pro 11-inch (2020): $799/£769
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2020): $999/£969
In previous years you’d have seen equivalent prices for U.K. and U.S., e.g. $999/£999, or even a lower price point for the U.K., but those days seem to be long gone as we saw with the iPhone 14. With that in mind, we think Apple will increase the price in the U.K., so expect the U.K. prices to be either the same as or, more likely, more than the U.S. equivalent.
iPad Pro 2022: Rumors
The iPad Pro had quite a significant redesign in 2018 when it was the first iPad to gain Face ID and a full-screen thanks to smaller bezels and the removal of the Home button. Are more design changes in the pipeline?
Apple always likes to bestow the best of its processor line-up into its pro tablets, which is one of the reasons they are so ridiculously powerful. The iPad Pro was the first iPad to get an M1 chip. However, not long after the iPad Air made the same move. Now Apple needs a new processor for the iPad Pro to set it apart from the iPad Air.
Now that Apple has unveiled its M2 processor for the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro, the new chip will almost certainly make an appearance in the iPad Pro. Expect slightly faster speeds of around 20 percent better than the M1.
Gurman and others have indicated that the new iPad Pro will have a glass back rather than aluminum for the first time. However, there are also suggestions that Apple has dropped plans for a glass back because it would be too fragile. More recent rumors say that only the Apple logo will be made of glass but still support wireless charging.
Wireless charging and MagSafe
Various news outlets, including Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, are reporting that the new iPad Pros will feature glass backs rather than the current aluminium ones. This is to allow the introduction of wireless charging and MagSafe for the first time on the iPad range. There have been other reports though that suggest the glass backs have proved problematic, as they make the iPads more prone to breakages and may also add to the weight. Apple is said to be considering just making the Apple logo glass, which may address some of these issues.
While it’s long been rumored that Apple would like to do away with all ports on its devices, we can’t see this being the time when it happens, as Pro users like to have the option to plug accessories into their devices to expand their capabilities.
Reverse wireless charging
The introduction of wireless charging could also usher in another feature that’s been popular on Android devices for a while: reverse wireless charging. This rumor is much more tentative, but we could see Apple allowing the back of the new iPad Pros to act as a wireless charging pad for devices like the iPhone 14 or AirPods Pro.
Apple has recently introduced some new shades to the Mac line up that could be shared with the iPad Pro. For example, Basic Apple Guy shared a concept design of the iPad Pro in Midnight:
It’s also possible that Apple expands the color line like it did with the iPad mini and iPad Air with Starlight and the iPhone 14’s new Deep Purple color, especially if it switches to glass like the iPhone.
iPad Pro 2024: What is Apple working on for future models?
While this update will likely be a smaller refresh, Apple has bigger things planned for future iPad Pro models.
Liquid Retina XDR for 11-inch iPad Pro
There were early rumors that Apple would equip the new 11-inch iPad Pro with a mini-LED display like its larger sibling. However, this may not happen in 2022: analyst Ross Young tweeted that Apple’s mini-LED products probably won’t launch in 2022, which suggests that the 11-inch iPad Pro won’t be getting a miniLED display until 2023 or 2024.
Kuo followed this up with a clarifier, “More precisely, there may be no new products with the new mini-LED display size in 2022.” So, it looks like the 11-inch iPad Pro will go another generation before the transition to Mini-LED.
A notch in the display
Another rumour posted by 9to5Mac states that Apple has been experimenting with a new design for the iPad Pro that would see the infamous notch come to the platform for the first time. We’ve seen other reports that say Apple is thinking of positioning the cameras on the longer side of the chassis, essentially making them landscape orientated devices. With that move, the notch could become a reality, much as it did with the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro. While those devices get away with it thanks to the menu bar along the top of the screen, it would seem more intrusive on the iPad Pro. With the introduction of the Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14, it’s possible that Apple introduces something similar on the iPad Pro.
Touch ID under display
Fans of Touch ID may be hoping that the technology will make a return to the iPad Pro. Apple is said to have been working on under screen Touch ID for some time but hasn’t introduced the tech in any device. Unfortunately it doesn’t sound like this will make an appearance on the iPad Pro yet—but it may well arrive on the iPad before it arrives on the iPhone.
Display analyst Ross Young shared in the MacRumors Show in July 2022 that he expects under-display Face ID to first arrive on the iPad. However, it won’t be this year: Young suggests that a future iPad Pro would be the first candidate for the technology.
Lighter, OLED, dry etched display
The 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro currently weigh in at 466 grams and 682 grams. If Apple switches from aluminium to glass on the back it could actually increase the weight of the iPad Pro. However, the company is said to be investigating a technology that could mean the iPad Pro can be lighter. According to ET News, Apple is looking into adopting “dry etching,” which is a process that can lead to thinner and lighter displays. This technique, coupled with an OLED screen, is more likely to arrive in the next iPad Pro update in 2023 or 2024.
Giant 14- or 15-inch screen
There is a rumor that Apple will increase the maximum screen size of its iPad range from 12.9-inch to 15-inch. The iPad Pro screen size has been capped at 12.9in since the first iPad Pro launched in 2015.
Sources in the supply chain have indicated that an Apple supplier (BOE) is working on gigantic 15-inch OLED panels that could plausibly end up in an iPad at some point in the future. What’s more, the respected Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman claimed in June 2021 that Apple itself has been testing 14-inch-16-inch iPads, and that devices in such a form factor will “continue to blur the lines between tablet and laptop”. At the time Gurman wrote: “The 12.9in display is far too small for someone accustomed to a 16in MacBook Pro”.
More recently, in July 2022, DSSC analyst Ross Young has claimed that a 14.1-inch iPad Pro is in development at Apple that could launch in early as 2023.
The problem is primarily one of timing. When the report was published in January 2022 BOE was said to still at an early stage of development, and the project is unlikely to yield actual commercial products for another year or two – and may never do so at all, sources say, “due to the difficulty of the technology”.
As for Apple’s own testing, that may be more promising, but bear in mind that the company routinely tests a wide variety of screen sizes for all of its products, just to see if a tweak would help. That doesn’t mean it’s actually going to happen.
We love the idea of a giant iPad Pro just as much as Mark Gurman does. But considering how expensive the 12.9-inch model already is, and how much more commercially successful the company’s cheaper and small alternatives are, it seems like a long shot for a 14- or 15-inch iPad Pro to appear in the near future.
iPad Pro: Further reading
As you can see, there is plenty to be excited about for the next iteration of Apple’s iPad Pros. We’ll be updating this article as more news comes to light, so be sure to check back regularly to see what we find.