Apple announces new 12.9-inch iPad Pro with M1 Chip, a Mini-LED display, and 5G connectivity

iPad Hero

Apple today announced a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro at its “Spring Loaded” online event. The new iPad Pro includes a Mini-LED display which is considerably better than the display on the previous iPad Pro, offering better contrast and vibrant colors. Apple calls it Liquid Retina XDR Display. It starts at $1,099 for the WiFi-only model and $1,299 for the WiFi + Cellular model and will ship in two different color options.

It will be available for pre-order starting Friday, April 30, and will begin shipping in the second-half of May.

The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro also ships with 5G connectivity making it the second Apple device to adopt the cellular standard. Apple first debuted 5G with the iPhone 12 lineup.

Apart from 5G connectivity, the new iPad also includes Apple’s latest M1 processor which is the same as the M1 chips within its new Macs that the company released back in November. This makes it a more appealing device for both general users and enthusiasts, considering the kind of performance the new Macs with the M1 chip bring to the table.

The new Mini-LED display improves upon the existing LED display technology by adding smaller backlights in the LED panel which gives manufacturers the ability to squeeze in more backlights in a single panel than ever before. Apple says there are around 10,000 LEDs at the back of the display amassing a peak brightness of 1600 nits.

This setup provides much better contrast with the help of an increased number of local dimming zones thanks to the Mini-LEDs.

Naturally, it also produces better colors and is interestingly less battery-intensive than traditional LED displays.

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iPad Pro Mini-LED display local dimming.

According to Apple:

The new Liquid Retina XDR display includes other advanced technologies that can also be found in the 11-inch iPad Pro, including ProMotion, True Tone, and P3 wide color support, delivering an unmatched mobile cinematic viewing experience for HDR and Dolby Vision content.

The iPad Pro is now also available in a 2TB configuration where the previous model maxed out at 1TB.

Apple is also introducing a new software feature called Center Stage that uses the iPad Pro’s new 12MP wide-angle front camera to virtually track the users’ movements during a video call. This means that when you move during a video call and are still in the range of the iPad’s wide-angle camera, the camera will place your image in the center of the screen.

As for connectivity, Apple is updating the standard USB-C port to support Thunderbolt 4 connectivity. Through that advancement, the new iPad Pro will be able to connect to the Pro Display XDR at full 6K resolution.

Apple also unveiled a new Magic keyboard for the iPad Pro. Okay, it’s essentially the same keyboard, but it’s now available in white and retails at $299.

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Apple’s Magic Keyboard in white.