iPad Pro: Apple’s new M1 tablet almost becomes a Mac


Apple’s latest iPad Pro uses the same processors as Macs. The convergence is here.

Apple / screenshot by Sarah Tew / CNET

This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple’s headquarters.

You’re home. You grab a computer. You work from home. What do you use? Based on my house it is available. For Apple, the comparison continues to change: between Macs and iPads, there are two versatile but different platforms. But they now share the same processor: The M1 slide of the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, Mac Mini and new 24 inch iMac is also in the new iPad Pro, as shown on the Apple Spring Event Tuesday.

It sounds like a big leap to the iPad as a computer with full power, much like I expected for years, but in reality the iPad Pro was already at that level with its previous processor. What holds the iPad Pro back is the software, which also limits how external devices such as monitors and external storage can be used. The latest iPad pros sound like incredibly powerful racing cars. But it is also so praised.

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Apple’s 2021 iPad Pro is an M1 machine: let’s talk about …


M1 promises even more speed gain

The 50% and 40% increase the CPU and graphics power, respectively, for the new M1 chip compared to the A12Z processor on the 2020 iPad Pro, sounds great, but what does it mean? It depends on the applications used. The iPad pros want to merge it further rear member sensor, which uses a variety of lasers to explore 3D spaces with its cameras. Much like the recent iPhone 12 Pro, expect these iPads to be even better with augmented reality and 3D scanning.


The iPad Pro still works with the Magic Keyboard, but expects more accessories via Thunderbolt.

Apple / screenshot by Sarah Tew / CNET

Thunderbolt port means more accessories

The identical USB-C port on the iPad Pro is now USB-4 and Thunderbolt-compatible, enabling faster accessories and storage, and possible compatibility with a wide range of Thunderbolt docks and dongles. Think of Kensington’s recent StudioDock for iPad Pro, but maybe even more. Apple also promises that the iPad Pro will Pro shows XDR. It depends on apps that enable display outputs, which not all iPadOS apps do. Or it strongly suggests that Apple will enable multidisplay support in iPadOS during its upcoming WWDC event.


The mini-LED technology on the larger iPad Pro promises much better brightness and contrast.

Apple / screenshot by Sarah Tew / CNET

The increased performance only comes with the 12.9-inch model

Apple makes great demands on its quality mini-LED based Liquid Retina XDR screen, which has thousands of small LEDs for more localized backlight control and enables greater brightness and contrast ratios. The new screen is only available on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and at a cost: the entry-level version is $ 1,099 (£ 999, AU $ 1,649), and it contains only 128 GB of storage.

Read more: Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a Liquid Retina XDR screen with striking specifications

5G is here but it will cost you

I do not use cell phones on iPads, mostly because I only connect to my phone. But this 5G-enabled iPad pros break new ground, which are Apple’s first non-mobile 5G devices. However, just adding 5G capability costs $ 200. You still have to pay for service every month.

Read more: Apple gives iPad Pro a 5G option, though the shipping plans cost you


Center Stage will follow faces in video chat, just like the Facebook portal.

Apple / screenshot by Sarah Tew / CNET

A new front-facing camera promises better video calling

A new wide-angle camera introduces a digital zoom feature that is taken into account by the face and Apple calls Center Stage. Much like Facebook’s portal, the camera follows whoever is talking, even several people, and zooms in to frame it. The feature should work in different apps, but it is not necessarily the solution for direct eye contact on iPads. These new iPad pros still have their cameras on the shorter side, instead of on the long edge, and so chat in landscape mode (which I usually do, since I use a keyboard case that connects that way), sometimes means that I do not directly look at the camera. Will the new iPad Pro fix this problem? We’ll see when I go to test it, but Center Stage still sounds like a welcome feature.

Price: much further than most people would like

These iPad Pros are clearly, clearly not for people without a lot of money. As in, at least $ 1,000. The entry-level 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $ 799 (£ 749, AU $ 1,199), and it’s only for 128 GB storage. Bump it up a bit and get an accessory (a Magic Keyboard or an Apple Pencil), and you’s well over $ 1,000. Prices are rising even further: a new 2TB storage option, plus 5G, means the 12.9-inch iPad Pro comes out at $ 2,399 without a single accessory. It is very.

Apple’s entry iPads is still in the $ 300 range, which means that the price range for iPads is now thousands of dollars. If you consider the iPad as your all-in-one production tool, which many people do, the cost may be justified. Or if you just like to have a very nice tablet for yourself.

The iPad is extremely versatile and can really be an all-in-one device. But it’s not quite like that for me yet, even after all these years. The iPad Pro does have excellent features (screen, pencil, camera) that Macs do not yet have. The new iPad pros are usually just as expensive as those of 2020. But here and there, you may end up paying more.

I would not expect these iPad benefits to be relevant to every iPad user. But I’m very curious to see how far the new features the products go.

On paper, the iPad Pro looks ready to be the AlternaMac

I want to try the new Pros before I can say if it’s worth it, and still threatening and unknown how far Apple will open iPadOS to make the best use of these machines. But switching to an M1 processor feels more than symbolic.

The iPad reminder new iMac, who share the same processor, feels like a spiritual cousin. Maybe iPads are really ready to be part of the same computer world as Macs. Or Macs are increasingly thriving in iPad areas. Somewhere the two meet. And that meeting point is now the M1.

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Apple launches new M1-powered iPad Pro with 5G