Apple last updated the iPad Pro line in May 2021, bringing the M1 processor to the platform for the first time and mini-LED technology to the 12.9-inch model, which Apple refers to as Liquid Retina XDR. 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 we could see Apple equip the 11in model with a Retina XDR display like its larger sibling has. Other changes to the screen tech could reduce the weight of the iPad Pro, plus by changing from aluminium to a glass back could enable wireless MagSafe charging. But perhaps the biggest rumor of them all is news that Apple could introduce an iPad Pro with an even larger screen (more on all that below).
In this article we round up all the news and leaks regarding the new iPad Pro for 2022.
iPad Pro release date: When will the next iPad Pro be released?
We expect new iPad Pro models to be launched in fall 2022, probably an event in September (alongside the iPhone 14) or at an October event, although we could be waiting until spring 2023.
In March 2022 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.
However, Apple may wait a little longer to launch the next generation iPad Pro if it intends to equip the 11in model with mini-LED display like its larger sibling. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo tweeted in March 2022 that Apple’s mini-LED products might not launch in 2022, which suggests that the 11-inch iPad Pro won’t be getting a mini-LED until 2023.
Whether this means that the iPad Pro will be delayed until 2023 remains to be seen, but analyst Ross Young’s response indicates he doesn’t think it matters if the 11-inch iPad Pro gets mini-LED.
Kuo followed this up with the 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.
Here’s the past roadmap to use as a guide in predicting when the next model might launch:
iPad Pro (5th generation): May 2021
iPad Pro (4th generation): March 2020
iPad Pro (3rd generation): November 2018
iPad Pro (2nd generation): June 2017
iPad Pro (1st generation): November 2015 and March 2016
iPad Pro price: How much will the new iPad Pro (2022) 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 don’t anticipate that pricing will change in the US, but pricing in the UK and elsewhere is likely to be adjusted for inflation. In previous years you’d have seen equivalent prices for UK and US, e.g. $999/£999, or even a ‘lower’ price point for the UK, but those days seem to be long gone. With that in mind, we think Apple will increase the price tag in the UK, so expect the UK prices to be either the ‘same’ as or, more likely, ‘more than’ the US equivalent.
We can use pricing for the last few generations as our North Star. 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): $999/£969
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2020): $799/£769
iPad Pro design
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?
Giant 15in 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.
Gurman and others have indicated that the new iPad Pro will have a glass back in order to make wireless charging (dubbed MagSafe by Apple) possible. See below for more on MagSafe.
However, there are also suggestions that Apple has dropped plans for a glass back because it would be too fragile. Instead it sounds like only the Apple logo will be glass.
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 leaf to thinner and lighter displays. This technique, coupled with an OLED screen, probably won’t be used until the 2024 iPad Pro though.
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:
2022 iPad Pro specs and features
What surprises has Apple got up its sleeve for the 2022 update? Let’s look at the evidence.
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.
For that reason we think it the M2 will soon make an appearance in the iPad Pro, now that the M2 is being used for the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro there is no reason to delay.
Wireless charging, MagSafe
Various news outlets, including 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 – aka MagSafe – for the first time on the iPad range.
While it’s long been rumoured 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. So wireless charging will be a welcome additional alongside the USB-C port rather than replacing it.
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.
The introduction of wireless charging could also usher in another feature that’s been popular on Android devices for a while – reverse charging. This rumour 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 13 or Apple Watch Series 7.
Liquid Retina for 11-inch iPad Pro
The suggestion that the 11-inch iPad Pro will be granted parity with its larger sibling with the introduction of a mini-LED display seems likely, however, as per Ming Chi Kuo’s tweet above, it is possible that fans will have to wait another year for the arrival of the technology due to cost implications.
This technology is a step up from the normal LED LCD screens, as it allows more control over the contrast, making dark parts of the image even darker, while also boosting the richness of colour and the maximum brightness of 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. Still, it didn’t stop Apple persisting with it on iPhone, so maybe the iPad is the next one to be ‘blessed’.
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. 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 an iPad Pro between 2023 and 2025 will be the first candidate for the technology.
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.