Now that all but one iPhone have transitioned from LCD to OLED, the iPads may be next in line. Or they could be switching to mini-LED displays instead – actually, some rumors from last years claimed that both things are happening.
The rumors claimed that a 12.9” iPad Pro will become the first mini-LED device. Production of the panels should have already started and the tablet is expected in H1 of this year. Others mentioned an iPad Pro with an OLED display coming in H2.
All of that may soon become relevant as CAD-based renders of a 12.9” iPad Pro have surfaced. Of course, there’s no way to tell from the renders if the display is an OLED or a mini-LED panel, but it should be mini-LED if the rumored info is true.
Display type aside, this 2021 model appears almost identical to the current iPad Pro 12.9 (2020) with squared off sides that house quad speakers and a single USB-C port. The other connectivity port is on the back, the three pogo pins for keyboards. The camera looks the same too, with two lenses and a 3D ToF module.
The 11” version of the upcoming iPad Pro leaked in a similar fashion and it too looks like its predecessor from 2020. Apple engineers have managed to shave off a couple of millimeters off the width and height, but the thickness remains the same. The iPad Pro (2021) will measure 245.74 x 176.61 x 5.90 mm.
Notice the recessed area on the right side – this appears to be a TouchID fingerprint reader similar to the one on the iPad Air (2020). A fingerprint reader can be seen in the renders of both tablets.
Not changing the overall design sounds reasonable – the new M1-powered MacBook Air and Pro are very similar to their x86 predecessors in all manners but the chipset (check out the teardown).
Speaking of chipsets, the 2020 iPad Pro used the Apple A12Z, which is now a couple of generations old. It’s still fast though, the Z has double the big CPU cores and double the GPU cores compared to the A12 chipset used in the iPhone XS.
However, an Apple A14Z doesn’t exist. And may not exist at all, given than doubling its big CPU cores and GPU cores would make it very similar to the Apple M1 chip. We haven’t heard anything about an M1-powered iPad, however, so the 2021 Pros may have to settle for the same chipset as the iPhones. Between the chipset and the displays, the next-gen iPad Pros may be the most interesting tablets to launch in 2021.