This is the new iPad Pro with Apple’s M1 processor and a mini-LED display

Apple is busy today, hosting its spring event and unveiling new products. Of course, as expected, Apple unveiled the newest iteration of the iPad Pro lineup.

At the company’s “Spring Loaded” event, Apple unveiled the new iPad Pro. The device follows the company’s efforts in making its most powerful tablet for the public market. Apple made some key changes where needed, including under the hood, but the new tablets will look familiar at first glance.

But, there’s still plenty to talk about when it comes to new additions.

Like, for example, the iPad Pro now features Apple’s M1 processor. A huge jump in performance comes along with it, of course. Apple improved power efficiency as well, sharing the same fundamental architecture as the A-series processor the iPad Pro used previously.

The CPU performance kicks things off, with an 8-core design in the iPad Pro. That’s a 50% jump in performance over the previous iPad Pro. Up to 75X CPU performance over the original iPad, just for fun. 40% better graphics performance. And games can rock console graphics, and the iPad Pro supports the newest generation of home video game console controllers from Microsoft and Sony as well.

Apple’s other improvements to the M1 processor are all present in the iPad Pro as well, including battery life and efficiency. 2X faster storage access. And a new 2TB storage configuration. That’s up to 60,000 ProRAW photos if you want. Or 220 hours of 4K HDR video content.

iPad Pro also features the USB-C port, and now it supports Thunderbolt for even faster data transfers. That means 4X more bandwidth for wired connections, and opens the doors for new accessories. Including more external displays, super fast external storage, and more.

And, of course, the new iPad Pro lineup features 5G connectivity. That’s up to 4Gbps download speeds in “ideal conditions”.

Upgraded cameras and Center Stage

Apple upgraded the iPad Pro camera system as well, which are still paired with the LiDAR Scanner. Apple is upgrading the Clips app, too, which will use that LiDAR Scanner for more AR-focused features. The new iPad Pro can take better photos in low-light situations as well.

The front TrueDepth camera utilizes Face ID for biometry security. And with work-from-home efforts, the new iPad Pro features an upgraded front camera. It’s now an ultra-wide camera, with a new 12MP sensor. A new feature called Center Stage utilizes machine learning will keep you in the center of the view, even as you move around. The camera will automatically pan to keep you in the shot, and will zoom out when other people join in on your end of the video call.

The mini-LED display

The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro features a change to its display, thanks to folks using High Dynamic Range for editing content and more. According to Apple, it’s bringing the front of screen performance from the Pro Display XDR to the iPad Pro. The Liquid Retina XDR display boasts 1,000 nits of brightness, and 1,600 nits of peak brightness.

To make that happen, Apple had to make some changes to the display itself, because of how thin the tablet is. To get there, Apple changed how the display creates light. The new mini-LED design makes it possible for Apple to reach these goals. There are over 10,000 LEDs that deliver “XDR brightness” in the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Apple says there were just over 70 LEDs in the previous iPad Pro.

Each zone can be dimmed and brightened depending on the content being displayed. A series of thin custom designed optical films and diffusers make it possible to fit in a 6.4mm thin device. Which still delivers “all-day battery life”.

The iPad Pro features support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and others. And the speakers support Dolby Atmos for upgraded audio quality.

The 11-inch iPad Pro features the vast majority of these new changes and upgrades as well. However, the smaller iPad Pro does not feature the improved display.

Apple unveiled a new Magic Keyboard as well, which comes in white, pictured just above.

Pricing and availability

The new iPad Pro starts at $799 for the 11-inch model, and goes up to $1,099 for the 12.9-inch model. It launches in the second half of May.

The other bullet points

Apple made sure to include additional features for the iPad Pro in its announcement today, giving them a few bullet points:

  • The ISP and Neural Engine in M1 unlock even more capability from the pro camera system, bringing support for Smart HDR 3 for the first time to iPad Pro. And in low-light conditions, the ISP and LiDAR Scanner quickly and accurately focus images and videos to capture incredible details from almost no light at all.
  • The Magic Keyboard, which offers a comfortable typing experience with backlit keys, an integrated trackpad, and its floating design, now comes in a gorgeous new White color.
  • iPadOS 14.5, which will be available to iPad customers starting next week, comes with new additions, including expanded language support for Apple Pencil features like Scribble and Smart Selection, new emoji, support for the latest gaming controllers, and the ability to share lyrics and see top songs in cities around the world with Apple Music.