One of the major feature bumps for the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro is its mini-LED display, which Apple calls the Liquid Retina XDR display. And now we learn why the smaller, 11-inch model didn’t get the same feature.
Display engineer Vincent Gu and marketing employee Scott Broderick recently sat down with the Apple Bitz XL podcast, hosted by Brian Tong. The conversation focused primarily on the new M1 iPad Pro lineup, talking about the powerful processor under the hood and the big, beautiful display.
One of the more interesting revelations in the podcast is why the company chose to skip adopting the Liquid Retina XDR display in the 11-inch model. And it comes down to weight, apparently. It sounds like Apple could have adopted the better display technology in the smaller iPad Pro, but that would have made it less portable than in its current iteration.
To dig into that a bit, Apple didn’t want to sacrifice the overall portability of the 11-inch iPad Pro just to adopt the better display technology. For reference, the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro weighs in at 1.5 pounds, and the new 11-inch iPad Pro weighs 1.03 pounds. Broderick says when people pick the 11-inch iPad Pro over the larger model, it’s mostly about portability. Adopting the Liquid Retina XDR display into the smaller model would have made it noticeably heavier, impacting that feature.
Broderick says that the larger iPad Pro is meant to be a canvas to get something done, and not necessarily overt portability. Making sure the larger iPad Pro offers up the best possible display (at the moment) just makes sense, as far as the company is concerned. Sacrificing the smaller iPad Pro’s portability for additional weigh apparently doesn’t make sense to them at this point in time.
The full interview is certainly worth a watch, so check it out when you have some time.
As far as the comments go, I think this is one question they should have avoided, too. The two employees manage to avoid plenty of other questions during the interview, and this probably should have been another one. Apple will likely upgrade the smaller iPad Pro’s display at some point, or some other feature that will make the portable, powerful tablet a bit heavier than it is now. Feels like Apple is shoehorning itself a bit here.
What do you think of Apple’s decision? If you opt for the 11-inch iPad Pro, would you accept a slightly heavier tablet in favor of a significantly upgraded display?