The 2021 iPad Pro offers a deluge of technological improvements

From the outside, the two new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iterations of the iPad Pros introduced today by Apple don’t seem to add much. Still, the 2021 batch of professional tablets brings a horde of novelties, making this the most appealing vintage since the design change. Small tour of the owner.

M1 processor

The first novelty is the eagerly awaited M1 processor, from the Macbook Air and Macbook Pro. The first chip from Apple Silicon, which consists of an in-house SoC based on ARM cores. According to Apple figures, the M1 puts a big blow to the A12Z chip of the iPad Pro 2020. The CPU part of the M1 would be 50% more efficient and the GPU part 40% more powerful than those of the A12Z. Apple even shared a comparison to the A4 chip of the first iPad: the M1’s CPU would be x75 more powerful and its GPU x1500 times more powerful …

Not only does Apple have (again and again) the most powerful tablet, but the company also realizes significant r & d savings in the process since the chip is identical to that of the Macbook Pro / Air, which allows the execution of iOS apps on mac OS devices.

5G mmWave

Still available in a Wi-Fi version and in a “cellular” version, the iPad Pro 2021 are the first to integrate 5G. Again, this is probably a recycling, but this time components of the iPhone 12, namely the 5G modem and mmWave antennas. In the areas covered, this addition could be a real plus for certain business applications – for media and streamers in particular – because 5G provides, in addition to better speed, a more robust and constant connection. What to avoid, we hope, certain jumps of connection during direct.

Thunderbolt 4, 2TB option and controller compatibility

If they recover Macbook Pro / Macbook Air and iPhone 12, the two new iPad Pro will also dig deeper in the world of tech. In terms of connectivity, they are the first iPads to be compatible with the Thunderbolt 4 standard. The interest is enormous since users will be able to connect hard disks and other compatible screens (up to 6K). One more step towards the pros, reinforced by the arrival of a new version with 2 TB of storage. Enough to allow videographers and other photographers to do without their Mac for good?

For gamers, Apple now ensures the compatibility of its tablets with the controllers of the two new generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony, the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. What reinforce the gaming interest of Apple arcade and titles of the ‘App Store.

Center Stage

If the TrueDepth camera is still the same to operate FaceID, the traditional camera module gives way to a brand new ultra wide-angle module. Equipped with a new 12 Mpix sensor – recycled from the iPhone 12? – it offers a very wide angular coverage of 122 ° – very close to the 13 mm equivalent of the iPhone 12 Pro (120 °).

If the field of view is wide, it is on the software side that you have to look for the magic with the Center Stage function. Dedicated to videoconferencing and streaming, it uses the power of the SoC to determine the subject (s) of the scene. If you are alone and moving around, Center Stage will keep the frame on you. If you are still, the function will clamp the frame. If a third party arrives in its scope, Center Stage will widen the field of view. We will have to test the function and see in which applications it is available, but on paper, it’s the big Apple: using the software to make a hardware feature (ultra wide-angle) an asset. And, Apple obliges, with a name which sounds so good that it risks becoming the generic name of this technology which takes full advantage of the M1 ISP. As a reminder, however, there is already a similar function – but less well named – on the connected screens of Facebook (Portal) or Google (Nest Hub Max).

Liquid Retina Display XDR: the Mini-LED for 12.9 ”

If the 11-inch screen does not move, the 12.9-inch iPad 11 Pro receives (finally!) A Mini-LED panel called by Apple “Retina Display XDR”. On the technical side, the 72 backlight LEDs of the previous version are replaced by a network of no less than 10,000 of these very small light-emitting diodes. In addition to local dimming – precise adjustment of the brightness in the areas of the image – incredibly more precise (2596 areas), the Mini-LEDs above all provide backlighting with near precision to OLED. The 5.59 million pixel panel thus displays a contrast of 1,000,000: 1 and a brightness of 1,000 cd / m². With still, in both cases, the refinements of the previous generation – oleophobic treatment, 100% DCI-P3 coverage, 120Hz refresh rate, etc.

More powerful, richer in features and more versatile, the new iPad Pros take the “Pro” side of the force to the next level with numerous enhancements that will affect artists, videographers, designers, architects and other media professionals.

The pre-order of the new iPad Pro will open on April 30th and the availability of the devices is for the course of May.

Prices for versions of the 11-inch iPad (Wi-Fi / 5G versions)

  • 128 GB: € 899 / € 1069
  • 256 GB: 1009 € / 1179 €
  • 512 GB: € 1229 / € 1399
  • 1 TB: € 1,669 / € 1,839
  • 2 TB: € 2,109 / € 2,279

Prices for versions of the 12.9-inch iPad (Wi-Fi / 5G versions)

  • 128 GB: € 1219 / € 1399
  • 256 GB: 1329 € / 1499 €
  • 512 GB: € 1,549 / € 1,719
  • 1 TB: € 1,989 / € 2,159
  • 2 TB: € 2,429 / € 2,599

The white version of the Magic Keyboard for iPad pro 12.9 will be launched at € 399. Its availability was not communicated at the time of this publication.

Read also : Apple TV, AirTags, new iMac, new iPad Pro … The summary of the Apple announcements of April 20, 2021


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