2023 is unlikely to bring any new iPad Pro; the current devices are from October 2022. In 2024, however, the iPad Pro faces a big change – is it worth waiting for? The iPad Pro, in both 11-inch and 12.9-inch versions, is Apple’s top product in the tablet segment and, with its M2 chips, even competes with laptops – even those from the company.
Hobby and professional creative people value the iPad Pro, particularly because of the Apple Pencil, which has learned new tricks with the M2 chip, and because of the Magic Keyboard, which can be quickly plugged in and unplugged again. Apple last updated the iPad Pro in October 2022, although there were hardly any improvements compared to the predecessor from spring 2021 because that was quite good. But the current iPad Pro has it all:
- M2 chip
- WiFi 6E
- Liquid Retina Display (11-inch model)
- Liquid Retina XDR display (with mini-LED technology, 12.9″ model)
- Compatible with Apple Pencil 2nd Gen & Magic Keyboard
- Pro camera system
- Face ID
- Four speaker audio
- Five studio-quality microphones for calls, video and audio recording
- Storage up to 2TB
- Thunderbolt / USB 4
iPad Pro 2024: OLED Instead Of Mini-LED
Most recently, Apple updated the iPad Pro every 18 months. There is little reason not to deviate from this scheme. New versions shouldn’t be available again until spring 2024 – 2023 could pass completely without new iPads if Apple doesn’t update the entry-level device again after a year.
The main innovation is, therefore, an OLED display, as has been known from the iPhone and the Apple Watch for some time. OLED leads to even higher contrasts with lower energy consumption than the mini-LED currently installed in the iPad Pro 12.9″, but it is not as easy to produce in the required sizes. It is conceivable that Apple OLED will be reserved for the larger and more expensive models; the 11-inch iPad Pro could switch from LCD to mini-LED.
More And More Evidence – And A Higher Price
LG has developed a new etching technique for the future iPad Pro OLED screen. The glass substrate is etched and cut into cell units simultaneously, making the display thinner overall. Samsung is also working on such a technology, but the solutions will hardly be ready for the market before 2024.
Apple may continue to use technology with two OLED layers between which an LTPO-TFT is installed, i.e. a thin-film transistor made of low-temperature polycrystalline oxide. This could enable refresh rates of up to 1 Hz – known from the iPhone 14 Pro (Max). This is the only way to implement an always-on display, which would be a useful and attractive innovation for an iPad Pro.
Current Best Price: iPad Pro 11 Inch
Design: What Could Change – And What Couldn’t
However, it should not stop with the switch from LCD and mini-LED to OLED. According to Gurman, Apple wants to change the general design again, but that’s overdue. There is only some vague information about this. The iPad Pro last had a significant redesign in 2018: Back then, it was the first iPad with Face ID and a full screen thanks to smaller bezels and the removal of the Home button. Meanwhile, the iPad Air, iPad Mini and the iPad from the 10th generation also come in this design, but not with Face ID, but with a Touch ID in the side power button.
Glass Back For Wireless Charging
Viewed from the front, the iPad Pro remains almost the same as before. According to speculation, the new models from 2024 will have a glass back instead of the current aluminum, which will also allow iPads to be charged wirelessly for the first time. Considering the technology is already available in iPhones, it’s logical that it will also find its way into Apple’s tablets.
Will it use the standard Qi charging method, or will it go the Magsafe route and use a Magsafe-like charger for wireless charging? It will be interesting if the iPhone 15 should actually enable bidirectional charging from autumn 2023 – because that would also be an option for the iPad Pro from 2024. However, there is evidence that Apple has dropped plans for a glass back because it would be too fragile. Instead, only the Apple logo will probably be made of glass, which Magsafe technology would still allow for.
Apple always likes to equip its Pro tablets with the best processors. That’s one of the reasons they’re so incredibly powerful. The iPad Pro was the first to get an M1 chip; soon after, the iPad Air made the same move. In autumn 2022, the M2 found its way into the iPad Pro.
This means slightly better performance with lower power consumption, and the Apple Pencil masters a new trick: you no longer have to place the pen on the glass; you can also let it hover just above it to perform a few actions. However, the next generation of chips, the M3, should bring a clearer leap in performance. Apple’s supplier TSMC will likely manufacture these using the 3 nm process. The first Macs with M3 could appear at the end of 2023 or as early as spring 2024.
iPad Pro: Dynamic Island Is More For The iPhone
The Dynamic Island in iPhone 14 Pro replaces the notch at the top of the screen, turning it into an area where information can be presented in various ways. It’s not the ultimate wisdom; the front camera and the infrared sensors need space – they can’t work through the screen yet. Since the Macbooks Pro with M1 Max/Pro in 14 and 16 inches, which Apple released in October 2021, the Macbook has also had a notch. Apple has thinned the frame to the left and right of it, increasing the screen real estate. It’s a pity that this camera housing didn’t immediately become a Dynamic Island.
Is that something for future iPad Pro? There is no need for a notch or dynamic island since the Face ID and front camera have enough space in the housing frame. In addition, the iPad can be used in portrait and landscape formats. Such a solution would be very annoying in at least one view, at least more than on a Macbook with a fixed orientation. In the next iPad generations, the front camera, including Face ID, could change from shorter to longer, as has already happened with the tenth-generation iPad. Then the Apple Pencil might have to find a new place. Conclusion: It seems unlikely that Apple will soon use Dynamic Island in a different product category than the iPhone – the iPad Pro 2024 should also not get a notch.
Huge 15-Inch Screen
Go for the larger model for more space on the iPad Pro screen. Quite plausible rumors are circulating that Apple will expand the iPad Pro series with an even larger version – and offer 15 inches in addition to 11 inches and 12.9 inches. Supply chain sources have hinted that an Apple supplier (BOE) is working on huge 15-inch OLED panels that could end up in an iPad at some point in the future.
If you urgently need an 11-inch or 12.9-inch iPad Pro in the summer of 2023, go for it. Waiting for the next generation could be worth it, but it will be until at least spring 2024. iPad Pro will not be cheaper, either. At most, an expansion of the current model series to 15 or even 16 inches could be pending this year.