Apple will hold a special event on Tuesday, April 20, and we’re expecting iPad Pro models to be on the agenda. The 2021 iPad Pro is widely expected to adopt 5G connectivity for the first time in Apple’s tablets, after the company introduced it in iPhone late last year. The event – with the tagline “Spring Loaded” – could also bring with it AirTags, Apple’s long-rumored trackers.
It’s been a little over a year since Apple launched the iPad Pro 4th generation. That update dropped in the new A12Z processor and upgraded the storage to 128GB at a minimum; it also reworked the camera, and baked in Apple’s LiDAR scanner camera too. Finally, it added support for the Magic Keyboard accessory, tapping a trackpad to work with iPadOS’ new cursor controls.
This time around, we’re expecting to see updates that focus on the display. Apple is said to be switching to a mini-LED panel, at least for the larger, 12.9-inch version of the iPad Pro. The screen technology brings with it a bump in brightness along with improvements in contrast.
However it’s not been smooth sailing, at least according to the supply chain. Apple’s manufacturing partners are said to have experienced more issues than predicted in actually making mini-LED panels that meet the Cupertino firm’s exacting standards. As a result, there are suggestions that demand for the iPad Pro 12.9 mini-LED could easily outstrip supplies, at least to begin with.
The smaller, 11-inch iPad Pro is expected to stick with the current LCD panel technology. Both models are believed to upgrade the processor, dropping in what’s been variously referred to as the A14Z or A14X chipset. That’s said to have power on a par with Apple’s M1, the first of the Apple Silicon SoCs to be used in Mac models.
It won’t be the only blurring of the lines between the two ranges. Apple is also said to be adding Thunderbolt to the iPad Pro for the first time, upgrading bandwidth compared to the USB-C that the current model offers.
While the two new tablets may be the headline announcement, Apple is also tipped to have some surprises waiting in the wings. One possibility is Apple AirTags, the company’s tracking tags. Long rumored, the Tile-rival has looked all the more imminent with the recent announcement of the Find My Network, with Apple opening up its location services to third-party tracking. That actually includes a tracking dongle from Chipolo, though that won’t ship until later in the year.
Another possibility is a new iPad mini. It’s been even longer since we’ve seen Apple’s smallest iPadOS tablet get refreshed, with the current 5th generation iPad mini launched back in March 2019. Various leaks have suggested potential changes – including even an iPad mini Pro – though we won’t know for sure until April 20. Well, not unless Siri decides to leak a little more in advance.
Apple’s event will be streamed from Apple Park in Cupertino, California, and kicks off at 10am PT (1pm ET).