The tiny 2021 iPad Pro price bump, and reasons why

Two new iPad Pro models were revealed on April 20, 2021, one of which had a slight price increase. The smaller of the two devices has the same base price as its predecessor. The larger device, the iPad Pro 12.9, has a price that's approximately $100 higher than its predecessor – but why?

The 12.9-inch display-toting iPad Pro for 2021 is effectively the same size as its predecessor. The iPad Pro 12.9 2021 is the 5th-generation of its name. Compared to the 4th-generation model, it has the same height and width, but a slightly different depth and weight. The depth on the 5th gen is 0.25-inch, while the 4th gen is 0.23-inch. The weight on the 5th gen is 1.5 pounds (Wi-Fi version), and the weight on the Wi-Fi version of the 4th gen model is 1.41 pounds.

This new version comes in all the same internal storage size iterations as its predecessor, but ALSO has a 2TB version (not previously available with earlier models). Both versions work with Apple's Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio accessories, and both work with the 2nd generation Apple Pencil.

The 4th-generation iPad 12.9 had the ability to work with 4G LTE cellular data. The new iPad 12.9 5th-gen has the ability to connect with 5G data. The 4th-gen model had a USB-C connector just like the new model, but the new model has support for Thunderbolt and USB 4.

The 4th-gen iPad Pro 12.9 had a 7MP TrueDepth camera up front. The new model has a 12MP TrueDepth camera system with Ultra Wide and a new feature called Center Stage. With Center Stage, the Ultra Wide camera can "automatically pan to keep you centered in the frame." Center Stage will initially work with FaceTime and "other video conferencing apps."

Based on the information Apple's provided to the public at the moment, it would appear that the back-facing array of cameras and sensors on the iPad 12.9 4th-gen and 5th-gen are identical. Both seem to have the exact same set of features for back-facing camera media capture and augmented reality (with LiDAR).

The 4th gen iPad Pro 12.9 had an A12Z Bionic chip with Neural Engine. The new iPad 12.9 has an M1 chip with "next-generation Neural Engine." Both models have the same size display at 12.9-inches, along with ProMotion technology (120Hz image refresh rate) and True Tone for color. BUT, the new model works with mini-LED tech.

The iPad Pro 12.9 (4th generation) has 72 LEDs in its display panel. With Mini-LED, the iPad Pro 12.9 (5th generation) has over 10,000 LEDs jammed inside, with 2,500 local dimming zones. With a 1-million-to-1 contrast ratio, the new iPad is effectively one of the most extreme HDR content-ready displays in the world today.

The iPad Pro 12.9-inch display model (5th generation) will cost you approximately $1099 USD for the model with Wi-Fi only and 129GB internal storage. If you're looking for the Wi-Fi + Cellular version, you'll be paying at least $1299 USD.

The most extravagant version of the Wi-Fi version of the iPad 12.9 has 2TB internal storage and will cost you approximately $2,199 USD. If you want the most expensive possible version of the iPad Pro 12.9 (5th gen, 2021), you'll need the 2TB internal storage edition with Wi-Fi + Cellular – that'll run you around $2,399 USD.

If you're looking at the new 11-inch iPad Pro, you're not getting the same sort of Mini-LED display as the 12.9-inch 5th-gen version. You're getting the same display as the otherwise most-recent 11-inch iPad Pro – but with a new M1 chip, a new front-facing camera, USB-C with Thunderbolt / USB 4, and 5G.

The pricing of the new 11-inch iPad Pro is the same structure as its predecessor, starting at $799 USD for the Wi-Fi 128GB version. The Wi-Fi + Cellular version of the 11-inch iPad Pro has a starting price of approximately $999 USD.

The new iPad Pro (both models) will be available for order on April 30, 2021. It's suggested by Apple that they'll be available for general sale in the later half of the month of May, 2021.