iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) vs iPad Pro 12.9 (2020): Is Apple’s latest tablet for you?

As soon as the most effective pill on the market, the iPad Professional 12.9 (2020) has fallen behind ever so barely because of the existence of its youthful sibling, the iPad Professional 12.9 (2021), however does that imply you must overlook it?

That is a difficult query, with a lot of it coming right down to how cheaply you could find the iPad Professional 12.9 (2020) and the way necessary it’s so that you can have the most recent know-how.

Having mentioned that, each of those tablets are nonetheless extremely exceptional transportable units, and greater than competent for the overwhelming majority of what you may must do whereas on the transfer (or at dwelling).

For those who’re struggling to determine which iPad Professional 12.9 is for you, we’re right here to assist out. We have checked out all of the options and specs of each tablets, whereas additionally listening to any design modifications and the rest you may must know earlier than you contemplate shopping for one.

iPad Professional 12.9 vs iPad Professional 12.9 worth and availability 

The Wi-Fi-only iPad Professional 12.9 (2021) begins at $1,099 / £999 / AU$1,649 for 128GB of storage. The worth rises to $1,199 / £1,099 / AU$1,799 for 256GB of storage, with as much as 2TB obtainable for a moderately dear $2,199 / £1,999 / AU$three,299.

Alternatively, if you wish to go the mobile 5G route, anticipate to pay a bit extra for the advantages of not having to rely solely on Wi-Fi while you’re out and about. Inventory is definitely obtainable, each through Apple immediately, and at many alternative on-line and bricks-and-mortar retailers.

Shopping for the iPad Professional 12.9 (2020) is a trickier proposition. That is as a result of Apple not sells it, sticking with the newer mannequin as an alternative.

Nonetheless, that does imply you could find it at a substantial low cost at varied third-party retailers, offering you do not thoughts purchasing round or doubtlessly shopping for a refurbished mannequin. The iPad Professional 12.9 (2020) is just obtainable with between 128GB of storage and 1TB, with Wi-Fi or mobile LTE an possibility.

The worth formally begins at $999 / £969 / AU$1,649, rising to $1499 / £1,469 / AU$2,499 for 1TB, and extra if you’d like mobile connectivity, however once more, in apply it is typically so much cheaper.

An iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) stood on a table in portrait orientation

Each slates are dear however the 2021 mannequin is extra so (Picture credit score: TechRadar)


The iPad Professional 12.9 (2021) and iPad Professional 12.9 (2020) are close to equivalent by way of dimensions. They each provide the identical peak of 280.6mm and width of 214.9mm, with the one discernible distinction being that the iPad Professional 12.9 (2021) is barely deeper at 6.4mm in comparison with the iPad Professional 12.9 (2020)’s 5.9mm. In common use, you may by no means discover the distinction.

Weight smart, the iPad Professional 12.9 (2021) is barely heavier at 682g for the Wi-Fi mannequin in comparison with the iPad Professional 12.9 (2020)’s 641g, with 2g in it between the mobile fashions however once more, that is removed from a deal-breaker for anybody.

An iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) face down on a table

These two slates look similar to one another (Picture credit score: TechRadar)

Apple has performed it secure with each tablets so anticipate an aluminum rear and body for each fashions too, and each have glass fronts which are crying out for a case to guard it.

Different design selections are predictably comparable with each tablets providing quad audio system and all of the related ports on the backside of the units.

Silver and House Gray are your solely choices if you happen to’re eager on expressing your self with a unique coloration palette.


On the display entrance, extra issues have modified within the house of a 12 months, however maybe nonetheless not fairly as a lot as you may hope.

Each tablets sport 12.9-inch shows with True Tone (which adjusts the colour temperature based mostly in your environment), however the iPad Professional 12.9 (2021) has a Mini LED show, which improves the brightness and picture high quality over the 2020 mannequin’s LCD show.

The brand new mannequin has a peak brightness of 1,600 nits in comparison with simply 600 on the iPad Professional 2020, however actually, that is probably one thing that few customers will ever really want.

An iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) displaying a photo

The iPad Professional 12.9 (2021) has a lovely Mini LED display (Picture credit score: TechRadar)

Elsewhere, each tablets provide resolutions of 2048 x 2732 for round 265 pixels per inch.

One constantly helpful function is that each the iPad Professional 12.9 (2021) and iPad Professional 12.9 (2020) have 120Hz refresh charges, that are nice for shopping on-line easily or gaming at pace. It is one thing you may quickly surprise the way you lived with out, particularly mixed with the glossy smoothness of iPadOS as commonplace.

Digital camera and battery

Digital camera-wise, you are in all probability not shopping for a pill for its picture taking talents. Fortunately, each the iPad Professional 12.9 (2021) and iPad Professional 12.9 (2020) are moderately competent for these uncommon instances you do must take some snaps.

They each provide 12MP large and 10MP ultra-wide cameras with an ƒ/1.eight aperture for the large and an ƒ/2.four aperture for the ultra-wide lens.

So, what is the distinction? Not a lot. The iPad Professional 12.9 (2021) has Sensible HDR three in comparison with the iPad Professional 12.9 (2020)’s Sensible HDR software program (which makes use of HDR coupled with machine studying to seize higher photographs), however we’re speaking very incremental modifications right here.

A close-up of the cameras on the iPad Pro 12.9 (2020)

The iPad Professional 12.9 (2020) has comparable rear cameras to the 2021 mannequin (Picture credit score: Future)

Each tablets can report 4K video at 24 to 60fps, with the iPad Professional 12.9 (2021) having the sting with prolonged dynamic vary for video as much as 30fps.

The iPad Professional 12.9 (2021) additionally advantages from a 12MP ultra-wide entrance digicam and the moderately neat Middle Stage function, which permits the digicam to ‘observe’ you round a room when taking video calls. The 2020 mannequin lacks this, and has a extra standard 7MP selfie snapper.

Battery life is kind of equivalent for these tablets too with as much as 10 hours of shopping or watching video, or as much as 9 hours when utilizing mobile. In addition they each help 18W charging.

Specs and options

Up till this level, the iPad Professional 12.9 (2021) and iPad Professional 12.9 (2020) look like remarkably comparable, which could make you surprise why it is value paying extra for the most recent mannequin. The largest distinction is in terms of the 2 tablets’ core specs, and that is additionally the place the iPad Professional 12.9 (2021) finally ends up mild years forward of all competitors.

That is as a result of it makes use of the Apple M1 chipset that we have seen in Apple laptops and desktop techniques. It is improbable. Whereas a typical iPad consumer may not discover it throughout on a regular basis duties, it turns the iPad Professional 12.9 (2021) right into a powerhouse of a system for these trying to make music, edit video, or carry out different power-intensive duties.

For those who solely plan on shopping and streaming content material, it is pointless, however for these with greater plans, it merely soars.

An iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) with a keyboard attached

The iPad Professional 12.9 (2021) packs in much more energy (Picture credit score: TechRadar)

That is to not say that the iPad Professional 12.9 (2020)’s A12Z Bionic chipset is a slouch. It is improbable when in comparison with just about all different competitors together with the finest Android pill – the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus – even when it might probably’t evaluate with the iPad Professional 12.9 (2021).

You additionally get extra RAM with the newer mannequin, at both 8GB or 16GB, whereas the iPad Professional 12.9 (2020) comes with simply 6GB.

Elsewhere, it is value noting that if you happen to want 5G connectivity, you may want the iPad Professional 12.9 (2021), because the older mannequin solely helps 4G. Additionally, if storage wants are essential, neither pill presents microSD help, so you may must plan forward.

It is potential to purchase the iPad Professional 12.9 (2021) with from 128GB to a whopping 2TB of storage relying in your funds, whereas the iPad Professional 12.9 (2020) solely goes as much as 1TB. That is nonetheless mighty spectacular, however if you happen to want that further storage, you want the iPad Professional 12.9 (2021).

Each provide USB-C connectors, with the iPad Professional 12.9-inch (2021) providing help for Thunderbolt/USB four. There is no concern with accent compatibility both, with each tablets appropriate with the Apple Pencil (2nd technology), Magic Keyboard and Sensible Keyboard Folio.

An iPad Pro 12.9 (2020) displaying the TechRadar home page

The older slate stays an ideal purchase (Picture credit score: Future)


For a lot of customers, there’s not a lot distinction between the iPad Professional 12.9 (2021) and the iPad Professional 12.9 (2020). Each tablets provide close to equivalent designs, screens, cameras, and different options.

Nonetheless, the place issues get rather more completely different is in terms of the pace of the units. The iPad Professional 12.9 (2020) is greater than adequate for a lot of customers, however if you’d like the quickest machine on the market then you definately’ll want the iPad Professional 12.9 (2021). It could actually act as a laptop computer because of having as a lot energy as a MacBook, and it might probably do mainly every thing you would need from video modifying to music creation.

For those who merely want a daily pill although, the iPad Professional 12.9 (2021) is whole overkill and the iPad Professional 12.9 (2020) could also be a extra tempting center floor because of nice reductions obtainable as a consequence of it being an older machine.

For traditional net shopping, streaming, and common pill use, the iPad Professional 12.9 (2020) will greater than go well with, however relying in your funds, chances are you’ll be higher off going a bit decrease and choosing an iPad Air four (2020) as an alternative.

As is usually the way in which with know-how, all of it comes right down to how a lot pace and having the most recent gadget issues to you.