Apple iPad Professional 11in (2021) Overview

As with many Apple units, the important thing query in regards to the smaller of the brand new iPad Professional vary isn’t ‘is it any good’, it’s ‘who’s it for’? It’s not the iPad for many iPad patrons – that’s arguably the iPad Air – neither is it the cash’s-no-object, final powerhouse of its 12.9-inch sister.

As an alternative, the 11-inch iPad Professional is for many who can’t sit nonetheless. It’s what you throw in your bag as you journey round, writing, drawing, creating and/or working – an existence we misplaced for a very long time and are solely beginning to get again. Usually to get this degree of efficiency you’d want a 15-inch laptop computer, however right here it’s in a kind you possibly can overlook you’ve obtained with you, a kind you don’t query about whether or not you must take with you – it’s simply there in your day, tote or purse prepared for if you want it.

Drawing on 2021’s 11-inch iPad Professional with the Apple Pencil being examined by illustrator
Leylah Morley. 

Because the title and value suggest, that is aimed toward professionals – or a minimum of financially enthusiastic amateurs – who wish to use it for extra than simply taking part in video games and watching Netflix. It’s for professional artists, creatives or enterprise customers – and for these customers, the iPad Professional alone received’t be sufficient. You’ll both wish to couple it with the Apple Pencil for creating or the Magic Keyboard for working (or each), so that you’ll must issue that into the value.

With out these, the iPad Professional is sort of a automotive engine with out a chassis – it’s clearly highly effective however you possibly can’t really go wherever with it.

Design and Construct

By itself, the iPad Professional is as glossy and classy as you’d count on. The digital camera stands out the again, however you possibly can nonetheless fortunately sort or draw with it flat on a desk. The silver industrial design of the perimeters isn’t as cool because it as soon as was, however it’s sensible with well-place buttons, USB-C for charging and connecting equipment and a magnetic strip on the high to carry your Pencil whereas it wi-fi costs.

The Pencil is a superbly balanced and weighted stylus – mild sufficient to make use of for lengthy durations however closely sufficient to make marks exactly. It’s degree of strain and tilt sensitivity is virtually pretty much as good as something Wacom tablets can ship. There’s additionally a tapable button on the highest that works effectively to rapidly change instruments in apps from Photoshop to Notes.

The Magic Keyboard is equally effectively designed: the iPad Professional clips magnetically to it, with a level of tilt adjustment. From the entrance, the iPad display seems to levitate in entrance of you, whereas beneath your fingers is the most effective keyboard I’ve ever used outdoors of a 15-inch laptop computer or standalone desktop unit. It’s responsive and there’s a very good quantity of journey, with the touchscreen simply in attain to rapidly faucet and pull and push. Lots of Apple’s apps – and others – put controls and menus on the backside of the display, the place you possibly can rapidly faucet to make contextual alternatives the place mere keyboard shortcuts received’t suffice (resembling which phrase you meant if you went on spelling safari, writing saffoce as an alternative of suffice).

The touchpad is titchy, however I not often use it – favouring the pill display as an alternative. The opposite oddly unuseful characteristic is the keyboard’s personal USB-C port. Sure, plugging your energy lead into it’s sleeker as your cable runs alongside your desk/desk quite than hanging off the best fringe of the panorama iPad – nevertheless it costs extra slowly that approach. Possibly Apple has some concept that I’ll be working away on my iPad-as-a-laptop on a desk more often than not, briefly pulling it off the Magic Keyboard when inspiration strikes and I must lie down on the couch and sketch my Spring/Summer season 2022 assortment – however I’m extra of a ‘once I plug it in, I would like it to cost ASAP’ kinda particular person. And I believe all of us are.

That is all very beautiful – however is just about precisely what I wrote in regards to the earlier mannequin. What’s new within the 2021 mannequin is what’s sandwiched between display and backplate.


This 12 months’s iPad Professional is the primary to characteristic Apple’s M1 chip, as discovered within the firm’s MacBook 13.3-inch Air and Professional laptops. Utilizing artificial benchmarks, the 2021 iPad Professional was as much as 56% sooner than final 12 months’s 12.9-inch mannequin and 73% sooner than the present iPad Air.

However what does that translate to in actual apps. Sadly, little or no – for now. You’ll see a lot sooner processing as you render video tasks, however that apart you don’t discover a lot distinction between this 12 months’s iPad 11 Professional and the earlier mannequin.

I’m positive we’ll see apps sooner or later that benefit from the M1 chip. The following model of everybody’s favorite digital artwork app Procreate has some pretty-amazing-looking 3D instruments that require the M1’s efficiency – however that’s nonetheless solely a preview with no agency launch date.


The dual-lens rear digital camera is completely acceptable for the issues you must use a rear digital camera on an iPad for: capturing issues to make use of in roughs, notes and sketches, or displaying folks what your cats are as much as throughout FaceTime calls.

The entrance digital camera is far improved – each when it comes to picture high quality and performance. Pictures throughout FaceTime, Zoom and Groups calls are a lot improved. Apple has additionally borrowed a characteristic from Fb’s Portal units, robotically framing pictures round folks – zooming out or in as folks depart or transfer into its area of view. It’s a little bit of a gimmick, however there’s something properly intimate about it zooming into to 1 particular person when others depart, like a pal at a raucous social gathering turning spherical to focus their consideration simply on you.


The easiest way to explain this iPad’s battery life is ‘greater than lengthy sufficient’, which is what you need from a product designed for the grab-and-go way of life. We managed to stream video repeatedly over wifi for 12 hours and 12 minutes and in my day-to-day testing for each inventive creation and enterprise work I by no means discovered the ability proportion dropping low sufficient that I obtained nervous I used to be going to expire of juice.

Day-to-day battery life was additionally for much longer than any laptop computer I’ve examined – which could shock you contemplating the iPad Professional 11’s 28.75Wh battery has round half the capability of even the 13-inch MacBook Professional’s. However then battery life is about effectivity as a lot as capability.


The iPad’s working system is each one among its greatest and worst options. It’s focussed – working greatest if you happen to work in a single utility at a time, with all of your belongings inside that app. Whether or not you’re drawing and portray in Procreate or writing paperwork in Phrase, the combination of contact and Pencil/Keyboard makes creating and manipulating media easy – till you wish to carry issues collectively.

The restricted nature of the iPad’s assist for a key factor of desktop OS’s – drag-&-drop, one thing that outlined MacOS’s attraction within the early days of desktop computing – signifies that pulling collectively disparate parts from textual content and picture you obtained by Groups and e-mail into apps like PowerPoint is way more painful than on desktop.

Now speaking about drag-&-drop for a tool with an 11-inch display might sound ridiculous – however that is about goal. For the iPad Professional to switch a laptop computer, it’s obtained that can assist you work – and if drag-&-drop doesn’t match then another workflow has to switch it. And the iPad Professional simply doesn’t have it.

This will change in iPad OS 15, which is due in subsequent month or so – which introduces a multi-tasking view with correct cut up display layouts. However we’ll reserve judgement on whether or not that is sufficient till we’ve tried it.

There are different locations the place the iPad Professional is missing as a every day enterprise system. You may technically join an iPad to an exterior show, however that simply mirrors your display. And because the iPad has a 3:2 side ratio and your monitor is probably going 16:9 or 16:10, you will have black bars of wasted area down both sides of the display.

That is frustratingly awkward – particularly in order the Sidecar characteristic permits you to plug the iPad Professional right into a Mac and use it as a second, touchscreen show.


The dearth of true exterior monitor assist could be the one characteristic that stops the 11-inch iPad Professional being the laptop computer substitute it may so simply be – but when that doesn’t matter to you otherwise you worth the iPad Professional’s just-get-up-and-go portability. Simply don’t really feel it’s essential improve from final 12 months’s mannequin fairly but.

iPad Professional 11in (2021, M1): Specs

M1 processor
8GB of RAM (with 128GB/256GB/512GB fashions) or 16GB (1TB and 2TB fashions)
128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB of storage
11in Liquid Retina show (2388×1668 at 264ppi), 600 nits, True Tone, Vast Color, Absolutely Laminated, ProMotion
12MP/10MP (f/1.eight and f/2.4) rear-facing cameras, SmartHDR, 2x optical zoom, True Tone Flash, 4K video at 60fps, Slo-mo 1080p at 240fps, Steady autofocus, Cinematic video stabilisation
12MP (f/2.4) TrueDepth front-facing digital camera, 2x optical zoom, Centre Stage, Retina flash, Good HDR Three for images, Portrait modes, Cinematic stabilisation for video, 1080p HD video at 25/30 or 60fps, Animoji & Memoji
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5
USB-C (Thunderbolt/USB 4) port
Face ID
247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm
466g/470g (Wi-Fi/mobile)


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