iPad Pro (2022): All you need to know about the next-gen iPad Pro range

iPad Pro (2022): All you need to know about the next-gen iPad Pro range

Last year’s iPad Pro range brought significant changes to the premium iPad duo. As well as an upgraded Mini-LED display on the 12.9in model, Apple introduced its desktop chipset – the Apple M1 – to the range, allowing the tablets to harness the impressive processing power and battery efficiency usually exclusive to desktops and laptops.

While that’s impressive enough, Apple is hard at work on the next iPad Pro range behind closed doors. We round up all there is to know about the iPad Pro (2022) range right here, including the latest release date rumours and what to expect from the upcoming tablets.

When will the iPad Pro (2022) range be released?

With the iPad Pro (2021) now around a year old, Apple is expected to release an update soon – though not as soon as some might hope.

Going back to the release of the first-gen iPad Pro 11 in 2018, here’s how the iPad Pro release schedule looks:

iPad Pro range (2018): November 2018iPad Pro range (2020): March 2020iPad Pro range (2021): May 2021

As you can see, it’s not quite as clear-cut as the Apple Watch or iPhone, which tend to debut in September every year, but there is a vague first-half-of-the-year schedule over the past few years.

However, it looks like that trend is set to change in 2022, with no mention of the iPad Pro at Apple’s March 2022 event – instead, it focused on the iPad Air 5, iPhone SE 3 and new Mac Studio, with Apple’s Pro range set to take centre stage later in the year. 

Some might’ve hoped that WWDC 2022 would’ve been a candidate – it did announce the new MacBook Air and the M2 chip, after all – but the Pro-level iPads were a no-show. 

Twitter leaker @dylandkt suggested in a now-deleted tweet that the iPad Pro “is coming in the Fall” – or Autumn to those of us in the UK, and Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman backed up this claim months later in March 2022.

Speaking in his Power On! newsletter, Gurman suggests that the launch will take place between September and November this year, mirroring the 16-18 month gap that Apple tends to follow for its Pro releases (aside from the 2021 update, that is!).

He then followed up in late July 2022, claiming that the iPad Pro will be revealed at an event “in September or October”.

Interestingly, a report from Bloomberg suggests that, for the first time ever, the release of iPadOS 16 has been delayed from its usual September release to October. Bloomberg’s sources believe it’s to coincide with the release of new iPad hardware, which is all but confirmed to be the new iPad Pro range, lending more weight to an October reveal.

With all that said, it seems we shouldn’t expect the release of the new iPad Pro range for another couple of months, possibly until October – Apple wouldn’t want to overshadow the release of the iPhone 14, after all.

If you can’t wait that long, take a look at our iPad buying guide to find out which is the best tablet for you right now, and we list the best.

How much will the iPad Pro (2022) range cost?

Much like the release date, there’s no word on possible pricing for the iPad Pro (2022) range, so we’ll reflect on past base pricing to give us a rough idea:

iPad Pro 12.9in (2020): £969/$999iPad Pro 11in (2020): £769/$799iPad Pro 12.9in (2021): £999/$1,099iPad Pro 11in (2021): £749/$799

As you can see, Apple isn’t afraid to tweak the pricing of the iPad Pro range from time to time. While the iPad Pro 11in (2021) is actually £20 cheaper in the UK than its predecessor, the iPad Pro 12.9in model saw a £30/$100 increase this time around – likely due to the upgraded mini-LED display.

The good news is that tipster LeaksApplePro believes the iPad Pro range will come in at a near-identical price this year despite the potential upgrades on offer, with the 11in model starting at $799 and the 12.9in model coming in at a cool $1,099.

We’ll update this section if we hear anything differently.

Latest iPad Pro (2022) design & feature rumours

Apple has spent the past year syncing the design language of its product range, with the
iPad Mini 6 and
iPhone 13 sporting the same industrial, angular look as the iPad Pro range.

With that in mind, we don’t expect Apple to redesign the wheel – or more appropriately, the iPad Pro – with its 2022 refresh. There will be a range of new features of course, and the rumour mill has been churning away.

New 14.1in iPad Pro

This one’s a little out of the left field, but it could be potentially very interesting. Rumours are circulating that claim Apple could be working on an iPad Pro larger than the 12.9in variant currently available. While some scoffed at the idea of an even larger iPad than the behemoth that is the 12.9in model, it seems like there could be truth to the rumour.

In fact, Ross Young – display analyst at DSCC – got more specific recently, claiming that Apple is working on a 14.1in iPad Pro with a mini-LED display and super-smooth 120Hz ProMotion technology. Young has a great track record when it comes to display-related leaks, nailing previous Apple flagship iPhones and iPads months ahead of release, so there could be something to the rumour.

Confirmed the 14.1″ iPad Pro is being developed with our supply chain sources. It will have MiniLEDs and ProMotion. Not sure of the timing, but early 2023 may be more likely.

— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) June 9, 2022

Young isn’t the only leaker that believes Apple is working on an even bigger iPad Pro either. Twitter leaker Majin Bu has also released details, suggesting it could pack the Apple M2 chipset alongside 512GB of storage and 16GB of RAM, though the tipster isn’t quite as reliable with a hit-and-miss track record.

According to my resource, Apple is developing a new 14.1-inch iPad M2 with 512GB and 16GB of base memory. The new M2 line is expected to include a new 11-inch model with no major changes, a new 12.9 model with reduced bezels and this new 14.1 iPad #Apple #AppleRumor

— Majin Bu (@MajinBuOfficial) June 8, 2022

Interestingly, Young notes that the 14.1in model isn’t due until sometime in 2023, which clashes with current rumours of a September/October 2022 announcement for the M2-powered iPad Pro range. It’s possible that Apple could reveal all three models at the same event later this year and simply delay the release of the largest model until early 2023, but we’ll have to wait and see for now.

Mini-LED on 11in model

One of the most prevalent rumours right now is arguably one of the most obvious; the 11in iPad Pro (2022) is expected to match the 12.9in model’s Mini-LED display, after missing out on the tech in the 2021 range. The news comes from the eerily accurate Ming-Chi Kuo, suggesting in a
July 2021 note to investors that the iPad Pro 11in and
MacBook Air will both get the mini-LED upgrade in 2022.

Twitter leaker @Dylandkt also believes that Mini-LED will be present on both models, stating that “all iPad Pro models will have a MiniLED display” in a
late January 2022 tweet.

As we’ve seen from the iPad Pro 12.9 (2021), the upgraded display tech is a huge step forward from the standard LCD display used by previous-gen tablets. It allows more control over contrast with truly inky blacks, produces vibrant colours, and is impressively bright too.

In fact, Tech Advisor Editor Jim Martin described the Mini-LED display as “phenomenal” in his 4.5-star iPad Pro 12.9in (2021) review.

Glass rear for wireless charging

Despite not changing the overall form factor of the upcoming range, the new models of iPad Pro are rumoured to sport glass backs in place of the aluminium currently used. The reason for the switch to glass, according to
Bloomberg, is to enable wireless charging to the iPad range for the first time.

The claim was backed up again in September 2021, with Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman
doubling down on the glass rear and reverse wireless charging capabilities of the upcoming iPad Pro range. Given the fact that it’s readily available (not to mention a hugely popular feature) on the iPhone range, it makes sense for the tech to finally make an appearance on Apple’s tablet range.

In the same report, Bloomberg also suggests that the transition to a glass back will also enable reverse wireless charging for the first time. This would allow owners to charge a Qi-enabled iPhone or AirPods by placing them on the rear of the tablet – handy for quick top-ups.

A follow-up report in early 2022
from 9to5Mac suggests differently though. According to “sources familiar with Apple’s design plans”, the glass rear design might’ve been scrapped due to how fragile it’d make the device compared to its current aluminium body.

Instead, the company is developing prototypes with a larger Apple logo (similar in size to that of the new MacBook Pro) made entirely from glass to allow for wireless power transfer. The report also suggests that it’ll feature magnets – much like MagSafe on the iPhone – but with “stronger magnets to prevent accidents” and it’ll charge faster than iPhone models do too. 

The inclusion of MagSafe has also been teased by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in a March 2022 edition of his Power On! newsletter. 

As with all rumours, it’s worth taking this with a pinch of salt – especially given the disagreement among leakers. In fact, leaker @Dylandkt claims that they’ve heard “nothing but concerns from multiple sources” about the wireless charging/MagSafe capabilities, so it may get pushed back or canned altogether. 

New Smart Connector

An August 2022 supply chain report from Macotakara suggests that the new iPad Pro range could get an upgraded smart connector. The current three-pin connector on the iPad Pro is used to connect accessories like the Magic Keyboard, but the Macotakara report suggests the new model will sport an upgraded 4-pin connector “on the top and bottom side edges”.

The report goes on to suggest the new connectors could “assist in powering peripherals” much like the existing smart connector. iPadOS 16 is set to feature DriverKit support for the first time, making it easier for accessory makers to make tech that works with the iPad Pro, and the upgraded four-pin connector could further aid in that.

The issue is that, if true, it’ll make existing three-pin accessories – like the premium Magic Keyboard – incompatible with the new models, and I doubt there will be many in a rush to replace a perfectly good keyboard just because it’s one pin short.

Refreshed design

As well as a glass rear and reverse wireless charging, one analyst suggests the iPad Pro could get an updated design – though the leaker isn’t sure if it’s for this year’s model, or it’s just something in the works behind closed doors at Apple Park. 

Discussing the leak via Twitter,
@dylandkt suggests that a new iPad Pro could feature a horizontal camera placement and a horizontal Apple logo to match, with the ‘default’ orientation of the Pro tablets switching from portrait to landscape. 

There’s no mention of other iPads getting the same treatment, and while that may sound odd at first, the Pro range does lend itself more to landscape scenarios than other tablets in Apple’s range. Creatives tend to draw in landscape orientation, editors edit in landscape and it’s in landscape when used with the Magic Keyboard too.

Of course, with no mention of the reorientation in any other design leaks, it’s worth taking this one with a pinch of salt, but it’s certainly an interesting idea.  

M1 Pro, M1 Max, or M2 chipset

Given Apple’s transition to the M1 chipset on the iPad Pro (2021) range, it’s safe to assume that one of its successors will be featured in the 2022 range – especially now that the mid-range iPad Air also features an M1 chipset.

This could be either of the M1 Pro or M1 Max chips found in the
redesigned 14 & 16in MacBook Pro range, perhaps with the Pro found in the smaller iPad Pro and the Max included in the larger model.

It’s also possible that Apple will debut a next-gen M2 chip in 2022, and that could power the new iPad Pros – something that leaker
@dylandkt predicts – which would explain why Apple has allegedly pushed the release of the range back to Autumn 2022. 

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman also suggests that the M2 could be on the cards for the new iPad Pro range, claiming that the new chipset’s CPU will be slightly faster than the M1 but will pack the same eight-core architecture. 

He reiterated the claim months later, again claiming that the next iPad Pro range will sport the latest M2 chipset – not the M1 Pro or Max chips as initially rumoured.

Improved accessibility features

While it might not be exclusive to the iPad Pro range, Apple has taken the unusual step of confirming a number of new and improved accessibility features headed to iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 later this year. While features like Door Detection are primarily aimed at iPhone users, there are a few iPad-focused features coming too.

One of the most popular accessibility features coming to iPadOS 16 is Live Captioning. As the name suggests, the feature will caption any audio in real-time, including in video calls via the likes of Zoom and FaceTime, as well as social apps like Instagram and Snapchat. 

What’s more, the feature can also be used in real life to provide captioning when talking to someone close by – ideal for the deaf and hard of hearing community. 

Under-display Face ID

Okay, so this one is a little more out there, and chances are it won’t be on the 2022 model, but there are rumours that Apple could be bringing under-display camera and Face ID technology to the iPad Pro before it makes its debut on the iPhone.

Speaking on a July 2022 episode of The MacRumors Show, display analyst Ross Young suggests that it’s possible that under-display Face ID could appear on an iPad before an iPhone due mainly to the technology being easier to introduce under a larger display with a smaller pixel density. He also notes that it’s more feasible simply because there are fewer iPads manufactured than iPhones, making it easier to introduce and scale over time.

Young is confident about the tech too, suggesting it could make an appearance in an iPad as early as next year – well before the 2026 model of iPhone Young currently believes will be the first to sport the under-display tech.

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