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The iPad Pro (2020) isn't much more powerful than the last one — so what?

iPad Pro 2020 Apple Pencil Batman Hero
iPad Pro 2020 Apple Pencil Batman Hero (Image credit: iMore)

Now that the new iPad Pro is making its way to people, and tech enthusiasts are starting to get their hands on the new device, the benchmarks are starting to come out. All the preliminary tests seem to indicate that the 2020 iPad Pro is very minimal better than the 2018 model, and there are even some early rumors that there may be another new iPad Pro coming later this year.

So why would Apple release this iPad Pro? Well, Apple doesn't really care what the benchmarks say about their products; they care about the user experience. The 2020 iPad Pro is much more about a few new features that will likely appear on multiple new devices in the future, and this allows Apple to get them out there for people and developers to use.

All about that LiDAR life

Without getting too technical, LiDAR uses light to measure distance, specifically green spectrum lasers. This is an essential technology for augmented reality (AR) going forward, as it allows the iPad Pro to get a better measurement of the environment around it.

What is LiDAR, and why do I want it in my iPad?

So why should you care if LiDAR is on your iPad? The truth is most people probably don't and don't need to care. This feature is new, and while it will improve the AR capabilities of the iPad Pro right away, the real potential will take developers a while to tap into.

New cameras and Magic Keyboard

Of course, LiDAR isn't the only significant change; the new camera array is now a dual-camera setup. This means better photos, and even 4K video recording, all of which are new to the iPad Pro lineup.

Plus, with the launch of iPadOS 13.4, the iPad Pro will have a much better mouse and trackpad implementation, which will only help people who choose to use those. This feature is also coming to the 2018 model, and even Apple's new Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro is compatible with both the 2020 and 2018 models.

The 2018 model is an excellent iPad Pro

The bottom line is the iPad Pro (2020) is just a small upgrade over the 2018 model, and that's all it's meant to be. The 2018 iPad Pro is still plenty fast, performs exceptionally well for all sorts of tasks, and there's absolutely no reason to upgrade to the 2020 model if you're happy with it.

While power and performance are important, benchmarks aren't everything. If you live and die on each device needing to be wildly more powerful than the previous iteration, you're missing the bigger picture.

Luke Filipowicz
Luke Filipowicz

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 


Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.

2 Comments
  • The "so what" is that I get to keep my 2018 model for a year or two more, can upgrade to the Magic Keyboard, and have 90% of the "current" value of the 2020 model because there is almost no current use case for the goodies touted in the 2020 model. As Evie said in The Mummy - "take that Bainbridge Scholars!" (Oops - too much Netflix binging lately)...
  • I'm still using my 6th gen non pro and it's working fine. Besides the camera, I see no reason to upgrade. Just waiting for the after market to make a touch enabled keyboard for mine.