iPad Pro (2021) vs iPad Pro (2022): Which should you buy?
The latest iPad Pro is finally here. Here's how it compares to last year's model.
Still a great option
The first iPad to feature an M1 system-on-a-chip, the iPad Pro (2021) still packs a punch, although it's not as good as its predecessor. You should be able to find one on sale, however.
- Still an M1 chip inside
- Same storage
- Discounts now likely
- It looks just like the newer model
- One version behind
- Not an M2 chip
- Some camera differences
The new king
When you want the newest and best iPad on the market, this is the one to get. If you're looking for a huge difference between and last year's model, however, you might be disappointed.
- M2 processor
- Apple Pencil hover feature
- 10-core GPU
- 100GB/s memory bandwidth
- Camera improvements
- Still terrible battery life
- Not that much different than the older model
- 11-inch still doesn't have a XDR display
The 2022 iPad Pro is finally here. Like the previous series, there are two models to choose from, an 11-inch iPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad. While there's no doubt the 2022 offerings best the ones from 2021, the changes aren't nearly as significant as you might imagine. So few changes were made this year that Apple didn't even announce the new tablets at a press conference. Instead, it sent out a press release. No worry, you can find out the differences between this year's and last year's iPad Pro lineup here.
iPad Pro (2021) vs iPad Pro (2022): Few differences, more similarities
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Once again, the newest iPad Pro models come in Space Gray in silver and are available with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB of storage. The differences between the generations come down to the processor, camera, networking, and Apple Pencil. The iPad Pro (2022) is the first to feature an M2 process, which Apple says offers 15% faster performance and a 10-core GPU that provides up to 35% faster graphics performance. Additionally, its Neural Engine is rated 40% faster, which means accelerated machine learning. There's also 50% more memory bandwidth this time around.
Once again, the iPad Pro models feature 12MP Wide and 10MP Ultra Wide cameras, although two features have been tweaked. The 2022 iPad Pro offers Smart HDR 4 for photos and ProRes video recording up to 4K at 30 fps (1080p at 30 fps for 128GB capacity).
Meanwhile, the newer model supports Wi-Fi 6E (versus Wi-Fi 6) for speeds up to 2.4 Gbps.
Finally, no, Cupertino hasn't released a new Apple Pencil. Instead, it exclusively allows the current Apple Pencil 2 to support "Apple Pencil hover" on the 2022 iPad Pro models. The hover technology means your Apple Pencil always knows where it will be placed next, which should make for an even smoother drawing experience.
As you can see, more often than not, the iPad Pro (2021) and iPad Pro (2022) are nearly identical:
|Header Cell - Column 0||iPad Pro 2021||iPad Pro 2022|
|Cost||From $799 (third-parties only)||From $799|
|Size||11-inch or 12.9-inch||11-inch or 12.9-inch|
|Operating system||Supports latest iPadOS version||Ships with iPadOS 16.1|
|Display||12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display or 11-inch Liquid Retina Display||12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display or 11-inch Liquid Retina Display|
|Resolution||2388x1668 at 264 ppi (11-inch), 2732x2048 at 264 ppi (12.9-inch)||2388x1668 at 264 ppi (11-inch), 2732x2048 at 264 ppi (12.9-inch)|
|Display brightness||SDR brightness: 600 nits max on both sizes; XDR brightness: 1000 nits max full screen, 1600 nits peak (HDR content only) on 12.9-inch iPad Pro only||SDR brightness: 600 nits max on both sizes; XDR brightness: 1000 nits max full screen, 1600 nits peak (HDR content only) on 12.9-inch iPad Pro only|
|Processor||Apple M1 chip||Apple M2 chip|
|RAM||Up to 16GB||8 GB (128GB, 256GB, 512GB); 16GB (1TB, 2TB)|
|Storage||Up to 2TB||Up to 2TB|
|Camera||12MP wide, 10MP extra-wide back, TrueDepth front||12MP wide, 10MP extra-wide back, TrueDepth front|
|Ports||Thunderbolt/USB 4 port||Thunderbolt/USB 4 port|
|Dimensions||9.74 inches x 7.02 inches x 0.23 inch (11-inch), 11.04 inches x 8.46 inches x 0.25 inch (12.9-inch)||9.74 inches x 7.02 inches x 0.23 inch (11-inch), 11.04 inches x 8.46 inches x 0.25 inch (12.9-inch)|
|Weight||1.04 pounds (11-inch), 1.51 pounds (12.9-inch)||1.04 pounds (11-inch), 1.51 pounds (12.9-inch)|
The iPad Pro (2022) is nearly a carbon copy of the earlier model. Among the impressive features that we highlighted in our iPad Pro (2021) review carry over here. These include the stunning Mini LED display found on the 12.9-inch model, Center Stage on the camera, the best speakers and mics on a tablet, and a terrific Magic Keyboard (sold separately) that feels close to a laptop.
Unfortunately, the duplicate negatives also carry over from one generation to the next. Once again, mediocre battery life is found on both models and ages. Additionally, the 11-inch model still lacks a Mini LED display. And finally, like the device itself, iPad Pro accessories are expensive.
iPad Pro (2021) vs iPad Pro (2022): Which one should you get?
Strangely, it's a toss-up between the iPad Pro (2021) and the iPad Pro (2022) if the price is the most critical factor. Assuming the older models will get cheaper in time, your best bet might be to go with the discount and get an older iPad Pro.
When money is less of an issue, you should always use the newer model.
Do you have an iPad Pro (2021)? The answer is a simple one on whether you should upgrade: no. Because there are so many similarities between this year's iPad Pro and the 2021 version, it's nearly sure that next year's model will offer significant improvements. Therefore, we see no reason to jump from the 2021 model to the 2022 model.
Nearly the same as the newest iPad Pro model, it's still a great choice if money is a major concern. Otherwise, going with the newer model is always the better choice.
The best iPad got a little bit better in 2022 — but not nearly enough that justifies going directly from one generation to another. Still consider, however, if you're on the iPad Pro (2020) or earlier.
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Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.