iPad Pro (2021) vs iPad Pro (2022): Which should you buy?

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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iPad Pro (2022)

(Image credit: Apple)

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). 

iPad Pro (2022)

(Image credit: Apple)

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:

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Header Cell - Column 0 iPad Pro 2021iPad Pro 2022
CostFrom $799 (third-parties only)From $799
Size11-inch or 12.9-inch11-inch or 12.9-inch
Operating systemSupports latest iPadOS versionShips with iPadOS 16.1
Display 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display or 11-inch Liquid Retina Display12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display or 11-inch Liquid Retina Display
Resolution2388x1668 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 brightnessSDR 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
ProcessorApple M1 chipApple M2 chip
RAMUp to 16GB8 GB (128GB, 256GB, 512GB); 16GB (1TB, 2TB)
StorageUp to 2TBUp to 2TB
Camera12MP wide, 10MP extra-wide back, TrueDepth front12MP wide, 10MP extra-wide back, TrueDepth front
PortsThunderbolt/USB 4 portThunderbolt/USB 4 port
Dimensions9.74 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)
Weight1.04 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?

iPad Pro (2022)

(Image credit: Apple)

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. 

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

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.