Next-gen iPad Pro is on a diet – and OLED is the key to a lighter tablet
A lighter iPad Pro could be on the way
It's big, it's beautiful and it's powerful – but, increasingly with each revision, Apple's iPad Pro is becoming heavier, too.
That may be set to change with a future redesign for the iPad Pro line-up however, with the best iPad in terms of sheet power in Apple's arsenal set to be shedding some weight ahead of a 2024 relaunch date.
Both the 11-inch iPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro are expected to get lighter thanks to the long-awaited introduction of OLED displays, according to ET News (opens in new tab). Despite being thinner, OLED will deliver "unrivaled image quality" thanks to its per-pixel illumination, as seen on the most-wanted televisions from the likes of LG which deliver richer colors and deeper blacks than standard LED and LCD displays. Apple is said to be partnering with both LG and Samsung for OLED display prototypes currently in development.
The best iPhones, like the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max already make use of OLED screens (marketed under Apple's 'Super Retina XDR' nomenclature), and the upcoming iPhone 14 range is expected to continue to make use to the screen technology, too.
It is however technology that's a little more delicate than that of the mini-LED of the M1 iPad Pro models, and so a new durability coating is also said to be in development for upgraded tablet models. Apple will also be using a dry etching process with the iPad OLED displays – a first for the company, a liquid chemical manufacturing phase used to remove materials and create circuit patterns with thin film transistors, and another potential process to claw back a few grams of overall weight.
An iPad gram giveth here, an iPad gram taketh away
Just how much lighter the iPad Pro can get, however, is up for debate.
The 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models currently sit at 466 grams and 682 grams respectively, rising a touch for the models that have cellular connections. But a wireless-charging back for the new iPad has also been rumored, using glass to enable power transfer to the device (or potentially from the device, to charge accessories like the AirPods Pro). And that in itself could add extra weight.
Throw in a keyboard case and the iPad Pro starts approaching the territory of the 2022 M2 MacBook Air in terms of weight. And with both iPadOS 16 and MacOS Ventura set soon to include the Stage Manager feature, the lines between both computing devices become increasingly blurred. Re-instating the portability of the iPad Pro lineup will help to differentiate the two product categories, and may encourage Apple fans to double-dip on both Mac and iPad Pro devices.
Get the best of iMore in your inbox, every day!
Gerald Lynch is the Editor-in-Chief of iMore, keeping careful watch over the site's editorial output and commercial campaigns, ensuring iMore delivers the in-depth, accurate and timely Apple content its readership deservedly expects. You'll never see him without his iPad Pro, and he loves gaming sessions with his buddies via Apple Arcade on his iPhone 14 Pro, but don't expect him to play with you at home unless your Apple TV is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system.
Living in London in the UK, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK, and Executive Editor of TechRadar, and has covered international trade shows including Apple's WWDC, MWC, CES and IFA. If it has an acronym and an app, he's probably been there, on the front lines reporting on the latest tech innovations. Gerald is also a contributing tech pundit for BBC Radio and has written for various other publications, including T3 magazine, GamesRadar, Space.com, Real Homes, MacFormat, music bible DIY, Tech Digest, TopTenReviews, Mirror.co.uk, Brandish, Kotaku, Shiny Shiny and Lifehacker. Gerald is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press, and also holds a Guinness world record on Tetris. For real.