iPad Pro 2020 vs. iPad Pro 2021: What's the Difference?
May 27, 2021 By Claire

iPad Pro 2020 vs. iPad Pro 2021: What's the Difference?

One month after Apple's "Spring Loaded" event, people worldwide are waiting with anticipation for their new iPad Pro to arrive. Others are still on the fence about taking the plunge.

The 5th generation tablet is the biggest iPad Pro upgrade ever.

But what does the new iPad Pro do differently from the previous model? Is it worth upgrading? Does it suit your needs?

These are some of the questions I’m going to help you answer below!

iPad Pro 2020 vs. iPad Pro 2021

Hardware Upgrade

Undeniably, the most talked about topic is the revolutionary M1 chip that Apple has used in the new Macs. The laptop-grade processor makes the iPad Pro 2021 easily the fastest tablet on the market, with a 50% faster CPU and 40% faster GPU performance than the previous iPad Pro.

M1 chip on the iPad Pro 2021

Moreover, the iPad Pro 2021 supports up to 2TB storage, up from the maximum 1TB of other iPad Pro models. Of course, the extra 1 TB doesn't come cheap. You need to pay an additional $400.

The massive hardware upgrade takes the tablet's performance to such a high level many believe that, in comparison, the software is now several generations behind. There have been appeals to Apple to replace iPadOS with MacOS, allowing the iPad Pro to work more like an actual laptop.


brighter colors on the iPad Pro 2021 12.9 inch

The 11-inch iPad Pro 2021 features a similar screen to both iPad Pro 2020 models, while the upgraded 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2021 offers a brighter screen. With a mini-LED display that delivers 1000 nits of full-screen brightness and 1600 nits of peak brightness, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2021 allows you to enjoy "true-to-life HDR content." In other words, you can see more bright highlights and small details even in the darkest images.


center stage feature on the iPad Pro 2021 12.9 inch

The rear camera setup is familiar, featuring 12MP Wide and 10MP Ultra Wide cameras. The difference is on the front. Upgraded from the 7MP to 12MP TrueDepth camera, the newest iPad Pro is even better for FaceTime and Portrait mode selfies as it offers much better picture quality. With the help of the M1 chip, the new video call feature, Center Stage, uses the new Ultra-Wide camera on the front to recognize participants and keep them centered, even if they move around or other people enter or leave the call.


iPad Pro 2021 features a thunderbolt port

Apple is really trying to narrow the gap between the iPad Pro and its laptops. The iPad Pro 2020 and 2021 both have identical USB-C ports, although the newest device supports both Thunderbolt and USB 4. These have the same maximum data rate of 40Gbps, while the standard USB-C supports 10Gbps. This makes the 5th generation iPad Pro an excellent tool for extreme bandwidth users and those who need Thunderbolt displays or accessories such as Thunderbolt-only external hard drives and monitors.

Physical Appearance

Both the iPad Pro 2020 and 2021 feature flat edges, four-speaker audio, and come in silver and space gray.

It's challenging to distinguish between them with the naked eye. However, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2021 is 0.5mm thicker than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2020 since the Liquid Retina XDR display takes up more space than the previous LCDs. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but for people who use accessories like the Magic Keyboard, that's a huge concern. According to Apple, the first generation Magic Keyboard for iPad released last year is "functionally compatible with the new iPad Pro 12.9-inch". However, it may not be a precise fit when closed.

iPad Pro 2021 on the new Magic Keyboard

Some customers have already received their iPad Pro 12.9 inch 2021. One reviewer didn't notice any difference using the tablet with the old or the new Magic Keyboard. Another commentator remarked that the original Magic Keyboard fits fairly well with the new tablet.

When it comes to weight, the iPad Pro 2021 11 inch is a little lighter than the previous model, while the iPad Pro 2021 12.9 inch is 1.5 lbs, about 0.1 lb heavier. With the Magic Keyboard (1.6 lbs), the 12.9-inch tablet weighs more than a comparable MacBook Pro.


5G connectivity is gradually becoming a must-have on mobile devices. The new iPad Pro models support mmWave 5G, the one with blazing-fast speed. It's definitely better than the 4G iPad Pro 2020 unless you only use Wi-Fi.

Who Should Upgrade to the iPad Pro 2021?

Hopefully, you've got a good idea now about whether you need to upgrade to one of the new iPad Pro models.

If you own the iPad, iPad Air, or the old iPad Pro, then the new iPad Pro might not seem worth it.

The iPad Pro 2021 is for power users who need Thunderbolt or more data storage. It's also an excellent tool for photographers and filmmakers to create HDR content. If you are on video calls a lot or want to look good on the camera and don't mind spending the money, then go ahead and order the iPad Pro 2021.

Aramid Fiber Magnetic Case for iPad Pro 2021 

PITAKA launched the aramid fiber magnetic case for iPad Pro 2020 & 2018 and iPad Air last year. As one of the very few cases compatible with the Magic Keyboard, it earned recognition from most customers.

Then we upgraded the case to MagEZ Case 2 for iPad Pro 2021.

What's new about the case for the new iPad Pro?

PITAKA magnetic iPad Pro case, iPad Pro stand, iPad Pro folio for iPad Pro 2021

The ultra-slim MagEZ Case 2 for iPad Pro 2021 (11''/12.9'') is fully compatible with the new Magic Keyboard, offering both pass-through charging and access to all features and functions. The MagEZ Case 2 attaches to the iPad Pro 2021 magnetically and works with both the MagEZ Folio and MagEZ Stand. MagEZ Stand is a magnetic iPad mount that can work as your second screen to improve your productivity.

What do you think of the iPad Pro 2021? Would you buy one? And what do you expect from our magnetic system for iPad Pro? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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