Why the new iPad Pro's mini-LED display is a big deal

Together with Apple’s powerful desktop-class M1 chip, Magic Keyboard, and Apple Pencil, the new iPad Pro is Apple’s best tablet yet.

At Apple’s virtual “Spring Loaded” event, the tech giant announced AirTags, colorful iMacs, and a new Apple TV. And also: 2021 iPad Pros, again in 11 and 12.9-inch display sizes.

For the most part, the new iPad Pros look mostly identical to last year’s models. The biggest upgrade is the use of mini-LED technology in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro Liquid Retina display.

What is mini-LED?

Like LED and OLED, mini-LED is a type of display backlighting technology. 10,000 mini-LEDs sit behind the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s display to make the picture brighter, increase contrast, improve highlights, and enhance colors so that they’re more vibrant.

In other words: everything, especially HDR looks better thanks to a peak 1,000 nits of brightness.

Apples’s calling this mini-LED display a Liquid Retina XDR display — modeled after the Pro Display XDR. If you’re doing any kind of design work or simply want the best display in a tablet for watching HDR content, the new iPad Pro sounds like a dream.

That’s not to say there aren’t any other upgrades. They’re mainly internal:

⁂ M1 Bionic chip

⁂ Thunderbolt USB-C port

⁂ 12-megapixel 122-degree selfie camera

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The M1 chip inside of the iPad Pros is just mind-blowing. A desktop-class chip now jammed into a tablet. It can handle multiple 4K streams or a single 8K stream in Final Cut Pro. Microsoft and the Android guys have to be scared right now.


Just like on iPhone 12.


New keyboard color

Alongside the new iPad Pros, Apple announced a new white Magic Keyboard. How fast is this gonna get dirty?

Ugh: old Magic Keyboards will not work with the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro because the tablet is 0.5mm thicker. That is really dumb. Old Magic Keyboards for the 11-inch iPad Pro will work with the new one, though.


Starting price for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

4X-image/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images

Apple has raised the 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s price, starting at $1,099 for the 128GB Wi-Fi model and $1,299 for the 5G. The 11-inch still starts at $799 for the Wi-Fi and $999 for the 5G. That mini LED isn’t free!

If you’re having iPad overload... get used to it. Now that iPads can do so much, Apple is doubling down on them.

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