Here’s why I’m not upgrading to the 2021 iPad Pro

by Joseph K. Clark

The iPad Pro is my primary personal tablet. I use many devices throughout the year, with pros and cons. On the one hand, you get to carry the latest tech all year round, more or less. On the other hand, it’s a constant move, a nomadic lifestyle of your data from one device to the other, irrespective of how much the cloud might help you. Despite that, as do most reviewers, I have a personal daily driver, a favorite, which sticks around throughout its lifecycle as the primary device. It can be a device I reviewed, a review unit, or, as is the case with my iPad Pro, a device I purchased for my private usage.


Here’s why I’m not upgrading to the 2021 iPad Pro. I purchased it in October o020 when I purchased my iPhone 12 Pro Max. I knew a refresh was around the corner, but I just needed to fill ihat gap in my home ecosystem. Usually, when a new device, a successor, is announced, I get “the itch”. We all know it, and as I was sitting and watching the Apple Spring Loaded event, I was looking down at my 2020 iPad Pro, and I was like, “Nah, I’ll pass”.

The specs factor

I own the 2020 11-inch iPad Pro, Wi-Fi only, 128GB. Since I only use my tablet within the Wi-Fi range (or, at worst, I tether to my iPhone), I have zero need for a 4G version, let alone a 5G variant, like the 2021 iPad Pro. That’s one point, right there, in favor of my current device. Yes, I am aware that there’s a Wi-Fi-only model as well! Feel free to disregard this point if you want. I’ve got plenty below.

Here’s one (more) point in favor of keeping my current device. I deliberately opted for the 11-inch model last year because I considered the 12.9-inch variant too big. However, Apple introduced a new mini LED display for the iPad Pro this year, only for its larger version. The 11-inch still packs the good old IPS panel, with which I’m okay and satisfied.

iPad Pro

I have never taken a single picture using the iPad Pro (or any other tablet, save for review purposes, and even then, I cringed). For my personal use, I couldn’t care less about the camera improvements on the 2021 iPad Pro, and since I also don’t do video calls on the iPad, the new wide-angle FaceTime camera doesn’t faze me. I’ve got the iPhone for the 3 FaceTime calls I receive yearly. One more point in favor of my 2020 iPad Pro.

The M1 chip delivered an incredible performance. But wait: how can 1,500 times higher performance and two times faster storage (according to Apple’s claims) be an entry on your Cons list?…and here comes the big one that takes it home in favor of my current iPad.

The OS and apps factor

The 2021 iPad Pro is, on theory and paper, as fast as the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and the Mac Mini (lately, the new iMac). This, in and of itself, is awesome! But there’s a caveat. Nothing (or valuable nothing to me) takes advantage of that tremendous power.

It’s like installing a fine-tuned supercar engine into a chassis and feeding it low-octane fuel, just enough for it to start but unable to rev at speeds that deliver torque and horsepower. It’s like crawling in Drive mode without a gas pedal.

I alluded to this in my previous commentary when I said I would readily purchase the MacBook Air over the 2021 iPad Pro.

Is the 2021 iPad Pro faster than my 2020 iPad Pro? Absolutely! Would I be able to perceive the speed increase? Probably not. For me, there’s a need to upgrade to the latest iPad at this particular point in time. However, this could change instantly if Apple allowed the iPad Pro to run macOS instead of iPadOS (which is pretty much a phone OS for all intents and purposes), but that’s a different conversation. Then II couldrun full-fledged Photoshop and Final Cut Pro on it. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Yes, a different conversation in which Apple would create a new product family, turn the iPad Pro into a convertible, allow it to somewhat eat into both the iPad Air and MacBook Air segments, and create one of its own. That, however, is an iPad Pro I would consider. However, my stance is this: if you don’t have an iPad and you’re planning on getting one, get a MacBook Air instead. If you have a 2020 iPad Pro, keep it for another year.

But that’s just me, and, as always, curious about what everyone else thinks. Please drop us a comment below, and let’s talk about it. My colleague Adam already chimes in. He said “pass”, too. Read his reasons! Thanks for reading! Welcome to The Editor’s Desk!

Anton D. Nagy

Anton is the Editor-in-Chief of Pocketnow. As a publication leader, he aims to bring Pocketnow closer to you. His vision is mainly focused on and oriented toward the audience. Anton’s ambition, adopted by the entire team, is to transform Pocketnow into a reference media outlet.

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