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

by Joseph K. Clark

I’m using a lot of devices throughout the year, which comes with its 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, if you will, of your data from one device to the other, irrespective of how much the cloud might help you out or not.

Despite all of that, as do most reviewers, I have a personal daily driver, a favorite if you will, 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 personally purchased for my private usage. The iPad Pro is my primary, personal tablet.


I purchased it in October of 2020 when I purchased my personal iPhone 12 Pro Max. I knew a refresh was somewhat around the corner, but I just needed to fill in that 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”. Here’s why I’m not upgrading to the 2021 iPad Pro.

The specs factor

Just to clarify, 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.

I deliberately opted for the 11-inch model last year because I simply consider the 12.9-inch variant too big. However, Apple did introduce a brand 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. Here’s one (more) point in favor of keeping my current device.

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 during the year. One more point in favor of my 2020 iPad Pro.

…and here comes the big one that takes it home in favor of my current iPad. The incredible performance was delivered by the M1 chip. But wait: how can 1,500 times higher performance and 2 times faster storage (according to Apple’s claims) be an entry on your Cons list?

The OS and apps factor

The 2021 iPad Pro is, on theory and on 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, at this particular point in time, there’s absolutely no need to upgrade to the latest iPad. This, however, could change in an instant 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 I’d be able to run full-fledged Photoshop and Final Cut Pro on it. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Yes, a different conversation, one 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 definitely 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 do have a 2020 iPad Pro, keep it for one more year.

But that’s just me, and, as always, curious about what everyone else thinks. 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 of publication leader, he aims to bring Pocketnow even closer to you. His vision is mainly focused on, and oriented towards, the audience. Anton’s ambition, adopted by the entire team, is to transform Pocketnow into a reference media outlet.

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