iPad Pro 2022 vs iPad Pro 2021: These are the biggest upgrades

iPad Pro 2022 vs iPad Pro 2021 face-to-face
(Image credit: Future)

The iPad Pro 2022 has been officially unveiled alongside the new iPad 2022, with both tablets bringing a slew of improvements over their predecessors. But what specific iPad Pro 2022 vs. iPad Pro 2021 upgrades can you expect? 

As in years past, Apple is selling the new iPad Pro in both 11-inch and 12.9-inch flavors, and the larger model remains the only one to ship with a luminous mini-LED display. In addition to better performance thanks to the Apple M2 chip, the new iPad Pro 2022 brings a few other changes from the iPad Pro 2021 that set it apart as Apple's new premier tablet. 

While we'll have to wait until we get a chance to review it for ourselves to verify whether the iPad Pro 2022 is as good as Apple claims, it looks like a shoo-in for a spot on our list of the the best tablets you can buy. In the meantime, here's how our iPad Pro 2022 vs. iPad Pro 2021 comparison shakes out.

iPad Pro 2022 vs. iPad Pro 2021: Specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 iPad Pro 2022 (11 inch)iPad Pro 2022 (12.9 inch)iPad Pro 2021 (11 inch)iPad Pro 2021 (12.9 inch)
Price$799 for Wi-Fi model | $999 for Wi-Fi + Cellular model$1,099 for Wi-Fi model | $1,299 for Wi-Fi + Cellular model$799 for Wi-Fi model | $999 for Wi-Fi + Cellular model$1,099 for Wi-Fi model | $1,299 for Wi-Fi + Cellular model
OSiPadOS 16iPadOS 16iPadOS 16iPadOS 16
CPUApple M2Apple M2Apple M1 Apple M1
RAM8GB RAM (128GB-512GB models), 16GB RAM (1TB-2TB models) 8GB RAM (128GB-512GB models), 16GB RAM (1TB-2TB models) 8GB RAM (128GB-512GB models), 16GB RAM (1TB-2TB models) 8GB RAM (128GB-512GB models), 16GB RAM (1TB-2TB models)
Storage128GB-2TB128GB-2TB128GB-2TB128GB-2TB
Display11 inches (2388 x1668 pixels)12.9 inches (2732 x 2048 pixels)11 inches (2388 x 1668 pixels)12.9 inches (2732 x 2048 pixels)
PortsThunderbolt 4/USB-CThunderbolt 4/USB-CThunderbolt 4/USB-CThunderbolt 4/USB-C
Rear Cameras12MP wide, 10MP ultra-wide12MP wide, 10MP ultra-wide12MP wide, 10MP ultra-wide12MP wide, 10MP ultra-wide
Front Cameras12MP TrueDepth12MP TrueDepth12MP TrueDepth12MP TrueDepth
Battery Life10 hours (rated)10 hours (rated)10 hours (rated), 13:42 (tested)10 hours (rated), 10:48 (tested)
Size 9.74 X 7.02 X 0.23 inches11.04 x 8.46 x 0.25 inches9.74 X 7.02 X 0.23 inches11.04 x 8.46 x 0.25 inches
Weight1.03 pounds (Wi-Fi) | 1.04 pounds (Wi-Fi + Cellular)1.5 pounds (Wi-Fi) | 1.51 pounds (Wi-Fi Cellular)1.04 pounds1.51 pounds

iPad Pro 2022 vs. iPad Pro 2021: Price 

Good news: Apple doesn't appear to have increased the price for the iPad Pro 2022 compared to last year's models. 

While we expected the company to raises prices by up to $100 or more, that didn't come to pass. Instead, the 11-inch iPad Pro 2022 once again has a starting price of $799 on Apple's website (opens in new tab), while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2022 once again starts at $1,099.

Of course, those are just the prices for the entry-level models with 128GB of storage, 8GB of RAM and just Wi-Fi connectivity. If you want to trick out your iPad Pro 2022 with bells and whistles like 5G connectivity or extra storage, you can pay as much as $2,199 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2022 with maximum storage (2TB) and 5G connectivity.

iPad Pro 2022 vs. iPad Pro 2021: Design 

Apple didn't change much about the design of the iPad Pros between 2021 and 2022, which is fine by us -- we quite like the thin black bezels and flat rectangular machined aluminum chassis on last year's models.

iPad Pro 2022 11-inch and 12.9-inch models

We liked the design of the iPad Pro 2021 models quite a bit, so the fact that this year's models (pictured) look the same is fine by us.  (Image credit: Apple)

While we would have liked to see Apple push the limits of the iPad Pro's design a bit farther and add features like wireless charging, it's hard to complain about the company sticking with a good thing. Plus, keeping the design consistent year-over-year should mean existing accessories for the iPad Pros 2021 will work equally well with the new models.

iPad Pro 2021 (11-inch)

Rumors suggested the iPad Pro 2022 might have wireless charging, but they were wrong. However, would it have killed Apple to offer some color options besides silver and grey? (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

However, given how limited the iPad Pro's color palette is — you can only get 2021 and 2022 models in silver or space grey — we would have loved to see Apple experiment with offering this year's models in a wider variety of color schemes. 

It's especially galling since Apple unveiled a new base iPad 2022 alongside these new iPad Pros that now comes in silver, blue, yellow and pink. We'd love to see Apple bring some of those bold color options to the iPad Pro line for next year's models. After all, Apple isn't afraid to add some color to the iPhone 14 Pro models.

iPad Pro 2022 vs. iPad Pro 2021: Display

Unfortunately, it appears Apple has left the displays on the iPad Pro 2022 unchanged from last year's models. The 11-inch iPad Pro 2022 ships with an 11-inch Liquid Retina (2388 x1668 pixels) display, while the larger and more expensive 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2022 comes with the same 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR (2732 x 2048 pixels) mini-LED screen. 

iPad Pro 2021 (12.9-inch)

The mini-LED display on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2021 (pictured) is gorgeous in person, so we'd hoped Apple would bring it to the 11-inch model this time around. C'est la vie. (Image credit: Tom's Guide/Henry T. Casey)

This is a little disappointing because we were hoping that even if Apple didn't have a display upgrade — dare we dream of OLED? — the company would at least start offering the 11-inch iPad Pro 2022 with the same higher-res mini-LED display as its larger 12.9-inch sibling. Sadly, that didn't pan out. As for OLED displays, those aren't expected to arrive for the iPad Pro until 2024.

iPad Pro 2022 vs. iPad Pro 2021: M2 vs. M1 performance

The Apple M2 chip is the big new upgrade for the iPad Pro 2022, and Apple claims its 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU are up to 15% and 35% faster, respectively, than the M1-equipped iPad Pro 2021. 

(Image credit: Apple via YouTube)

The addition of M2 means that the iPad Pro 2022 is capable of something no previous iPad was: ProRes video capture. Last year's model was only capable of transcoding ProRes video footage, and thanks to the power of M2 the iPad Pro 2022 is reportedly capable of transcoding ProRes footage up to 300% faster than the iPad Pro 2021.

iPad Pro 2022 vs. iPad Pro 2021: Cameras

The new iPad Pro 2022s have basically the same camera array as last year's models. The new Pros come with two cameras on the back, a 12MP (ƒ/1.8 aperture) Wide camera and a 10MP ( ƒ/2.4 aperture) Ultra Wide camera with a broader 125-degree field of view. 

The iPad Pro's rear cameras are also capable of capturing 1080p/4K video at up to 60 frames per second, or ProRes video in 4K at 30fps (though the base iPad Pros with 128GB of storage can only record ProRes in 1080p) — again, this is a first for the iPad.

iPad Pro 2021 (12.9-inch) review: Center Stage

Center Stage debuted on last year's iPad Pro 2021, and we appreciated how effective it is at intelligently tracking and cropping the shot as speaker(s) move around. (Image credit: Tom's Guide/Henry T. Casey)

Up front, the iPad Pro 2022 packs a 12MP Ultra Wide (ƒ/2.4 aperture) Ultra Wide camera with a 122-degree field of view. It can capture video in 1080p at up to 60 fps, while once again supporting Apple's Center Stage auto-tracking feature.

iPad Pro 2022 vs. iPad Pro 2021: Connectivity

The iPad Pro 2022 looks awfully similar to last year's model, but one of the areas where it improves upon its predecessor is connectivity.

For starters, the new iPad Pro 2022 ships with support for Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax) Bluetooth 5.3. That's more advanced than the Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 support we got on last year's models. Put simply it means the new iPad Pro 2022 is more capable of taking advantage of the extra bandwidth afforded by Wi-Fi 6E. For more information on what's different, check out our guide to Wi-Fi 6 vs Wi-Fi 6E.

Like last year's model, the new iPad Pro 2022 also comes with optional 5G connectivity. The ability to connect over 5G means that you should expect faster speeds and better coverage when not connected to a Wi-Fi source. Still, there are a lot of complicating factors that can influence your speeds over cellular networks. For more details on the difference, check out our guide to 5G vs. 4G.

iPad Pro 2022 vs. iPad Pro 2021: Apple Pencil & Keyboard

The new iPad Pro 2022 supports the latest 2nd Gen Apple Pencil and the latest Apple Magic Keyboard, just like last year's iPad Pro 2021. This is great because it means if you own one of those peripherals, it should work just fine with a new 2022 iPad Pro.

Plus, there's a new 2nd Gen Apple Pencil feature coming in iPadOS 16 on iPad Pro 2022 that will detect when the stylus tip is up to 12mm above the display and show a preview of what will appear when you touch stylus to screen. Apple calls this new feature hover — or "hover with Apple Pencil (2nd generation)" to be precise — and it could be a game-changer for folks who like to use an Apple Pencil with their iPad Pro.

Hover isn't just limited to showing a preview of digital brushes, either; Apple is tapping into the feature to do things like make text fields in Scribble automatically expand when the Apple Pencil gets close to the screen, and it's making the feature available to devs so they can work it into their own apps.

However, to be clear, it looks like this new hover feature is only available on new iPad Pro 2022 models running iPadOS 16 and working in conjunction with a 2nd Gen Apple Pencil. Hopefully Apple finds a way of making this small-but-nifty feature available on more iPads going forward.

iPad Pro 2022 vs. iPad Pro 2021: Battery life

Both the 11- and 12.9-inch models of the new iPad Pro 2022 are rated by Apple as lasting up to 10 hours on a full battery, which is the same promise Apple made about last year's models.

Of course, those iPads ended up lasting a bit longer in our in-house battery tests, which task the tablet with endlessly surfing the web via Wi-Fi. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro lasted a little more than the promised 10 hours (10:48, to be precise), but the smaller 11-inch iPad Pro 2021 lasted a remarkable 13 hours and 32 minutes in our tests.

Hopefully we'll see the same or better performance out of the new 2022 models, but we'll have to wait and see.

iPad Pro 2022 vs. iPad Pro 2021: Outlook 

As you can see, Apple didn't change much about the new iPad Pro 2022 devices compared to last year's models, which are some of the best iPads on the market. This likely explains why the company announced them via press release instead of a big fancy stage show, and it makes the case for upgrading from last year's model a hard sell. 

That said, these look like the iPads to get if you're in the market for a new tablet. In fact, if you really care about connectivity or performance (especially ProRes video work) there are some compelling reasons to pick up a new iPad Pro 2022. The upgrade to an M2 chip, Wi-Fi 6E and optional 5G connectivity should make these new tablets a bit speedier than their predecessors in multiple ways, and the addition of ProRes video capture could be a boon for video editors looking to spend more time working on an iPad and less on a full-fledged PC.

That said, we won't know for sure how they compare until we get some in to test for ourselves. Stay tuned for our full reviews!

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.