iPad Pro 2022 could get huge performance boost — thanks to Apple’s first 3nm chip

iPad Pro 2021 (12.9-inch) review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide/Henry T. Casey)

Updated: A new iPad Pro is tipped for 2022, and it's rumored to sport a notch to help cut down on bezels.

Apple just released the brand new 2021 iPad Pro featuring the powerful M1 processor, but that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from churning out new iPad Pro 2022 news.

According to a report from Nikkei Asia, Apple will be one of the first companies to use chips built with a 3-nanometer production process by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), alongside Intel. 

The processor packs in more transistors than the current 5nm process used for Apple’s M1 chip, thus generating more processing power along with increased power savings. TSMC suggests that the process will result in 10-15% greater processing output while lowering power consumption by 25-30%.

Apple is reportedly testing its next-generation chip design with TSMC’s 3nm process with an eye to launch them in next year’s new iPad models. Since the iPad Pro is typically the model with the most powerful system-on-a-chip inside, it’s believed to be the target of these advanced upcoming chips.

Devices running the TSMC chips made with the 3nm process are expected to roll out in the second half of 2022. Nikkei Asia suggests that Apple’s 2022 iPhone models will use a 4nm chip instead, due to scheduling reasons.

The most recent iPad Pro models are the first to use Apple’s M1 chip, which was first introduced with its MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and Mac Mini revisions launched in late 2020. The chip replaced Intel processors within Apple’s computers, delivering greater processing power as well as improved laptop battery life. Apple’s recently refreshed iMac desktops now also use the M1.

Apple previously used a variant of its A-series iPhone chips for its iPad Pro tablets. The 2020 iPad Pro models used an A12Z Bionic processor, for example, although last fall’s upgraded iPad Air model instead used the very same A14 Bionic chip as the current iPhone 12 line.

With the power of the M1 chip and a dazzling new mini-LED display, Tom’s Guide reviewer Henry T. Casey described the new 12.9-inch 2021 iPad Pro as the “best, brightest, and fastest iPad ever.” The 11-inch iPad Pro lacks the new mini-LED screen tech, but also shaves $300 off the base price.

Andrew Hayward

Andrew Hayward is a freelance writer for Tom’s Guide who contributes laptop and other hardware reviews. He’s also the Culture Editor at crypto publication Decrypt covering the world of Web3. Andrew’s writing on games and tech has been published in more than 100 publications since 2006, including Rolling Stone, Vice, Polygon, Playboy, Stuff, and GamesRadar.