Apple’s iPad Pro 2021 looks like it’s getting closer to launch as another leak has popped up teasing how the high-end tablet could have an upgraded A14X chip.
Digging into the code for the new iOS 14.5 code beta, 9to5Mac discovered mention of a chip GPU called “13G.” Given Apple uses such codenames internally for its chipsets, 9to5Mac reckons this is linked to a new chipset, thought to be an upgraded take on the A14 Bionic found in the iPhone 12 range.
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As 13G hasn’t popped up in currently available iOS devices, it’s a reasonably safe bet that this is a reference to a GPU slated for Apple’s next A-series chip. And given the rumors around new iPads making their debut this Spring, it’s likely that the chip will be an “X” variant. Those are normally boosted versions of the latest standard A-series chip and are used in iPad Pros.
An iPad Pro with an enhanced A14 Bionic is hardly surprising, as Apple always upgrades the chip with each new iPad generation. But 9to5Mac also reportedly discovered that the A14X will be based on the T8103’s architecture; that’s the codename for the Apple M1 chip found in the MacBook Pro M1 and MacBook Air M1.
That’s exciting, as the M1 chip has delivered impressive performance for Apple’s first in-house laptop chip in decades. While the form factor of an iPad isn't likely to match MacBook Air or Pro-grade performance, it could deliver a significant performance boost over the A14 Bionic.
While the A14 Bionic, or indeed the current-generation iPad Pro, is far from slow, a dose of M1 performance could really see the iPad Pro 2021 become a serious contender for a MacBook alternative, especially when paired with the Magic Keyboard, which could also get an upgrade.
Aside from a specs boost, rumors have pointed towards the iPad Pro potentially making use of a mini-LED display. That would allow it to have a boost in colors and contrast over the LCD display it currently uses, but not go down the route of using an expensive OLED panel.
We're not expecting a huge design change, though a Touch ID built into the power button, as seen in the latest iPad Air, would be good. But overall it looks like a lot of the changes to the iPad Pro will be below the chassis.
Time will tell if these rumors come to fruition. But we’re expecting to hear more in the Apple April event.