iPad Pro 2024 — 5 biggest expected upgrades

iPad Pro 2022
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Apple hasn’t announced the iPad Pro 2024, but rumors and reports suggest we could see it in May — just before the company’s big WWDC 2024 event. 

Though all we've heard so far is rumors and hearsay, it’s a safe bet Apple will inevitably release an updated version of its premium tablet. This is especially true since we didn’t see any new iPads in 2023. The time is right for a new iPad Pro — which is rumored to receive significant upgrades along with the rest of the iPad line.

So far, we’ve heard that the iPad Pro 2024 will (finally) get an OLED panel and a landscape camera. The giant slate is also expected to pack an Apple M3 chip and sport a thinner design. We’ve also heard the Magic Keyboard peripheral is getting updated to help the iPad Pro function more like the best MacBooks.

Here are the 5 biggest rumored upgrades for the iPad Pro so far.

OLED display 

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Screen enthusiasts like our own Dave Meikleham have been clamoring for an OLED iPad Pro upgrade, and it seems it’s about to happen. Apple experts like Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman have said an OLED iPad Pro is coming for some time. Now, iPad Pro 2024’s biggest upgrade may have been confirmed by the iPadOS 17.5 beta.

9to5Mac dove into the beta’s code and discovered references to four unreleased iPad models. The models in question are labeled as iPad 16,3, iPad 16,4, iPad 16,5 and iPad 16,6. The site believes these are identifiers for the rumored iPad Pro 2024 and correspond to two different model sizes in Wi-Fi and cellular models.

The iPadOS 17.5 beta code also suggests those iPads will launch with an OLED display and that the two different-sized screens will come from different manufacturers. Regarding that last point, rumors say LG will supply the 12.9-inch panels of the larger iPad Pro while LG and Samsung will produce the 11-inch panels of the smaller variant.

An OLED panel would be a huge improvement over the current mini-LED panel in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. According to Bloomberg reporter and Apple tipster Mark Gurman, the panel should be “crisper and brighter” and “reproduce colors more accurately.” An OLED panel would also place the iPad Pro’s display on more even ground with the Samsung Galaxy S9 Ultra which also sports the same panel technology.

Apple M3 chip

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Another big upgrade for the iPad Pro 2024 is the inclusion of an M3 chip. This isn’t shocking considering how the current model has an M2 processor. That said, an M3-powered iPad Pro would make the 2024 model the most powerful iPad ever.

The Apple M3 chip utilizes TSMC’s 3nm process and brings big improvements in efficiency and speed. This is something we’ve seen firsthand when we tested and benchmarked the MacBook Pro 14-inch M3, MacBook Air 13-inch M3 and MacBook Air 15-inch M3. While gains between M2 and M3 aren’t earth-shattering, the leap from M1 to M3 is huge — with up to 60% faster performance.

Folks have been talking about the iPad Pro as a laptop replacement for years. The M2 iPad Pro brought us closer to that reality, but it’s possible the iPad Pro 2024 could see it come true. Of course, there are other factors involved, such as making iPadOS behave more like macOS, and improvements to the Magic Keyboard (more on that shortly). Regardless, an M3-powered iPad Pro would be a huge deal.

Landscape camera 

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iPads have historically had the front camera positioned on the short side of the display. That may have been fine when Apple first launched its tablets, but these days, people tend to use their tablets in landscape or horizontal mode. Having the front camera positioned on the tablet's right or left side (depending on how you hold or place it) isn't intuitive when it's horizontal.

Thankfully, a rumor suggests the iPad Pro 2024 could take a design cue from the iPad 10 in the form of a landscape-oriented camera on the front of the tablet.

Apple leaker Instant Digital posted an alleged image of the iPad Pro to the Chinese social media platform Weibo (via MacRumors). The image in question shows that the iPad Pro 2024 will have its entire TrueDepth camera array to the right of the tablet, with the microphone remaining on the top but newly centered.

Back in January of this year, the iPadOS 17.4 beta code hinted that the iPad Pro’s Face ID sensors were being relocated from the top of the device when held in portrait, and to the top when held in landscape. "During ‌Face ID‌ setup, ‌iPad‌ needs to be in landscape with the camera at the top of the screen," the code read.

Since the iPad 10 now has its front camera up top in portrait mode, it wouldn’t be surprising if the iPad Pro followed suit.

Thinner design 

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The iPad Pro 2024 isn’t expected to receive major design changes to its overall profile. However, leaked iPad Pro CAD renders (via PocketNow) suggest Apple plans to make its largest tablet thinner than previous models.

According to rumors, the 11-inch iPad Pro 2024 will be 0.20 inches thick compared to the 0.23 inches of the current model. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is expected to drop from 0.25 to 0.19 inches thick. That might not seem like much, but it could make the giant tablets easier to hold for longer periods.

This ties back to the rumored OLED display. OLED screens are inherently thin so it makes sense the new iPad Pro will be thinner as a result. This should also affect the tablet’s weight. Right now, the 11-inch iPad weighs just a bit over 1 pound while its bigger 12.9-inch counterpart can weigh as much as 1.5 pounds. A reduced weight would also make it easier to hold the iPad Pro for longer.

Upgraded Magic Keyboard 

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An Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro is an essential peripheral if you use the tablet for work or simply don’t like typing on the tablet's on-screen digital keyboard. We haven’t seen any major changes to the Magic Keyboard in quite some time, but it seems it’s finally getting one just in time for the iPad Pro’s release.

Mark Gurman reports that the Magic Keyboard will sport a look that’s reminiscent of an Apple laptop. To that end, the peripheral will reportedly get an aluminum finish to give it the appearance of a MacBook. It will also have a larger touchpad that’s more akin to an Apple notebook. This would further realize the dream of making the iPad Pro a laptop replacement I mentioned above.

Speaking of iPad Pro peripherals, rumors say the Apple Pencil 3 is launching this year. Based on what 9to5Mac discovered in the aforementioned iPadOS 17.5 beta code, there’s evidence of a new “squeeze” feature for an as-yet-unreleased Apple Pencil. This could very well be the rumored Apple Pencil 3. The site also suggests this stylus could feature interchangeable magnetic tips. The Apple Pencil 3 could also work with the Vision Pro headset.

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Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.