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iPad Pro 2021 release date just leaked — but we’re a bit skeptical

iPad Pro 2021
(Image credit: Apple)

After last week's Spring Loaded event from Apple, we know a lot more about the iPad Pro 2021. When the new tablet actually ships, though, is not one of those things.

Oh, we know that pre-orders on the iPad Pro 2021 start this Friday (April 30), with the 11-inch model starting at $799 and the 12.9-inch version available at $1,099. But Apple hasn't said when those models will hit stores, other than saying it will be during the second half of May.

A prominent Apple leaker thinks he has firm dates for the arrival of the iPad 2021. But forgive us if we're a little bit skeptical of this particular tip.

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The leak comes from Jon Prosser, and even he seems a little bit dubious about the information he's passed on via tweet. Prosser says he's been told that the 11-inch iPad Pro 2021 ships May 22, while the 12.9-inch model arrives a day earlier on May 21.

Apple's not above staggering the release dates of models, based on availability. It did so with the iPhone 12 launch last fall, when the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro shipped a few weeks before the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max. The staggered release was the result of supply chain issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Delaying launch of a particular model by a week or two makes sense. Delaying it by 24 hours does not. Even more curious, the May 22 date Prosser lists for the 11-inch iPad Pro 2021 falls on a Saturday. With Apple typically releasing products on Fridays, that's a strange date.

"Kinda weird," Prosser observes in his own tweeted rumor.

We're going to go out on a limb here and guess that if either of those two dates is accurate, it's likely to be the Friday, May 21 date. That would fall within Apple's guidance of a second half of May launch for the iPad Pro 2021 while also reflecting Apple's past practices on product releases. The following Friday, May 28, would also fall in that guidance, though it's the start of a three-day weekend in the U.S., and not necessarily a great time to launch a new product. (Not that there aren't a lot of best Memorial Day sales to keep track of.)

You can certainly understand why iPad fans are eager to get their hands on the new Pro models. Both the 11- and 12.9-inch versions of the iPad Pro 2021 are powered by Apple's M1 chip and include 5G connectivity if you opt for a cellular version of the tablet. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro uses miniLED technology to offer a bright Liquid Retina XDR, while the front cameras on both versions offer a Center Stage tracking feature to keep you in the shot on video calls.

Philip Michaels
Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics and old movies. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.