iPad Pro Generations

Noah Walker

iPad Pro M4 2024

The iPad Pro line has seen significant advancements since its introduction. Each generation brings new features and improved performance. From processing power upgrades to enhanced accessories, the evolution of the iPad Pro is impressive. The latest iPad Pro, launched in May 2024, includes an OLED display and a powerful M4 processor, making it a top choice for professionals.

Notable improvements include the Apple Pencil Pro, which offers better precision and functionality. The newest Magic Keyboard now includes function keys, enhancing productivity. These updates enhance the iPad Pro’s versatility. The Air model also saw upgrades, with the focus on blending performance with affordability.

For those comparing models, the newer generations clearly stand out. Detailed specifications and notable innovations, such as ProRes video capability, make these devices highly desirable. The performance, accessory compatibility, and cutting-edge features of recent iPad Pro models offer compelling reasons to upgrade.

A Look Back at Apple’s iPad Pro Evolution

First Generation (2015)

  • Sizes: 12.9 inches
  • Chip: A9X
  • Display: Retina Display
  • Notable Features: Introduced the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard
  • Key Points: The first iPad Pro set the stage for Apple’s high-performance tablet lineup, offering a larger screen and powerful performance for creative professionals and power users.

Second Generation (2017)

  • Sizes: 10.5 inches, 12.9 inches
  • Chip: A10X Fusion
  • Display: ProMotion technology (120Hz refresh rate)
  • Notable Features: Improved Apple Pencil responsiveness, brighter display
  • Key Points: The second generation brought significant performance and display upgrades, making it a more compelling option for artists and designers.

Third Generation (2018)

  • Sizes: 11 inches, 12.9 inches
  • Chip: A12X Bionic
  • Display: Liquid Retina Display, Face ID
  • Notable Features: Redesigned with slimmer bezels, USB-C port
  • Key Points: This generation marked a significant design overhaul, switching to Face ID and adopting the more versatile USB-C port.

Fourth Generation (2020)

  • Sizes: 11 inches, 12.9 inches
  • Chip: A12Z Bionic
  • Display: Liquid Retina Display, ProMotion
  • Notable Features: LiDAR scanner for improved AR experiences, dual camera system
  • Key Points: The LiDAR scanner added a new dimension to AR applications, and the improved camera system made it a more capable content creation tool.

Fifth Generation (2021)

  • Sizes: 11 inches, 12.9 inches
  • Chip: M1
  • Display: Liquid Retina XDR display (12.9-inch only)
  • Notable Features: Thunderbolt port, 5G cellular connectivity
  • Key Points: The move to Apple’s M1 chip brought desktop-class performance to the iPad Pro, further blurring the lines between tablets and laptops.

Sixth Generation (2022)

  • Sizes: 11 inches, 12.9 inches
  • Chip: M2
  • Display: Liquid Retina XDR display (12.9-inch only), mini-LED backlighting (12.9-inch only)
  • Notable Features: Apple Pencil hover, ProRes video capture
  • Key Points: The sixth generation offered incremental updates, including the M2 chip for even faster performance and new features for creative professionals.

Seventh Generation (2024)

  • Sizes: 11 inches, 13 inches
  • Chip: M4
  • Display: OLED (both models)
  • Notable Features: Apple Pencil Pro, Magic Keyboard with function keys, increased RAM
  • Key Points: The seventh generation is a major upgrade, featuring an all-new OLED display, increased RAM for enhanced multitasking, and a more powerful M4 chip.
GenerationYearSizesChipDisplayNotable Features
1st201512.9 inchesA9XRetina DisplayApple Pencil, Smart Keyboard
2nd201710.5 inches, 12.9 inchesA10X FusionProMotion (120Hz)Improved Apple Pencil, brighter display
3rd201811 inches, 12.9 inchesA12X BionicLiquid Retina, Face IDRedesigned, USB-C port
4th202011 inches, 12.9 inchesA12Z BionicLiquid Retina, ProMotionLiDAR scanner, dual camera
5th202111 inches, 12.9 inchesM1Liquid Retina XDR (12.9-inch)Thunderbolt port, 5G
6th202211 inches, 12.9 inchesM2Liquid Retina XDR, mini-LED (12.9-inch)Apple Pencil hover, ProRes video
7th202411 inches, 13 inchesM4OLED (both models)Apple Pencil Pro, Magic Keyboard w/ functions, more RAM

Key Takeaways

  • The latest iPad Pro includes an OLED display and M4 processor.
  • New accessories like the Apple Pencil Pro and Magic Keyboard increase functionality.
  • The 2024 model offers significant performance and feature upgrades.

Evolution of the iPad Pro

The iPad Pro has seen significant changes since its launch in 2015, with improvements in design, performance, and multimedia capabilities that make each new model a substantial upgrade over its predecessor.

Design and Display Advancements

The first iPad Pro debuted in 2015 with a 12.9-inch display. In 2016, a 9.7-inch model joined the lineup. By 2018, Apple introduced the 11-inch version, retaining the 12.9-inch option.

The introduction of the Liquid Retina display brought higher resolution and better color accuracy. ProMotion technology introduced 120Hz refresh rates, making interactions smoother. The True Tone feature adjusted the display based on ambient light. More recently, the 2021 iPad Pro models showcased XDR display technology on the 12.9-inch variant, enhancing brightness and contrast for HDR content.

Performance Enhancements

Performance improvements have been significant over the years. The original iPad Pro from 2015 utilized the A9X chip. In 2016, the A9X was succeeded by models up to the A12Z Bionic by 2020, allowing for better multitasking and faster processing times.

In 2021, the iPad Pro models adopted the M1 chip, significantly improving performance and battery efficiency. This leap enabled the device to handle more demanding tasks, such as video editing and extensive application use. By 2022, the M2 chip once again upped the ante, providing even more power for professional workflows and creative projects.

Camera and Multimedia Improvements

The camera systems saw major upgrades starting from basic sensors to more sophisticated setups. Early models featured simple front and rear cameras. By 2020, the iPad Pro included a 12MP wide camera and a 10MP ultra-wide lens.

Pro-level video features like 4K HDR recording became standard. Center Stage, introduced in 2021, kept users centered in the frame during video calls. Audio enhancements, with improved speaker systems and microphone quality, also appeared in newer models. These advancements made the iPad Pro a versatile tool for media consumption and production.

Connectivity and Accessories

The iPad Pro offers extensive options for connectivity and accessory support, expanding its versatility. It includes support for various keyboards and styluses and provides multiple ports for device compatibility.

Pencil and Keyboard Support

The Apple Pencil enhances the iPad Pro’s functionality, particularly for artists and note-takers. There are two generations of the Apple Pencil. The second-generation model charges magnetically by attaching to the iPad’s side and offers superior functionality with tighter screen integration.

For typing, the Smart Keyboard and Magic Keyboard are popular choices. The Magic Keyboard includes a trackpad, making it a strong option for users who need laptop-like capabilities. The Smart Keyboard connects through the Smart Connector, providing ease of use without additional charging.

Port Changes and Inter-device Compatibility

Recent iPad Pro models have shifted from Lightning to USB-C, which allows for faster data transfer and broader accessory compatibility. This change makes it easier to connect to external displays and storage devices.

Support for 5G connectivity and enhanced Wi-Fi options ensure that the iPad Pro remains highly connected regardless of environment. Bluetooth support also allows for a wide range of peripherals, from keyboards to headphones, increasing the device’s versatility. This helps users integrate the iPad Pro seamlessly into their daily workflows.