However, leaks now suggest we don't need to fear a price increase: leaker LeaksApplePro, writing for iDropNews (opens in new tab), has provided some prices that we can expect for the next iPad Pro range, and they're lower than we expected.
Apparently, the 11-inch version will cost $799 for its 128GB storage and 5G-enabled version, while the 12.9-inch version will cost $1,099 for that same configuration. Those prices are surprisingly much cheaper than what the predecessors cost - the iPad Pro 11 (2021) went for $999 for those same options, while the iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) was $1,299.
Now, that price discrepancy could indicate that there's been an error on the leaker's part - maybe the information they saw was for a different device or currency translated from a different source. But the lower cost is less likely to be an error than you might believe.
A cheaper iPad Pro?
We're expecting the 2022 models to have the exact same design as the 2021 ones... and therefore the same as the 2020 and 2018 models. Yeah, Apple hasn't exactly varied up the way its pro-grade tablets look too much.
But that means, after five years of using the same manufacturing processes, Apple doesn't exactly need to spend as much on R&D or design to work on new builds, so can save money in that department.
Perhaps, the saved money there will offset the increased price that Apple's new M2 chipset will incur - after all, the company has already made a fair few of its own of these silicon engines at this point, so it's not likely to be as expensive as the debut M1.
It's also possible that some of the more outlandish leaks we'd heard - like mini LED panels on all the tablets and MagSafe compatibility - won't actually come true.
It's worth pointing out too that the leaker thinks that the rumored huge-screen 14-inch iPad Pro, which would be Apple's largest ever, won't come straight away, and might instead launch in early 2023, for an even higher price of around $1,400.
A tempting MacBook Pro alternative
With a roughly 13-inch screen, M2 chipset and long-lasting battery, the iPad Pro 12.9 for 2022 could be a tempting alternative to the MacBook Pro for certain users.
The tablet will, according to the leak, undercut the $1,299 / £1,299 / AU$1,999 laptop, and will likely also be slimmer, with a touchscreen and Apple Pencil support giving it an edge for creative users. It also likely won't have a few issues that we saw on the MacBook Pro, like its low-res front camera.
It won't be for everybody, and the lack of a built-in keyboard in the iPad Pro, as well as its lack of gaming power and relatively limited viewing angles, may make it a worse choice for certain types of users.
In reality, the choice of an iPad Pro vs a MacBook Pro likely comes down to your preference of laptop vs tablet. There are pros and cons of both, and it depends on your particular use case.
But if the price is indeed lower, with enhanced features like MagSafe compatibility, then its rivalling of the MacBook will be enhanced and that will likely make it one of the best iPads to buy.