iPad Pro 2022 vs iPad Pro 2021: The best just got (slightly) better

Apple iPad Pro 2022 and iPad Pro 2021 press images on a split-color background
(Image credit: Future / Apple)

The iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) and iPad Pro 11 (2022) have landed, replacing the iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) and iPad Pro 11 (2021) that launched some 17 months prior.

There was no big show though, just a press release, and the low-key nature of the announcement tells you one simple thing about these new models: they’re very similar indeed to their immediate predecessors. Don’t expect any bold new features or components here.

With that said, there are a couple of important distinctions to draw between the two most recent iPad Pro generations. Here’s how they compare, spec for spec, and based on our experience reviewing them.

iPad Pro 2022 vs iPad Pro 2021 price and availability 

iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) on table

An iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) (Image credit: Future)

The iPad Pro 2022 launched on October 18, 2022 in two sizes. The 11-inch starts from $799 / £899 / AU$1,399, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $1,099 / £1,249 / AU$1,899. Adding cellular connectivity and storage to both will bump those figures up significantly, however.

In both cases, the prices mentioned are for the 128GB Wi-Fi-only models, but you can add cellular connectivity and scale the storage capacities up to 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and even 2TB. If you want a top-spec 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2022 with 2TB of storage and cellular connectivity, expect to pay an eye-watering $2,399 / £2,679 / AU$4,099.

The iPad Pro 2021 hit shops on May 21, 2021, and also arrived in the same two sizes. The 11-inch model started from $799 / £749 / AU$1,199, while the iPad Pro 2021 12.9-inch started from $1,099 / £999 / AU$1,649.

Again, you could add cellular connectivity and more storage, with the range topping out at the $2,399 / £2,149 / AU$3,549 4G-ready iPad Pro 2021 12.9-inch, with 2TB of storage.

As you can see, pricing has stayed the same in the US, but has been bumped up significantly for the iPad Pro 2022 in the UK and Australia, thanks to adverse global economic conditions.

If you're looking to pick up any notable iPad Pro at a decent price, keep your eyes trained on our best iPad Deals roundup, which we're constantly updating with the best Apple tablet discounts, right across the range.

iPad Pro 2022 vs iPad Pro 2021 design

iPad Pro 12.9 2021

An iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) (Image credit: TechRadar)

The iPad Pro 2022 and the iPad Pro 2021 sport flat-out identical designs. We’re talking genuine spot-the-difference stuff here.

This is evidenced by the fact that both 11-inch and 12.9-inch variants have identical dimensions of 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm and 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4mm, respectively. It’s the same when it comes to weight, with both 11-inchers weighing 466g, and both 12.9-inchers weighing 682g. You can add the same 3 or 4g for the cellular models too.

In terms of the look of the two generations, well, that’s pretty much the same too. These are the same slim all-aluminum tablets, with the same flat edges. All of which means that any accessories (such as cases) bought for one generation should work perfectly with the next, no matter how tight the tolerances.

It’s a shame Apple didn’t, at least, get a little more adventurous with the color schemes for the iPad Pro 2022, though. Just like the iPad Pro 2021, it comes in silver and Space Gray. Apple introduced loads of colors with the new iPad 10.9 (2022), so why not here?

iPad Pro 2022 vs iPad Pro 2021 display

iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) on table

An iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) (Image credit: Future)

Just as the 2022 and 2021 iPad Pro models look identical, so too Apple has stuck with exactly the same displays.

For the smaller iPad Pro variants, that means an 11-inch 2388 x 1668 IPS LCD with a 120Hz ProMotion adaptive refresh rate, and a typical top brightness of 600 nits.

The larger models use a display that’s unequivocally superior than their compact brothers. This is a 12.9-inch 2048 x 2732 mini-LED LCD, which again comes with a 120Hz ProMotion adaptive refresh rate, but which benefits from a much higher typical brightness of 1000 nits. It can also stretch to 1600 nits in peak scenarios.

In a nutshell, mini-LED displays offer brighter, more vibrant, and more contrasty images than straight IPS LCDs. HDR content, in particular, looks richer on these larger iPads.

The only real divisions here, then, lie between the two distinct iPad Pro sizes, rather than between the two generations.

iPad Pro 2022 vs iPad Pro 2021 camera

iPad Pro 12.9 2021

An iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) (Image credit: TechRadar)

Warming to its low-key theme, Apple has left the iPad Pro 2021’s camera system well alone for the iPad Pro 2022.

All four of these tablets have the same dual-camera set-up on the back, which includes a 12MP wide sensor and a 10MP ultra-wide. These are assisted in each case by a ToF 3D LiDAR scanner, for highly precise depth detection, primarily used for object scanning and AR (augmented reality) experiences.

There are also 12MP selfie cameras all round, which can handle face unlocking and Center Stage face tracking during video calls.

The only camera differences come about due to the provision of that new M2 processor, which enables some advanced video capture capabilities. We’ll discuss these in the next section.

iPad Pro 2022 vs iPad Pro 2021 specs and performance

iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) on table

An iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) (Image credit: Future)

And so we come to the major difference between the iPad Pro 2022 and the iPad Pro 2021. While the two 2021 models run on Apple’s custom M1 chip, the two 2022 models run on the newer Apple M2.

Both the M1 and the M2 pack 8-core CPUs, but the M2 has a 10-core GPU to the M1’s 8-core. While Apple reckons that the M2 CPU is only 15% faster than the M1 equivalent, it says that the newer chip’s GPU is a whole 35% faster.

The iPad Pro 2021 was fast enough in everyday tasks, while there’s no game available on the App Store that can even approach the limits of any of these tablets. So while we found the iPad Pro 2022 immensely powerful, it's power that most people won't really need in general use.

However, the new M2 gives the iPad Pro 2022 an improved ‘Media Engine’ and superior image processing chops. This allows it to record ProRes video, whereas last year’s model could only transcode it. Meanwhile, the M2 can transcode ProRes footage significantly faster than the M1.

One other spec bump relates to the iPad Pro 2022’s connectivity. This year’s model comes with Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, and (in the case of the cellular models) 5G. That compares favorably to the iPad Pro 2021’s Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, and 4G, respectively.

The iPad Pro 2022 also benefits from enhanced Apple Pencil 2 connectivity. If you’ve got Apple’s latest stylus, you’ll find that the latest iPad Pro’s screen can detect when the nib gets within 12mm.

Apple has taken advantage of this with a number of hovering interactions. When you hover the Pencil over a text box, for example, it will expand. Talking of which, the new iPad Pro 2022 has enhanced performance when recognizing handwriting.

You can also use Apple Pencil Hover for brush previews in supported creative apps.

iPad Pro 2022 vs iPad Pro 2021 battery

iPad Pro 12.9 2021

An iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) (Image credit: TechRadar)

Apple is making the same claim of 10 hours of battery life for the iPad Pro 2022 as it did for the iPad Pro 2021. That should come as no surprise.

Given the identical size and weight of these two iPad Pro generations, they almost certainly use the exact same batteries as before. That would mean a 10,758mAh cell for the 12.9-inch models, and a 7,538mAh cell for the 11-inch models.

In practice we found that the iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) seemed slightly easier to get 10 hours of life out of than the iPad Pro 12.9 (2022), but in both cases life varies a lot based on what you use the tablet for.


Say what you like about Apple, it doesn’t tend to make a huge song and dance about genuinely incremental upgrades (cue iPhone 14/iPhone 13S jokes).

Sure enough, the company isn’t shouting about the iPad Pro 2022, because it’s barely any different to the iPad Pro 2021 before it. The new premium tablet range has got the exact same design, display, camera system, and – quite likely – battery as its predecessor.

The differences are there, however. There’s been a marked improvement in performance, as well as superior Apple Pencil integration, and better connectivity, across the board.

We would have liked to have seen some more meaningful improvements here, but the simple takeaway from all this is that the best tablet on the market by some margin has just gotten even better.

These both rank among the best iPads and the best tablets, but the 2022 model is the slightly better option - if you can stomach the price.