Apple revealed the third generation of the iPad Pro 11 during an event in April 2021. The iPad Pro 11 (3rd gen) replaces the second generation model from 2020 and sits alongside the larger iPad Pro 12.9 – now in its fifth generation.
How does the new iPad Pro 11 compare to the old iPad Pro 11 though? We’ve run their specs up against each other to help you decide which is the right one for you, or whether you should upgrade.
What’s the same?
- Design and display
- Battery and audio
- Rear camera
- Colour options
There are a number of similarities between the iPad Pro 11 (2021) and the iPad Pro 11 (2020), including the overall design and measurements. Both models are available in the same Silver and Space Grey colour options and they both feature aluminium frames with squared edges and very slim bezels surrounding the display.
The top right corner of the rear in both models features a square camera housing, housing the same 12-megapixel wide and 10-megapixel ultra wide angle sensors across the two devices. Both models also come with an 11-inch Liquid Retina display with a 2388 x 1668 resolution for a pixel density of 264ppi and a max brightness of 600nits.
Other areas that stay the same across the two models include the four-speaker audio arrangement, 10-hour battery life, support for the second generation Apple Pencil, Face ID techonology and the LIDAR sensor.
Despite offering a number of similarities, the iPad Pro 11 (3rd gen) and iPad 11 Pro (2nd gen) do differ in a number of areas too, unsurpisingly.
As is typically the case with a new model, the iPad Pro 11 (3rd gen) comes with an upgraded chip. In this case, it’s the Apple M1 with 64-bit desktop class architecture. There’s an 8-core CPU, 8-core graphics and next-gen Neural Engine. There’s also a choice of 8GB RAM or 16GB RAM.
The second generation model meanwhile, runs on the A12Z Bionic chip with 64-bit desktop-class architecture and Neural Engine. There are no RAM options.
The third generation iPad Pro 11 comes with 5G capabilties. Both iPad Pro 11 models are available in Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi and Cellular models, but while the 2020 model offers 4G connectivity, the 2021 model comes with 5G capabilities.
The third generation iPad Pro 11 comes with a 12-megapixel front TrueDepth with Ultra Wide camera , while the second generation model offers a 7-megapixel standard TrueDepth camera.
The new front camera on the 2021 iPad Pro 11 allows for extra features, including one called Centre Stage where the camera will track and follow you during a video call, like Facebook Portal offers. There’s also 2x optical zoom out and extended dynamic range for video up to 30fps on the third gen model.
The third-generation iPad Pro 11 is slightly lighter than its predecessor, weighing 466g compared to 471g in the Wi-Fi only model, and 470g compred to 473g in the Wi-Fi and Cellular model.
The iPad Pro 11 (2021) comes in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB and 2TB storage options across both Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi and Cellular. The iPad Pro 11 (2020) doesn’t come in a 2TB option.
Thunderbolt/USB 4 support
The iPad Pro 11 (3rd gen) is charged via Thunderbolt / USB 4, while the iPad Pro 11 (2nd Gen) is charged via USB-C.
The Apple iPad Pro 11 (2021) and the iPad Pro 11 (2020) feature the same design, along with the same rear camera, battery, audio capabilties, colour options and display, so for some, there will be no need to upgrade and you could save yourself some money opting for the older device if the newer features don’t matter too much to you.
Naturally there are some differences though. These differences come in the form of 5G capabilities on the third generation iPad Pro 11, along with the new M1 chip, RAM options, extra 2TB storage option, new front camera and Thunderbolt charging. If they are all important to you, the third gen model is likely worth upgrading to, or choosing over the 2nd gen model but make sure those upgrades are worth spending the extra cash for you.