Apple held its Spring Loaded event on April 20 and one of the biggest announcements was the iPad Pro 2021.
The tablet is packed with plenty of upgrades for 2021, including new display tech, a powerful processor and 5G-support.
But, how does it compare to Apple’s other tablets? Read on to discover all the similarities and differences between the iPad Pro 2021 and the iPad Air 4.
You can also check out our guides to the best tablets and the best iPads to see our recommendations from the tablets available now.
iPad Pro 2021 vs iPad Air 4 price and availability – How much do they cost?
Prices for the 11-inch iPad Pro 2021 start at £749/$799 for the Wi-Fi model or £899/$999 for Wi-Fi and cellular. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at £999/$1099 for the Wi-Fi model or £1149/$1299 for Wi-Fi and cellular.
Both come with 128GB of storage, but 256GB, 512GB, 1TB and 2TB configurations are also available if you’re happy to pay a bit more.
The 10.9-inch iPad Air 4, on the other hand, starts at £579/$599 for the Wi-Fi model or £709/$729 for the Wi-Fi and cellular model with 64GB of storage. The tablet comes in 64GB and 256GB configurations.
To compare the two tablets with 256GB of storage, the iPad Air will cost you £729/$749 for Wi-Fi or £859/$879 for Wi-Fi and cellular. The same 256GB will set you back £849/$899 for the 11-inch iPad Pro with Wi-Fi or £999/$1099 with Wi-Fi and cellular. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro costs £1099/$1199 for 256GB with Wi-Fi or £1249/$1399 with Wi-Fi and cellular.
This means you’ll save somewhere between £100 and £400 by opting for the Air over the iPad Pro 2021 with the same storage and Wi-Fi/cellular support.
The iPad Pro 2021 will be available from the second half of May, with orders opening on April 30. The iPad Air 4 is available to buy now.
iPad Pro 2021 vs iPad Air 4 design and display – What do they look like?
The iPad Pro is available in 12.9-inch and 11-inch sizes, with the 12.9-inch version seeing the biggest upgrade to its display.
Not only will the larger Pro take advantage of Apple’s new Liquid Retina XDR display, but it’ll also trade out it’s LCD display for a mini-LED screen that packs over 10,000 LEDs. Apple claims the display can reach up to 1000 nits of full-screen brightness, with 1600 nits of peak brightness and a 1 million-to-1 contrast ratio.
The 11-inch model will keep its Liquid Retina display which can hit a peak brightness of 600 nits. Both iPad Pros feature Apple’s 120Hz ProMotion tech, P3 colour and True Tone support.
Like the 11-inch Pro, the iPad Air 4 packs a Liquid Retina display. The 10.9-inch tablet also supports P3 colour and True Tone, and can reach a slightly lower 500 nits of brightness.
Beyond the display, both iPads sport slim bezels and are equipped with Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard support. The iPad Air comes in five eye-catching finishes (Silver, Space Grey, Rose Gold, Green and Sky Blue), while the iPad Pro is limited to just Silver and Space Grey.
iPad Pro 2021 vs iPad Air 4 specs – How powerful are they?
The iPad Pro marks a milestone for Apple’s tablet range as the first to be powered by the company’s own M1 chip.
Apple claims the Apple Silicon processor will deliver 50 percent faster CPU performance compared to the A12Z Bionic, along with 40% faster GPU speeds, making it “the fastest device of its kind”.
The iPad Air 4, on the other hand, is powered by the A14 chip found in the latest iPhone 12. We were impressed by the Air’s performance when we tested it out.
Deputy and Mobile Editor Max Parker said, “The iPad Air 4 is supremely capable in pretty much every task. There’s not a game on the App Store that I have tried that’ll cause any issues, and even tasks like 4K video editing are handled with ease”.
However, we found the A12Z in the previous Pro offered better graphics performance, so we’d expect the M1-powered Pro 2021 to take this even further.
The iPad Pro includes up to 16GB of memory and 2TB of storage, while the Air is limited to 4GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage. The cellular iPad Pro also supports 5G, while the iPad Air is stuck with the slower 4G.
As far as connectivity goes, the iPad Pro 2021 features a Thunderbolt 4-compatible USB-C port. The Air uses USB-C.
iPad Pro 2021 vs iPad Air 4 camera – What camera do they have?
The iPad Pro features a pair of 10-megapixel ultra-wide angle and 12-megapixel wide angle cameras on its rear, along with the LiDAR scanner.
The Pro packs a new TrueDepth camera system on its front, with a 12-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera equipped with Centre Stage. The video conferencing feature uses the camera’s wide field of view to pan and zoom out, ensuring you stay in frame during calls. The Pro can record up to 4K video at 60fps, and slo-mo in 1080p at up to 240fps.
The iPad Air also features a 12-megapixel wide angle camera on its rear with an aperture of f/1.8. On the front, there’s a 7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera with an aperture of f/2.2. Like the iPad Pro, the Air can capture up to 4K video at 60fps, as well as slo-mo in 1080p at up to 240fps.
iPad Pro 2021 vs iPad Air 4 early verdict
The iPad Pro 2021 marked some major upgrades for Apple’s premium tablet range, including the introduction of its M1 chip, new display tech (for the 12.9-inch model) and the introduction of 5G across the Pro line. The Pro also benefits from Centre Stage video calling.
If you want the best of the best when it comes to specs and features, opt for the Pro. If you’re happy with the Air’s (still blazingly fast) A14 chip, Liquid Retina display and colourful design, the Air is a great way to save some cash on your next tablet.