iPad Pro 2021 Review – M1 + Mini LEDs!
We have the 12.9 inch model and then we have the 11 inch model, and i would say this is the first time in years, like since 2018, since we’ve had some substantial hardware, improvements for ipad pros, so let’s just jump into it. The first thing the headlining feature is the liquid retina xdr display on the big boy, so this only exists on the 12.9 inch model and it’s apple’s first device with mini led display tech. So many leds refer to backlighting technology it’s, not the rgb, matrix there’s. Nothing to do with the actual pixels themselves, it’s just the backlighting behind the screen. So if we look at the pixels on this display – and you compare to the pixels on the display from last year’s ipad pro – they look basically identical, but they were lit very differently. So last year’s ipad pro as an example, was lit by 72 leds now on the 2021 ipad pro instead of 72 leds it’s rocking over 10 000 mini leds and they’re grouped into almost 2600 zones, and because these mini leds are a lot smaller. You have much finer control over them and you’re able to control the brightness and the darkness in scenes through something called local dimming. So across those 2596 zones, it’ll automatically increase the brightness or lower the brightness based on the image that appears on the screen. So if you have a scene that has a dark section to it, those zones will dim down to keep it really dark in that area, and the same thing is: if you have something that’s really bright in the scene, it’ll amp up those leds to light it Up brightly now, this animation is a very crude depiction of what’s actually going on, but it is a localized control of the backlighting and what you end up with is a fantastic looking image.
You have blacks that are very deep. They can basically look like they’re off and on the opposite end, you have images that can look very bright, so you get a great contrast ratio and you get more even backlighting with mini leds, because they’re so small and because they’re so finely controlled and on many Levels it’s like an oled panel, but without the disadvantages that oled panels can have like burn in and color saturation issues, but all of this stuff is best shown with hdr content like if you’re just viewing websites and just doing regular stuff on your ipad. You will not notice it very much, but when it comes to media consumption, particularly with hdr content, this display can look fantastic, now, it’s hard to showcase in a video like this right, because you’re watching a video through my video and it’s, just multiple degrees of data Loss by the time you’re seeing it but it’s an awesome screen, 120 hertz, it gets really bright, it’s the king. I do have to say one thing, though, for the people that own a 2018 ipad pro or newer, those were already really really good screens. They weren’t. As good as this, obviously, but they got bright and the image quality was good. So if i had a 2018 ipad or newer, i don’t know if i’d pick up one of these new devices, or particularly the 12.9 inch model, just for the mini led screen alone, especially when it comes to media consumption.
But if your workflow can take advantage of a screen like this that’s a whole different thing, okay, the feature that i personally like the most when it came to these new ipads was not so much the liquid retina xdr display as cool as that thing is, but It’S actually center stage, this feature on the front facing camera. So what it does is this form of facial tracking now, because of the pandemic, a decent chunk of the interactions that i’ve had with my family and friends over the past year and a half is through facetime, and these new ipads have these updated front facing cameras That have wider lenses, newer, sensors that enable a much better video conferencing experience. So this new front facing camera has a wider fov than the previous generation, and it just has more data to work with. So when it’s able to it’ll zoom in to your face – and it gives a more intimate experience for the person you’re having a conversation with and then as you move around it’ll automatically track your face and crop the image to keep it tight on your face. And if a second person comes it’ll do the same kind of thing, it’ll track multiple faces and just allow for a more dynamic video experience. Now it sounds so simple and it is, but it couldn’t have been done with the previous camera hardware. It just wasn’t a wide enough lens to be able to capture all the data that it needs to be able to pull this off.
It also wasn’t a good enough sensor to retain the resolution when it crops into faces, so this type of tech. It sounds so simple, but i think for me personally. It makes this purchase like this is the thing that i would buy. One of the new ipad pros for because everyone who’s experienced this with me, they’ve all been like. How are you doing that’s so cool? It just feels a lot more interactive with the people that you’re video conferencing, it’s cool and it doesn’t just apply to facetime any kind of video conferencing app can take advantage of it as long as the developer chooses to support the whole center stage functionality. Now this year’s ipad pro also has support for thunderbolt 3. So, if you want to, you can connect some super fast drives to this thing, i also tried connecting an external gpu just for the lulls and nothing happened and also has lidar it’s, not new. Last year’s model also had it, but if you’re into ar it has a pretty advanced lidar scanner for a tablet. But i want to talk about performance, so this now has the m1 chip it’s. The ubiquitous apple chip. At this point, it’s very fast. It benchmarks fast and games, run very smooth on it and for the people out there who depend on their ipad pros for their workflows, and they want every last drop of juice. They can squeeze out of their ipads. Then this year’s ipad pro has more juice than ever, but i think there’s, a big chunk of people out there, myself included, who purchase ipad pros, who don’t really care all that much about performance right and it’s, not because we don’t care at all it’s, just that It’S always been good enough, but we do purchase it for things like the form factor or you want the pencil support.
You want. The 120 hertz screen there’s a whole bunch of things that you might be drawn to the ipad pro for aside from its performance and for those people like myself. One of the reasons why we don’t care too much about extra performance on the ipad pros is because our applications do not exist in this ecosystem yet, but there is something of interest, so this year’s ipad pro can now be equipped or configured with up to 16 Gigs of ram, if you get one of the top spec configurations, you can get 16 gigs, which is a lot for an ipad and like there’s, a couple things that run through my mind: number one: it’s: okay, maybe it’s, because the socs already have their memory baked In right, because apple’s m1 chip is like it’s the same chip across the whole board, maybe they already have these eight gigabyte configurations and 16 gigabyte configurations available for other devices, and they just might as well offer it for ipad, maybe but there’s. Another part of me that thinks apple’s, not the type of company that just puts extra ram to the devices, if anything, they’re usually really conservative right. They have these devices that have weirdly low amounts of ram, so now they’re offering 16 in this. Maybe hopefully, this is the year that we see apple, put like real real apps in this thing, like final cut for video editors or, if you’re, into music, like any kind of daw.
Like imagine ableton on this thing, like an actual full fat version of ableton running on an ipad pro that’d be wicked or like for 3d modelers to be able to put maya on this thing. I think i just. I hope that the extra ram is indicative of something brewing for wwdc that’s, what i hope um but yeah, i mean for me personally. The whole software hardware thing it’s the same thing: every year, right, fantastic hardware, marred by insufficient software, it’s that’s the ipad story. It gets better and better every year, but it’s still at this point where i can’t use this as a main device, and i think a lot of people want to see more of their applications available on ipad os. And i think this is the year that we could actually see it happen.